Southern Scribe
    our culture of storytelling


Folklore Review    

Signifying Serpents & Mardi Gras Runners:
Representing Identity in Selected Souths
Edited by Celeste Ray and Luke Eric Lassiter
University of Georgia Press, 2003
126 pages
Library Cloth Edition/ISBN: 0-8203-2471-X $34.95
Paperback Trade Paper/ISBN: 0-8203-2472-8 $17.95

In Signifying Snakes & Mardi Gras Runners anthropology and Southern Studies intersect, producing engaging and interesting arguments exploring how "competing interests among the keepers of a community's heritage shape how that community both regards itself and reveals itself to others." 

Using several of the subcultures within the region known as the Deep South, these scholars debate and consider the issues of representation, identity, and practice within several marginalized societies including the Appalachian Pentecostal snake handlers, Cajuns, and Native Americans. 

As editors Ray and Lassiter note in their introduction, people who are "stakeholders in a community" are no longer limited to insiders. Quite often, they are "outsiders -- tourists, the mass media, and even anthropologists and folklorists." 

Strong arguments against compromising or denying heritages are made by the nine scholars whose work is published here. 

Celeste Ray is an assistant professor of anthropology at the University of the South. She is the author of Highland Heritage and editor of Southern Heritage on Display. Luke Eric Lassiter is an associate professor of anthropology at Ball State University. He's the author of Invitation to Anthropology and a coeditor of The Jesus Road.

Pam Kingsbury
Southern Scribe Reviews

2003, Southern Scribe Reviews, All Rights Reserved