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Usable Pasts

Traditions and Group Expressions in North America

edited by Tad Tuleja

Paperback Price $38.95

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In Usable Pasts, fourteen authors examine the manipulation of traditional expressions among a variety of groups from the United States and Canada: the development of a pictorial style by Navajo weavers in response to traders, Mexican American responses to the appropriation of traditional foods by Anglos, the expressive forms of communication that engender and sustain a sense of community in an African American women's social club and among elderly Yiddish folksingers in Miami Beach, the incorporation of mass media images into the "C & Ts" (customs and traditions) of a Boy Scout troop, the changing meaning of their defining Exodus-like migration to Mormons, Newfoundlanders' appropriation through the rum-drinking ritual called the Schreech-In of outsiders' stereotypes, outsiders' imposition of the once-despised lobster as the emblem of Maine, the contest over Texas's heroic Alamo legend and its departures from historical fact, and how yellow ribbons were transformed from an image in a pop song to a national symbol of "resolve."


The son of a US naval officer, Tad Tuleja is a folklorist and freelance writer whose more than thirty books include Different Drummers: Military Culture and Its Discontents American History in 100 Nutshells, The New York Public Library Book of Popular Americana, and Usable Pasts: Traditions and Group Expressions in North America. He collaborated with Eric A. Eliason on Warrior Ways: Explorations in Modern Military Folklore and with Ronald Fry on Hammerhead Six, the story of Fry’s Special Forces deployment in Afghanistan. He is the recipient of a Puffin Foundation grant for his war song cycle “Skein of Arms” and the author of the essay “Brotherhood of the Sea,” which appears in War, Literature, and the Arts.

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  • Paperback Price: $38.95
  • Paperback ISBN: 978-0-87421-226-6
  • Publication Year: 1997
  • Pages: 352
  • Discount Type: Short
  • Author: edited by Tad Tuleja
  • ECommerce Code: 978-0-87421-226-6
  • Get Permissions: Get Permission

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