Beverly Stoeltje, Ph.D.

Ritual and Festival and Public Culture

Research in Ghana with queenmothers.

In the 1970s when I was beginning my graduate work, the field of anthropology saw a rise in the interest of ritual/festival/celebration, including events in which identity is displayed, politics are enacted, and artistic dimensions of culture are performed consistent with specific local preoccupations, resources and history.  Under these influences, I chose the ritual and festival of rodeo as my dissertation topic. Continuing in this vein, the "ritual genres" embody power relations and may lend themselves to the forces of domination or to the efforts of resistance, but they are equally as relevant to contemporary society as to preindustrial ones.  More recently, my work with Asante Queen Mothers analyzes the role of queen mothers as it is performed today, on narrative in Asante society, and on the chiefs' and queen mothers' courts and the litigants who utilize these courts to resolve disputes. Ritual forms emerged in popular culture where they reflect the social formations of a particular time and place. This research addresses the point at which cultural identity and modern politics intersect and identifies the significance of queenmothers in today's Ghana.



Selected Publications

2002 El Cowboy Como Emblema del Nacionalismo: la Construccion de una Tradicion Selectiva.  Patrimonio Cultural y Communicacion: Nuevos Enfoques y Estrategias.  Museo de Motivos  Argentinos Jose Hernandez.  Buenos  Aires.

1997 Narrative and Negotiation: A Woman's Case in the  Queen Mother's Court in Ghana. Werner Zips and E. Adriaan B. van Rouveroy van Nieuwaal, eds. In Sovereignty, Legitimacy and Power in West African Societies. Hamburg: Lit Verlag.172-190.

1995 Asante Queenmothers: A Study in Identity and Continuity. in Gender and     Identity in Africa.   Mechtild Reh and Gudrun Ludwar-Ene, eds. Westview Press and Beitrage zur Afrikaforschung. Band 8. Universitat Bayreuth.

1995 The Snake Charmer Queen: Ritual, Competition, and Signification in American Festival, in Beauty Queens on the Global Stage.  Eds. C. Cohen, R. Wilk, B. Stoeltje.  New York: Routledge.  13-30. 

1993 Power and the Ritual Genres: American Rodeo. Western Folklore 52:135-156.

1992 Festival. In Folklore, Cultural Performances, and Popular Entertainments, ed. Richard Bauman.  New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press. 261-271.

1989 Rodeo from Custom to Ritual.  Western Folklore 48: 244-290.

1988 Community Festival and the Enactment of Modernity. With Richard Bauman.  In The Old Traditional Way of Life, eds. Robert Walls and George  Schoemaker. Bloomington: Trickster Press. 159-171

1988 The Semiotics of Folkloric Performance. With Richard Bauman.  In The Semioti Web, eds.  Jean Umiker-Sebeok and Thomas A. Sebeok. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

1987 Riding, Roping, and Reunion: Cowboy Festival. In  Time Out of Time: Essays on the Festival, ed. Alessandro Falassi.  Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press. 137-151.

1983 Festival in  America, In  Handbook of American Folklore, ed. Richard Dorson..  Bloomington: Indiana University Press.  239-246

1978 Cultural Frames and Reflections: Ritual, Drama and Spectacle. Current Anthropology 19:2 (June). 450-451.