Program - Day 1 - Monday 28 July

Section I - Moving Images / Day 1

Ritual, Media, and Conflict in the Santa Fe Fiesta

Ronald Grimes (Waterloo/Nijmegen)
Barry Stephenson (Waterloo)

In 1975 Ron Grimes published Symbol and Conquest, a book based on field research on the 1973 Fiesta of Santa Fe, New Mexico, located in the southwestern United States. Since that time, from north of the border in Canada, he has been keeping an eye on the evolution of the Santa Fe Fiesta. In 2007 he returned to see what had changed in the intervening thirty-four years. In 1973, accompanied by a group of undergraduate students, he went to Santa Fe to study and write about that event. However, in 2007, he returned, accompanied by a camera-carrying colleague, Barry Stephenson, to document the fiesta audio-visually. Both of them are working on books with DVDs on festivals. Grimes carried with him some of the obvious ethnographic questions, "What is going on here frontstage and backstage?" and "What do participants say about these goings-on?" In addition, he wanted to understand whether conquest or peace was being celebrated in the fiesta, and to know how media and ritual were interacting in the production of the fiesta.

Grimes will show video drafts from their camera work in Santa Fe, with comparative peeks at clips from Stephenson's own research on Protestant festivity in Wittenberg, Germany, where Grimes assisted Stephenson. Since the Santa Fe materials will form a case study to accompany a book on theory and method in ritual studies, they will also be used to open up more general questions for discussion among participants in the workshop: How useful or troublesome is the camera in studying micro-units of ritual such as gestures or postures? What problems arise in both shooting and editing audio-visual data on ritual? How bound are ritual studies scholars to the conventions of documentary and ethnographic film? How theory-driven can, or should, a film be? Do written and audio-visual accounts really work together, or do they also work against each other?

Suggested Reading

Bryan, Dominic. Orange Parades: The Politics of Tradition and Control. London: Pluto Press, 2000.

DeBouzek, Jenny. "Gathering up Again: Fiesta in Santa Fe", Quotidian Independent Documentary Research, 1992.

Grimes, Ronald L. Rite out of Place: Ritual, Media, and the Arts. New York: Oxford University Press, 2006.

Grimes, Ronald L. Symbol and Conquest: Public Ritual and Drama in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1992. Reprint, Cornell University Press.

MacAloon, John J. Rite, Drama, Festival, Spectacle: Rehearsals toward a Theory of Cultural Performance. Philadelphia: Institute for the Study of Human Issues, 1984.

MacDougall, David. The Corporeal Image: Film, Ethnography, and the Senses. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2006.

Stephenson, Barry. "Swaggering Savagery and the New Frontier", Journal of Religion and Popular Culture 16, 2007.
Ron Grimes
Ronald Grimes
Professor, Department of Religion and Culture, Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada and Chair of Ritual Studies, Radboud University, Nijmegen, The Netherlands

Ron Grimes
Barry Stephenson
Instructor, Religion and Culture Department, Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada