I took notes at this session and transferred them onto my blog. So I guess that means it is retroactively live blogged.

John Anderson
“A Ghost Story” by Butler

interest in how folklore happens

Speaker is a ghost in a metaphysical way.
American culture swallows up the narrator.

Speaker thinks this IS a ghost.
Literature acting for contemporary folklore.

cognitive poetics blending with theory

“You” What does it equal?
speech and text -> emergent structure is a voice
emergent blend = someone is talking to me

precompiled blend when we look at our watch

sentence does not stand on its own
The title is linked to that.
“A Ghost Story” What does that mean? The story of a ghost? A story told by a ghost? Both?
true story, I was there, but I was eaten up
requires a knowledge scheme of ghosts

The ghost is outside the page telling the reader a ghost story.

Linda Boyd
from Houston Baptist University
PhD from UofH
topic: “Folklore in Hawthorne”

Tales and sketches of Hawthorne focus a great deal on the folklore.

Before The Scarlet Letter, Hawthorne had already written and published hundred stories.

set in governor’s mansion in Boston
elderly gentleman sitting around
ghosts of ancient governor’s
“Legends of the Province House”

“Edward Randolph’s Picture”
painting said to be a portrait of the devil taken at a coven meeting
horrible painting

an ancient picture, the frame of which was as black as ebony, and the canvass itself so dark with age, damp, and smoke, that not a touch of the painter’s art could be discerned. Time had thrown an impenetrable veil over it, and left to tradition, and fable, and conjecture, to say what had once been there portrayed.

an heir-loom in the Province-House from time immemorial. As to the painter, I can tell you nothing; but, if half the stories told of it be true, not one of the great Italian masters has ever produced so marvellous a piece of work, as that before you.

One of the wildest, and at the same time the best accredited accounts, stated it to be an original and authentic portrait of the Evil One, taken at a witch meeting near Salem; and that its strong and terrible resemblance had been confirmed by several of the confessing wizards and witches, at their trial, in open court. It was likewise affirmed that a familiar spirit, or demon, abode behind the blackness of the picture, and had shown himself, at seasons of public calamity, to more than one of the royal governors.

“History has its truth; legends have their own.” Drake

suggested heroic luster that can be given to history
mantle carries smallpox
female form

Your life has been preserved while the world has changed around you.

Crystal Hills- source of mineral treasures
belief in a giant jewel lost in the mountains
The Great Carbuncle” story of eight treasure hunters

“Great Stone Face” 5 ledges
in 1986 this was vandalized
in 2000 the Great Stone Face appeared on quarter
2000 the Great Stone Face collapsed

Hawthorne was a story teller.
A story communicates intelligence and wisdom.

Hawthorne did not think his folkloric stories were significant.
Think they were.

Catalina Castillon
NW Galacia
Celtic roots
folklore of Galacia involves Ireland

pilgrimage route is in Galicia (St James of Compostella)

archaeological findings indicate Celtic in the 1st millenium BC

Celtic Iberians pre-3rd C BC
legacy continued

Franco was Galician but trying to homogenize Spain.

Cipriano Terre Enciso (1902-1992)
Gallego (Galician language)

music = lyrics and dance
bagpipes, drum, and tambourine, sea shells, flutes

alive and optimistic in celebrations
reserved usually

Alala = most ancient song – beginning of Ole?

alborada = sunrise – early morning parade
Celtic chant to the sun

aturuxo = scream out in middle of singing and dancing
long, loud
remnant of yelling before nocturnal trips

Maios = literal connection to Celts
May songs

Cantas de reis

Pandeirada = song of tambourine
lyric and dance
3 lines, 1 & 3 rhyme, 2 free
3rd relates to next line
rhythm fast

Muineira = mill dance
always played with bagpipe intro
sacred dance of Druids?

Strabo 3rd book, 3rd chapter
Men start dancing, jumping up and falling on knees, 1st C BC
but no mention of bagpipes

The lyrics are being lost now.

Copla = poem wiht four verses, different rhythms and meters

Regueifa = 2 competing groups
dueling singers, singing copla

Cancion de Berce = lullaby
no instruments
This version has words and instruments.
So does this one.
Maybe I was wrong about what she said? Or they have changed the traditional way of doing it.

lots of humor
Gallego people are joking all the time

13th C Cantigas de Maria
video documentary about the Cantigas de Maria
cattle fairs

SCMLA– Gothic (my section)

I took notes at this session and transferred them onto my blog. So I guess that means it is retroactively live blogged.

This session was the one I participated in. I spoke on Sookie Stackhouse as Gothic. This was part of what I used to produce my article, Vampire Mythos: A Comparison of Vampire Lore from Two Popular Fiction Series (Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse series and Butcher’s Dresden Files series, both of which became television series).

There were about 40 people in the audience. The room was full.

The second speaker (or other speaker) as Nancye McClure of the University of Mississippi.

Her topic was “‘Kudzu’: James Dickey’s Southern Gothic.”
The poem.

Facts about kudzu in the US:
Kudzu = 5 million acres
overwhelms hard wood growths
single vine grows 30 cm per week
roots can weigh 400 pounds

“invading alien parasites”

Southern scourge

Kudzu came to the US in 1963.
lessons learned in Pearl Harbor
Japan, like kudzu, was not taken seriously.

Horror inherent in gothic is the scary familiar.
Gothic shows home itself is in danger.
Gothic is symbolic of the treachery of the unknown.

