Day of the Dead in the USA: The Migration and Transformation of a Cultural Phenomenon (Google eBook)

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Rutgers University Press, Jun 9, 2009 - Social Science - 216 pages
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Honoring relatives by tending graves, building altars, and cooking festive meals has been an honored tradition among Latin Americans for centuries. The tribute, "el Dia de los Muertos," has enjoyed renewed popularity since the 1970s when Latino activists and artists in the United States began expanding "Day of the Dead" north of the border with celebrations of performance art, Aztec danza, art exhibits, and other public expressions.

Focusing on the power of ritual to serve as a communication medium, Regina M. Marchi combines a mix of ethnography, historical research, oral history, and critical cultural analysis to explore the manifold and unexpected transformations that occur when the tradition is embraced by the mainstream. A testament to the complex nature of ethnic identity, Day of the Dead in the USA provides insight into the power of ritual to create community, transmit oppositional messages, and advance educational, political, and economic goals.

  

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Contents

Preface
viii
Acknowledgments
x
An Ancient and Modern Festival
8
Honoring the Dead
9
of the Dead in Europe and the Americas
10
Latin American Countries
14
Central America
15
South America
16
Genocide and Repression
78
of Unity and Discord
80
Day of the Dead in the US Media
82
Widespread Media Attention
83
Reasons for Increased News Coverage
89
News Coverage as a Resource for
92
Publicity and Validation for
94
The Expanding Hybridity of an Already Hybrid Tradition
96

Mexicos Special Relationship with Day of the Dead
20
Folk and Pop Culture Manifestations
21
Calavera Imagery
22
Day of the Dead and Mexican Nationalism
27
Government Campaigns and Tourism
28
Day of the Dead in the United States Mexican American All Saints Day and All Souls Day Rituals
33
A Chicano Tradition Is Born
36
Early Day of the Dead Exhibits and Events
46
California and Beyond Adopt the New Celebration
49
Negotiations over Ownership
51
Ritual Communication and Community Building
55
Imagined Community
57
Communitas
59
Claims for Public Recognition
63
US Day of the Dead as Political Communication A Moral Economy
69
Protesting Operation Gatekeeper
72
UFW and the Braceros
77
The American Way of Death
97
Filling an Emotional Void
100
New Participants New Directionsand Debates around Authenticity
105
The Commoditization of a Death Ritual
114
Marketplace Offerings
115
Exotic and Chic Cultural Capital
116
Day of the Dead as a TourismUrban Development Strategy
117
Longing for the Noncommercial Good Old Days of the Dead
119
A Long History Together
121
Commercialization versus Authenticity
130
What We Can Learn from US Day of the Dead Celebrations
136
Methodological Appendix
140
Notes
148
Glossary
166
Index
184
Copyright

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About the author (2009)

Regina M. Marchi is an assistant professor of media studies and an affiliated professor of Latino studies at Rutgers University. A former journalist, Marchi is the author of numerous articles and a contributor to Religion, Media, and the Marketplace (Rutgers University Press).

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