Beverly Stoeltje, Ph.D.

Rodeo as Cultural Performance

Fred Dalby and Beverly Stoeltje at the Texas Cowboy
Reunion in 1978.

A native Texan who grew up on a ranch, I began my anthropological career by studying American culture, specifically rodeos, cowgirls, and festival queens. When I began my graduate work in 1970 interest in ritual/festival/celebration assumed a prominence in the field, directing attention to these events in which identity is displayed, politics are enacted, and artistic dimensions of culture are performed consistent with specific local preoccupations, resources, and history. These influences led me to the choice of rodeo as my dissertation topic. This work continue to influence my work.  A major focus of my work, 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.  I have also at times concentrated on representations of women in performance such as the rodeo, or on women of the American West, especially the cowgirl as part of my continued interest in career women and gender issues.  

Selected Publications:

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

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

1988 Gender Representations in Performance: The Cowgirl and the Hostess.  Journal of Folklore Research 25: (3).219-241.   

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.

1986 Women in Rodeo:  Private Motivations and Community Representations. Kentucky Folklore Record  32: (1 & 2). 42-50. (Changed to Southern Folklore Quarterly.)

1985 The Rodeo Clown and the Semiotics of Metaphor," Journal of Folklore Research 22: (2/3).155-177

1983 Genre, Time and Space in Cowboy Cosmology. Western Folklore 42:29-38. 

1981 Cowboys and Clowns: Rodeo Specialists and the Ideology of Work and Play. In And Other Neighborly  Names:  Social Process and Cultural Image in Texas Folklore, eds. Richard Bauman and Roger D.Abrahams.  Austin:University of Texas Press. 123-151.

Video Publications

1976 The Texas Cowboy Reunion, With Robert Lawhead and Mike Walker. Twenty minute 16 mm. film using slides and sound track. Two undergraduate students attended the Reunion with Stoeltje and developed the film under Stoeltje's supervision to explicate Stoeltje's research on rodeo. Funded by the University of Texas Graduate School.