Snake = emblem of nature’s other

ambivalence – reaction to the snake
snake is beautiful but scary

sinister “meaty troops” are both war tropes and gothic tropes

subhuman does not equal animalistic
hogs have “nearly human … rage”

metaphor and participation as an animal would

Global warming threat: when it gets warmer, kudzu will take over.

The protagonist is “you.”

Lightning is seen.
It is not light but premonition of bad things to come forward.

green sword (of the Green Knight from the Pearl Poet)

Gothic sees the identification of medieval = barbarism.

US government imported and planted kudzu, encouraging the use of kudzu.

3 or 4 southern Georgia towns have rattlesnake roundups which use hogs.

What is Dickey’s background?
Dickey was playing football for Clemson when Pearl Harbor occurred. He became a bomber and was involved with 100 runs in the Pacific.
was a professor
used myth and ancient works in his classroom
Most of his poetry and novels were about his war experiences.
He is famous for Deliverance.

Monsters in Life

Stephen T. Asma, writing for The Chronicle, said that monsters are on the rise.

The uses of monsters vary widely. In our liberal culture, we dramatize the rage of the monstrous creature—and Frankenstein’s is a good example—then scold ourselves and our “intolerant society” for alienating the outcast in the first place. The liberal lesson of monsters is one of tolerance: We must overcome our innate scapegoating, our xenophobic tendencies. Of course, this is by no means the only interpretation of monster stories. The medieval mind saw giants and mythical creatures as God’s punishments for the sin of pride. For the Greeks and Romans, monsters were prodigies—warnings of impending calamity.

After Freud, monster stories were considered cathartic journeys into our unconscious—everybody contains a Mr. Hyde, and these stories give us a chance to “walk on the wild side.” But in the denouement of most stories, the monster is killed and the psyche restored to civilized order. We can have our fun with the “torture porn” of Leatherface and Freddy Krueger or the erotic vampires, but this “vacation” to where the wild things are ultimately helps us return to our lives of quiet repression.

gray-and-red-vampireIs this an issue of monsters being too much with us or do the projections of monsters allow us to deal with the world as it is today? Is their usage a signal of our feelings of helplessness in an unfamiliar and/or estranged world?

It’s an interesting comment.

I personally think the most likely cause of the increase in monsters is that we no longer believe that medicine will have all the answers. Eternity is not in our reach. So we reach for something else which has eternity and which we would not wish to be.

Internet Rocks!

I wrote a chapter on Civil War holidays for a book on American life and culture. I used the internet to read most of the primary sources that, twenty years ago, I would have had to travel the country to see.

I found a great quote on Easter from a pastor with the 18th Mass. Volunteers on a website. Unfortunately, the publisher doesn’t want to use any online sites. I’m guessing they’ve had sources disappear and there’s nothing like having the book be dated by the time it arrives at print. (Though it seems like we ought to be able to quote .gov sites. They should be stable.)

Anyway, I wrote the author(s) and asked for citation information so that the quote could be used in the chapter. And he sent it. Whoo hoo! So the quote stays in.

computer-researchI’m guessing he googled me, since I gave him my full name, and he said I’d had a “varied” career… Yup. That’s me. Multiple lines of research interests. It confuses the search committees, if nothing else. And it means I usually have something I can talk about at parties.

I am just thrilled. I’m thrilled to be able to do research online. I’m thrilled with the help from the blogger. I’m thrilled the chapter will go into the book as written. I’m just thrilled. The internet is amazing.

Call for Area Chairs: SwTx PCA/ACA

The Southwest/Texas Popular and American Culture Association, which recently celebrated its 30th anniversary, is seeking qualified professionals to serve as Area Chairs for the following areas.

If interested in serving our nationally recognized organization should send a brief note of interest with a CV to Sally Sanchez at

  • American Studies
  • Visual Arts of the West
  • Africana Studies
  • Film (General)
  • Film Theory
  • Hitchcock
  • Latin American Studies
  • Captivity Narratives
  • European Popular Culture and Literature
  • Collecting, Collectibles, Collectors, Collections
  • Food and Culture
  • Pedagogies and the Profession

If you know of a colleague who would be a good fit for us, please pass along this call. Thank you for your support of our organization.

PCA: Questions about Bias talk, with answers

Were you surprised by what you found?

I said I was. Having read the arguments against FoxNews, one would suppose that they were significantly right wing.

No headlines can be truly objective. I would expect that the raters could tell whom the headlines were about.

I said that it was possible that they would recognize, for instance, that McCain said Russia should reverse course, but I did not think that the others were too obvious.

Can you recognize the candidates?

  • X Who?
  • Current and Former (Opposite Party) Line up for X
  • Facing Tough Re-Election, (Person) Removes Name from X Fundraiser Invitation
  • Religious Vote Could Tip Scales in Battleground States
  • X’s Running Mate- Analyzing the Premise Question
  • X Emergency Landing More Serious Than Thought
  • In Case You Were Wondering…
  • X Defines Marriage
  • X Praises Rick Warren’s Forum
  • Could X’s VP Pick Turn Off Voters?
  • X Speaks at Colorado’s Aspen Institute
  • X Camp Fires at (TV Station)

These are a fairly interesting mix of headlines.  There were some that were more obvious.  X’s Hawaii, for example, would probably give it away.  That headline was rated favorably.

Only the last three were McCain. All the rest were Obama. But don’t worry if you didn’t get them right. The very politically savvy group of academicians at my talk didn’t get them either.