Western Folklore

Vol. 77 No. 2 – Spring, 2018


Politics of Traditionalization: Justification and Framing Processes in Historical Continuity of the Iranian Fire Festival
Ehsan Estiri

ABSTRACT: This essay employs and reconceptualizes Hymes‘s understanding of traditionalization to investigate the claim of the continuity of Chārshambeh Souri—the Iranian festival of fire—for over 14 centuries. I argue that Iranians have been traditionalizing the fire festival by assigning meanings that have justified the practice within powerful political discourses of the time. Although employing Hymes‘s view of traditionalization, I offer a critique of the concept by characterizing it as a spurious process, operating based on subjective and ideological narratives of the past. KEYWORDS: Iran, fire festival, Chārshambeh Souri, traditionalization, framing, subjective narratives of the past

Traditions in Transition: Change in Vernacular Religion in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley
Nancy W. Jabbra

ABSTRACT: This article treats change in three vernacular religious practices in a Melkite Greek Catholic village in Lebanon‘s Bekaa Valley: a ritual intended to bring rain during a drought; a dramatization of the Biblical story of Lazarus; and the closing rites of passage at a marriage. I argue that within the context of globalization villagers‘ understanding of the supernatural best explains religious change. KEYWORDS: Bekaa Valley, Lebanon, vernacular religion, Melkite Greek Catholic, cultural globalization.

Storytelling and Public Communication: Uses of Wolof Anecdotes in Cheikh Tidiane Sy's Religious Talks
Cheikh Tidiane Lo

ABSTRACT: This paper examines anecdotes as a verbal art genre, focusing on its intertextuality and performance within an Islamic Sufi and Wolof context of communication. It is argued here that anecdotes serve a critical rhetorical and oratorical function in the dissemination of religious and ethical values among the Wolof Muslims of Senegal due their dramatic quality and inter-generic flexibility. Using the case study of Cheikh Tidiane Sy, a Tijani Sufi leader, I illustrate how he appropriates anecdotal storytelling to valorize one African traditional mode of communication while conveying religious and philosophical sermons to his audiences. KEYWORDS: Storytelling, Anecdote, Sufi Sermon, Wolof Tradition.


Regina F. Bendix, Killian Bizer, and Dorothy Noyes, Sustaining Interdisciplinary Collaboration:A Guide For the Academy
Reviewed by Tok Thompson

Holly Cusack-McVeigh, Stories Find You, Places Know: Yup'ik Narratives of a Sentient World
Reviewed by Sarah M Gordon

Laurie D. Webster, Louise I. Stiver, D. Y. Begay, and Lynda Teller Pete; with an introduction by Ann Lane Hedlund, Navajo Textiles. The Crane Collection at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science
Reviewed by Kathy M'Closkey

Patricia Kullberg, On the Ragged Edge of Medicine: Doctoring Among the Dispossessed
Reviewed by Andrea Kitta

Grant Arndt, Ho-Chunk Powwows and the Politics of Tradition
Reviewed by Steven T. Lee

William W. Donner, Serious Nonsense: Groundhog Lodges, Versammlinge, and Pennsylvania German Heritage
Reviewed by Joshua R. Brown