ANTH 6395 Ethnography of Performance & Identity in New Orleans and French Louisiana

This course focuses on symbolic meaning in the vernacular expressive culture or folkloric forms of community groups in New Orleans, French Louisiana, the Gulf South region and selected out migrant locations. It addresses differential identities of tribal, ethnic, regional, religious, linguistic, occupational, class and gender affiliations--and examines aesthetic forms as a primary means to do so. Some of these are largely intangible such as music and dance, ritual and festival, narrative and jokes; others are tangible or material culture to varying degrees such as the built environment (houses, boats, landscape use), crafts, costumes and cuisine. All are examined via ethnographic and historical writing, oral histories and documentary media as to how shared cultural knowledge is performed in an array of contexts. These include dancehalls, Carnival parades, second lines, work settings, festivals, neighborhood museums, sacred spaces and so on.