John H. McDowell, Professor and Chair
Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology
Indiana University

"Folklorization in the Expressive Contact Zone: A Case Study from the Quichua Runa of Ecuador"

17 May 2012 - 4:00 p.m. / GSF Building Annex 7E02

These days folklore seems to come to us in highly mediated forms. I employ the term "folklorization" to address the processing of local artistic production into mediated displays of culture.

In this talk I want to challenge the assumption that folklorization necessarily corrupts, arguing instead for the multivocality of cultural production in expressive contact zones, that is, zones where the local meets the global, where natives encounter tourists, and where traditions get
commercialized or nationalized.

The Quichua Runa of northern Ecuador offers an excellent laboratory for studying the effects of folklorization. In reference to their production of stories and musical CDs, I detect a strong potential for revitalization of vernacular codeseven in highly-mediated performance setting.
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