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Why do we celebrate Halloween? No one gets the day off, and unlike all other major holidays it has no religious or governmental affiliation. A survivor of our pre-Christian, agrarian roots, it has become one of the most popular and widely celebrated festivals on the contemporary American calendar. Jack Santino has put together the first collection of essays to examine the evolution of Halloween from its Celtic origins through its adaptation into modern culture. Using a wide variety of perspectives and approaches, the thirteen essayists examine customs, communities, and material culture to reveal how Halloween has manifested itself throughout all aspects of our society to become not just a marginal survivor of a dying tradition but a thriving, contemporary, post-industrial festival. Its steadily increasing popularity, despite overcommercialization and criticism, is attributed to its powerful symbolism that employs both pre-Christian images and concepts from popular culture to appeal to groups of all ages, orientations, and backgrounds. However, the essays in this volume also suggest that there is something ironic and unsettling about the immense popularity of a holiday whose main images are of death, evil, and the grotesque. Halloween and other Festivals of Death and Life is a unique contribution that questions our concepts of religiosity and spirituality while contributing to our understanding of Halloween as a rich and diverse reflection of our society's past, present, and future identity. The Editor: Jack Santino is an associate professor in the department of popular culture at Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, Ohio.
Has any film director had a greater impact on popular culture than Steven Spielberg? Whether filming Holocaust heroes and villains, soldiers, dinosaurs, extraterrestrials, or explorers in search of the Holy Grail, Spielberg has given filmgoers some of the most memorable characters and wrenching moments in the history of cinema. Whatever his subject -- war, cloning, slavery, terrorism, or adventure -- all of Spielberg's films have one aspect in common: a unique view of the moral fabric of humanity. Dean A. Kowalski's Steven Spielberg and Philosophy is like a remarkable conversation after a night at the movie theater, offering new insights and unexpected observations about the director's most admired films. Some of the nation's most respected philosophers investigate Spielberg's art, asking fundamental questions about the nature of humanity, cinema, and Spielberg's expression of his chosen themes. Applying various philosophical principles to the movies, the book explores such topics as the moral demands of parenthood in War of the Worlds; the ultimate unknowability of the other in Close Encounters of the Third Kind and Schindler's List; the relationship between nature and morality in Jurassic Park; the notion of consciousness in A.I.: Artificial Intelligence; issues of war theory and ethics in Munich; and the foundation of human rights in Amistad. Impressive in scope, this volume illustrates the philosophical tenets of a wide variety of thinkers from Plato to Aquinas, Locke, and Levinas. Contributors introduce readers to philosophy while simultaneously providing deeper insight into Spielberg's approach to filmmaking. The essays consider Spielberg's movies using key philosophical cornerstones: metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, axiology, aesthetics, and political philosophy, among others. At the same time, Steven Spielberg and Philosophy is accessible to those new to philosophy, using the philosophical platform to ponder larger issues embedded in film and asking fundamental questions about the nature of cinema and how meanings are negotiated. The authors contend that movies do not present philosophy -- rather philosophy is something viewers do while watching and thinking about films. Using Spielberg's films as a platform for discussing these concepts, the authors contemplate questions that genuinely surprise the reader, offering penetrating insights that will be welcomed by film critics, philosophers, and fans alike.
This is an edited volume of approximately 17 essays that deal with various types of spontaneous shrines and other, related public memorializations of death. The articles address events such as New York after 9/11; roadside crosses, and the use of 'Day of the Dead' altars to bring attention to deceased undocumented immigrants.
Signs of War and Peace focuses on the role public display plays in the conflict in Northern Ireland. In doing so, it ranges freely over other times, places, and events that shed light on the social and political processes and dynamics involved in public display traditions, such as the Saint Patrick's Day parades in Boston, Massachusetts, and the popular spontaneous shrines to Lady Diana in London. The book is about the nature of public display, its relationships to class-based aesthetics, tradition, and popular style. It is also about contest, conflict, and civil war, and the ways the former are intimately intertwined with the latter, both in Northern Ireland and elsewhere throughout the world. The work is interdisciplinary, combining ethnographic, anthropological, folkloristic, and performance studies approaches. The manuscript benefits from large amount of field work in Ireland, and as a result contains both ethnographic data and revealing interviews with many people in Northern Ireland who have participated in the display events Santino seeks to analyze. The perspective that Santino offers helps to explain the intensity of the conflict as well as the origination, motivations, and justifications of bonfires, murals, commemorative displays, parades, etc. that symbolically articulate what he terms the 'dual master narratives' that underlie and in many ways help to articulate the parameters of that conflict.
Whether they're decorating Easter trees or celebrating Wagner's birthday by playing recordings of his Ring cycle operas and incinerating a model of Valhalla on an outdoor barbecue to the closing strains of Gotterdamerung, Americans know both how to create and how to celebrate holidays. Jack Santino's guide to such frivolity is a wonderfully readable exploration of holidays, periods of festivity, and life-cycle rituals and celebrations. Santino draws on history, anthropology, popular culture, and folklore to show the intricate relationships between holidays and the roles that celebrations and rituals play in people's lives.
As service workers in a luxurious sleeping-car train system, Pullman porters had both the highest status in the black community and the lowest rank on the train. They were trapped in the dual roles of charming host and obedient servant, and their constant smiles--even in the face of unreasonable demands by white passengers--were part of the job requirement. Jack Santino's interviews with retired porters provide extensive firsthand accounts of their work, the job inequities they faced, the formation of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, and the aborted Pullman porter strike of 1928. Through the testimony of ran-and-file workers as well as key figures such as E. D. Nixon, the porter who initiated the Montgomery bus boycott and helped launch the career of Martin Luther King, Jr. and C.L. Dellums, the only surviving founding member of the BSCP, Miles of Smiles, Years of Struggle illuminates the Pullman porters' struggle for dignity.