By Glenn Hinson, William Ferris
Southern folklife is the guts of southern tradition. taking a look at conventional practices nonetheless carried on this day in addition to at elements of folklife which are dynamic and emergent, members to this quantity of The New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture study a vast variety of people traditions.
Moving past the conventional view of folklore that situates it in ancient perform and narrowly outlined genres, entries during this quantity display how folklife is still an integral part of groups' self-definitions. Fifty thematic entries handle topics equivalent to automobile tradition, funerals, hip-hop, and powwows. In fifty six topical entries, individuals specialise in extra particular components of folklife, akin to roadside memorials, collegiate stepping, quinceanera celebrations, New Orleans marching bands, and searching canines. jointly, the entries display that southern folklife is dynamically alive and in every single place round us, giving intending to the standard unfolding of neighborhood life.
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Extra info for The New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture: Volume 14: Folklife
Readers will come to understand how southerners have performed regional identities through ritual performances and the enactment of everyday customs, celebrating the places of shared meanings. The volume explores as well the beliefs that give meaning to the people of the region. It moves away from an overreliance on unchanging tradition as the defining element of folklife, showing that customs are always emergent and never a given. The perpetuation of custom is the result of people in communities deciding to retain inherited ways, but usually with innovations that make them of continuing relevance.
At the same time, folklife study offers us insights into shared patterns of creating identity, patterns that make themselves evident in realms as diverse as the layout of local cemeteries and the foods served at family gatherings. Such patterns often transcend community boundaries; understanding them allows us to “read” unfamiliar situations with greater sensitivity and to ask questions of community members that we might not have otherwise thought to ask. The goal, in the end, is to foster fuller understanding across what can initially seem like chasms of difference and become aware of the role that each of us plays in keeping these misunderstandings alive.
Southern churchgoers often speak of this communion as “coming to accord,” suggesting the particular moment when a singer’s intent and the audience’s appreciative understanding come together as one. North Carolina gospel singer Lena Mae Perry—like countless other singers in churches across the South—leads congregations toward this place of experienced unity virtually every weekend, reminding us that folklife is a vibrant, thriving, and fundamental feature of southern culture. (Photograph by Roland L.