Day of the Dead in the USA: The Migration and Transformation of a Cultural Phenomenon (Latinidad: Transnational Cultures in the United States) (Paperback)

Day of the Dead in the USA: The Migration and Transformation of a Cultural Phenomenon (Latinidad: Transnational Cultures in the United States) Cover Image
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Honoring relatives by tending graves, building altars, and cooking festive meals has been an honored tradition among Latin Americans for centuries. The tribute, "el Dia de los Muertos," has enjoyed renewed popularity since the 1970s when Latino activists and artists in the United States began expanding "Day of the Dead" north of the border with celebrations of performance art, Aztec danza, art exhibits, and other public expressions.

Focusing on the power of ritual to serve as a communication medium, Regina M. Marchi combines a mix of ethnography, historical research, oral history, and critical cultural analysis to explore the manifold and unexpected transformations that occur when the tradition is embraced by the mainstream. A testament to the complex nature of ethnic identity, Day of the Dead in the USA provides insight into the power of ritual to create community, transmit oppositional messages, and advance educational, political, and economic goals.

About the Author

Regina M. Marchi is an associate professor of media studies and an affiliated professor of Latino studies at Rutgers University. A former journalist, Marchi is the author of numerous articles and a contributor to Religion, Media, and the Marketplace (Rutgers University Press).

Praise For…

"Marchi provides a unique and valuable account of the rise of Day of the Dead celebrations in the U.S., demonstrating the complex dynamics of ethnic and cultural identity in the contemporary cultural economy, urban community, and media environment."
— Eric W. Rothenbuhler

"What a difference a day (the Day of the Dead) makes! In the U.S. in the past generation, a Latin American family/religious ritual has been reinvented as a holiday of ethnic pride that builds bridges between new and settled immigrants, between Latinos and Anglos, and across cultural identity, consumerism, and political protest. Regina Marchi reveals all this in a marvelous work, a rare blend of charm, grace, attentive field work, and theoretical savvy."
— Michael Schudson

"Regina Marchi speaks directly to all of those wondering how Mexico's tradition of re-membering the dead within living communities became US America's newest holiday. The book thoughtfully records the voices of significant Chicanas/os whose traditional and non-traditional approaches initiated this transformation."
— David Avalos

"While pre-Hispanic New World populations have long venerated cherished ancestors via elaborate household altars, mountain shrines, carved monuments, and other ritual devices, Marchi challenges popular misconceptions through a nuanced blending of ethnography, historiography, oral history, and critical cultural analysis. She cogently argues that media portrayals that typically seek to ascribe the 'Mexican' Dfa de los Muertos to a legendary pre-Columbian—read Aztec—origin necessarily fail to account for the otherwise authentic sources of this now pan-American celebration with Hispanic Catholic roots and a newfound international audience. Highly recommended."
— Choice

Product Details
ISBN: 9780813545585
ISBN-10: 0813545587
Publisher: Rutgers University Press
Publication Date: June 9th, 2009
Pages: 216
Language: English
Series: Latinidad: Transnational Cultures in the United States