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  1. Oral traditions in contemporary China : healing a nation

    Zhang, Juwen
    Lanham, Maryland : Lexington Books, [2022]

    "Through a historical survey and analyses of oral traditions like fairy tales, proverbs, and ballads, among others, that are still in vigorous practice in China today, this informative and stimulating book proposes a theoretical framework for interpreting how and why traditions continue or discontinue in any culture"--In Oral Traditions in Contemporary China: Healing a Nation, Juwen Zhang provides a systematic survey of such oral traditions as folk and fairy tales, proverbs, ballads, and folksongs that are vibrantly practiced today. Zhang establishes a theoretical framework for understanding how Chinese culture has continued for thousands of years with vitality and validity, core and arbitrary identity markers, and folkloric identity. This framework, which describes a cultural self-healing mechanism, is equally applicable to the exploration of other traditions and cultures in the world. Through topics from Chinese Cinderella to the Grimms of China, from proverbs like "older ginger is spicier" to the life-views held by the Chinese, and from mountain songs and ballads to the musical instruments like the clay-vessel-flute, the author weaves these oral traditions across time and space into a mesmerizing intellectual journey. Focusing on contemporary practice, this book serves as a bridge between Chinese and international folklore scholarship and other related disciplines as well. Those interested in Chinese culture in general and Chinese folklore, literature, and oral tradition in particular will certainly delight in perusing this book.

  2. Tradition, urban identity, and the Baltimore "Hon" : the folk in the city

    Puglia, David
    Lanham : Lexington Books, [2018]

    This book tells the story of the battles that flared over Baltimore's attempts to use "hon" to construct a citywide local tradition and their consequences for the future of local culture in the United States.Baltimoreans have garnered a reputation for greeting one another by tagging "hon" to their speech. In the late twentieth and early twenty-first century, this small piece of local dialect took center stage in a series of rancorous public debates over the identity associated with Baltimore culture. Each time, controversy followed leading to consequences ranging from protests and boycotts to formal legislative action. "Hon" brought into focus Baltimore's past and future by symbolizing lingering divisions of race, class, gender, and belonging in the midst of campaigns to unify and modernize the city. While some decried "hon" and "the Hon" as embarrassing, others hailed the word and the related image of a down-to-earth, blue-collar woman as emblematic of the authentic Baltimorean. This book tells the story of the battles that flared over the attempts to use "hon" to construct a citywide local tradition and their consequences for the future of local culture in the United States.

  3. Jewish bodylore : feminist and queer ethnographies of folk practices

    Milligan, Amy K., 1982-
    Lanham : Lexington Books, [2019]

    "Jewish Bodylore explores the symbology of the Jewish body. It considers how Jewish bodies can be conceptualized using folkloristics and how feminist methodologies of the body can be applied fairly to Jewish bodies, celebrating the multitude of ways in which the body can be conceptualized and experienced"--Jewish Bodylore: Feminist and Queer Ethnographies of Folk Practices explores the Jewish body and its symbology as a space for identity communication, applying the tools of bodylore (the folkloric study of the body) to the Jewish body in ways that are in line both with feminist and queer theory. The text centers a feminist folkloric approach to embodiment while simultaneously recognizing its overlaps with the study of Jewish bodies and symbols. It investigates Jewish embodiment with a keen eye to that which breaks from tradition. Consideration is given to the ways in which bodies intersect with time and space in the synagogue, within religious movements, in secular culture, and in childhood ritual. Representing a unique approach to contemporary Jewish Studies, this book argues that Jewish bodies and the intersections they represent are at the core of understanding the contemporary Jewish experience. Rather than abandoning or dismissing Judaism, many contemporary Jews use their bodies as a canvas, claiming space for themselves, demonstrating a deliberate and calculated navigation of Jewish law, and engaging a traditionally patriarchal symbol set which, in its feminist use, amplifies their voices in a context which might otherwise silence them. Through these actions and choices, contemporary Jews demonstrate a nuanced understanding of their public identities as gendered and sexed bodies and a commitment to working towards increased inclusivity within the larger Jewish and secular communities. In the end, this book is a foray into the world of Jewish bodies, how they can be conceptualized using folkloristics, and how feminist methodologies of the body can be applied fairly to Jewish bodies, celebrating the multitude of ways in which the body can be conceptualized and experienced.

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