Association for Feminist Anthropology
Retrospective - Oral Presentation Session
Abstract: “With a Riata in Her Hand: Honoring the Scholarship of Beverly Stoeltje” recognizes the indefatigable ethnographer Beverly Stoeltje whose scholarship, spirit and courage has inspired anthropologists to examine the nuanced relationships between performance and power in its intertangled manifestations: gender inequality, hegemony, protest, struggle, and social justice. Stoeltje explains that “formal ritual, festival, celebration, fair, spectacle, and their many variants all provide a home to and a stage for the exercise of power. Moreover....the power of ritual is accessible to both reactionaries and revolutionaries for their various political purposes.” Questions of ritual’s power to affect the constitution of sexuality and the nation are just as pressing now as they were when her professor Don Américo Paredes carved borderlands ethnography onto his students’ consciousness. For those engaged with intersectionality and contemporary politics in North America, what role do ritual and gender play in efforts to tear down the wall? Or, how does a Marshallese women’s kam̧ōļo mischievously invert gender roles? What are the ways in which Indigenous feminism subverts settler-colonial patriarchal structures that had long erased or caricatured Indigenous women’s authority? This panel engages themes of struggle, collaboration, and justice by highlighting Stoeltje’s transdisciplinary contributions to the fields of folklore, anthropology, and Women and Gender Studies.