My first semester of graduate school, I wrote a paper on folk traditions performed during the game of Euchre, a game near and dear to my family that is played at every gathering. Euchre is extremely popular in Central New York where I grew up, although when I moved to college in New York City practically no one knew how to play. It turned out that game is also known in southern Indiana, where I attend graduate school, although they do things a bit differently here. I began wondering about the game’s history and transmission, but found no easy answers. I wrote a small paper on it for my first folklore seminar, but I was stymied by the dearth of information and the difficulty of finding some old sources. When I saw a call for entries for the Encyclopedia of Play in Society, I decided to try my hand again and this time, seasoned by a few years in graduate school, I had better results.
I found Euchre’s history to be fascinating, particularly its status as a game for the lower classes, loved for its easy and informal game play that allows for constant chatter and gossip–a characterization that certainly holds true for my family! You can read my entry on Euchre through Google Books Preview. Unfortunately, it looks like my entry on Ecarté is blocked at this time.
My paper proposal on YouTube yo’ momma jokes has been accepted for the AFS 2009 annual meeting at the Grove Hotel in Boise, Idaho. I present on Thursday, October 22, 2009. My panel schedule is below:
Cultural Implications for Children in Place and Play
(Sponsored by the Children’s Folklore Section)
Jacqueline S. Thursby, chair
3:45 Jacqueline S. Thursby (Brigham Young University), Boiseko Ikastola: Boise’s Basque Language Immersion Preschool
4:15 Steve Stanzak (Indiana University), Manipulating Play Frames: The Yo’ Momma Joke Cycle on YouTube
4:45 Irene Chagall (Independent) and Cecilia Riddell (California State University, Dominguez Hills; Pasadena City College; emerita), Will the Real Sally Walker Please Stand Up?
5:15 Kathryn A. McCormick (Independent), Let Them Play: Puppet Play
My review of Marytrdom, Murder, and Magic came out today. I used this book for my readings course on medieval saints’ legends course last semester (directed by Constance Furey). Sections of the book also connect directly to my work with William of Norwich for my MA thesis.
Although much of its content was interesting, I found some of the assumptions the author made fundamentally flawed. You can read my review of the volume here, or below.
In Martyrdom, Murder, and Magic, Patricia Healy Wasyliw surveys medieval cults of child martyr saints. Although not a folklorist, Wasyliw situates these saints and their cults under the purview of folkloristic research. Saints and saints’ cults were sometimes recognized and maintained by the official church in Rome, but they were just as often sites of diverse folk religious practices. The institution of sainthood in the later Middle Ages, Wasyliw argues, consisted of an “uneasy coexistence of local, regional, and papal influences” (2). Even in the very beginnings of Christianity there existed the notion that models of sanctity and saintly power could also be applied to children in the same manner as adult saints; in several instances, Wasyliw emphasizes that the creation of child saints allowed medieval peoples to grieve for dead children, despite the doctrinal issues surrounding childhood sanctity. Children could not acquire sainthood through the traditionally adult routes of asceticism and excessive piety. Martyrdom, however, offered an avenue for medieval peoples to locate sanctity within the domain of childhood. Continue reading