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Tarahumara Transcripts Face to Face with Modernity: An Intertextual Approach
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The objective of the present work evaluates an overview of original texts by and about the isolated Tarahumara of Mexico by considering key elements of their passive and active traditions, which reveal the unique values and ideologies of the group, and give understanding to the relevant past and present discourse as a form of social practice, identity, and shared knowledge and beliefs by analyzing transcripts of Tarahumara oral tradition along with modern interpretative writings, some by modern day authors from the Mexican sierra, that retain some aspects of the traditional transcripts while simultaneously suggesting a departure from some time-honored facets of the ancient tribe living in the twenty-first century. By taking a page from Vladamir Propp’s Mythology of the Folk Tale (1928), his structural analysis of one hundred Russian fairy tales, this work analyzes transcriptions of one hundred Tarahumara oral traditions that had never been categorized or morphologically analyzed collectively before to reveal ways that social and political negotiations have been reproduced in discourse and how this interdiscursivity with modern texts by current sierra authors connects to the formation and maintenance of cultural determination while simultaneously serving as resistance against external influence. This study of an intertextual nature signals not only the historical situation of the Tarahumara of Mexico in our modern world, but also secures for modern academia a neoteric plot on the map of pre-Colombian ideology by extending Alan Dunde’s “The Morphology of North America Indian Folktales” (1980) for the first time to the works of iii the Mexican Tarahumara traditional tales, demonstrating that Tarahumara folktales and myths are structured as well, not simply told in random formless tales, and can be successfully submitted to a morphological componential analysis, which will aid in the elucidation of cultural norms, values, and penchants. This study of Tarahumara texts will serve as a vehicle for understanding the perpetuation of group behavior and norms by analysis of the structural patterns, will reveal wish and wish fulfillment of the tribe, and will consequently stand as a reflector of sierra societal reality.
Barrett, Joan Parmer (2017). Tarahumara Transcripts Face to Face with Modernity: An Intertextual Approach. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A & M University. Available electronically from