"This broad-ranging collection makes a significant and welcome contribution to the study and teaching of folklore; it also has an interdisciplinary reach into masculinity studies, queer theory, transgender studies, and cultural studies; and it succeeds in troubling certain assumptions in the discipline of folklore/ethnology as well as in gender studies and cultural studies."
"The pieces are well-researched, provide insightful commentary and analysis, and are interesting and enjoyable to read. Unsettling Assumptions is essential for academic libraries supporting social sciences and humanities. This book could be very useful for both undergraduate and graduate courses in anthropology, folklore, and gender/sexuality studies, among others."
—Journal of Folklore Research
“One of the most valuable accomplishments of the collection may be to familiarize a wider audience with the notion of ’ethnic drag’ and to expand the concept of drag beyond gender to a more general form of mimesis or play. And in its most fundamental ambition—to unsettle not only gender categories but also genre and disciplinary ones—we should acknowledge the book as a success.”
—Anthropology Review Database
"[T]his volume is unsettling at times. It is also groundbreaking. . . . The editors have skillfully selected a variety of essays that interpret traditional and contemporary cultural expressions and performances within a framework of gender and sexuality theory. Unsettling Assumptions should be on the bookshelf of everyone interested in the intersection of gender and folklore."
—New Directions in Folklore
In Unsettling Assumptions, editors Pauline Greenhill and Diane Tye examine how tradition and gender come together to unsettle assumptions about culture and its study.
Contributors explore the intersections of traditional expressive culture and sex/gender systems to question, investigate, or upset concepts like family, ethics, and authenticity. Individual essays consider myriad topics such as Thanksgiving turkeys, rockabilly and bar fights, Chinese tales of female ghosts, selkie stories, a noisy Mennonite New Year's celebration, the Distaff Gospels, Kentucky tobacco farmers, international adoptions, and more.
In Unsettling Assumptions, folkloric forms express but also counteract negative aspects of culture like misogyny, homophobia, and racism. But expressive culture also emerges as fundamental to our sense of belonging to a family, an occupation, or friendship group and, most notably, to identity performativity and the construction and negotiation of power.
Contributors: Pauline Greenhill, Diane Tye, Marcie Fehr, Ann K. Ferrell, Emilie Anderson-Grégoire, Kendra Magnus-Johnston, Kirsten Møllegaard, Patrick B. Mullen, William G. Pooley, LuAnne Roth, Patricia Sawin, Theresa A. Vaughan, Anne B. Wallen, Wenjuan Xie