Brandes, Stanley H. 1942-
Brandes, Stanley H. 1942-
Home—CA. Office—Department of Anthropology, University of California, 309 Kroeber Hall, Berkeley, CA 94720.
Michigan State University, East Lansing, assistant professor of anthropology, 1971-74; University of California, Berkeley, assistant professor, 1974-78, associate professor, 1978-81, professor of anthropology, 1982—, chair of department of anthropology, 1990-93, director of Barcelona Study Center, 1981-82, and of Mexico City Study Center, 1995-96. Guest speaker at conferences and workshops.
American Anthropological Association (fellow), American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Ethnological Society, American Folklore Society, Society for the Anthropology of Europe, Society for Latin American Studies, Society for Psychological Anthropology.
Grants-in-aid, Wenner-Gren Foundation, 1972, 1980; research grant, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, 1975-77; grant-in-aid, American Council of Learned Societies, 1977; Faculty Development Research Award, University of California at Berkeley, 1978; travel grants, U.S.-Spanish Joint Committee for Educational and Cultural Affairs, 1979, 1983; research award, University of California at Berkeley Institute of International Studies; Humanities Research Fellowship, University of California at Berkeley, 1981; travel award, ACLS, 1984; grant-in-aid, Jerusalem Center for Anthropological Research, 1984; research grant, U.S.-Spanish Joint Committee for Educational and Cultural Affairs, 1985; National Endowment for the Humanities fellowship, 1994.
Migration, Kinship, and Community: Tradition and Transition in a Spanish Village, Academic Press (New York, NY), 1975.
(Editor, with Mary LeCron Foster) Symbol as Sense: New Approaches to the Analysis of Meaning, Academic Press (New York, NY), 1980.
Metaphors of Masculinity: Sex and Status in Andalusian Folklore, University of Pennsylvania Press (Philadelphia, PA), 1980.
Forty: The Age and the Symbol, University of Tennessee Press (Knoxville, TN), 1987.
Staying Sober in Mexico City, University of Texas Press (Austin, TX), 2002.
Skulls to the Living, Bread to the Dead: The Day of the Dead in Mexico and Beyond, Blackwell Publishing (Malden, MA), 2006.
Contributor to books, including Economic Transformation and Steady-State Values: Essays in the Ethnography of Rural Spain, Queens University Publications in Anthropology (New York, NY), 1976. Contributor to periodicals, including Ethnology, Journal of American Folklore, and Visual Anthropology Review.
Stanley H. Brandes is an anthropologist who has done field work in the United States, Spain, Mexico, and Guatemala. The bulk of his work has been focused on ethnography, the study of people in their daily lives, in Spain and Mexico. Brandes described his own work on his University of California at Berkeley Web site: "During the course of my career, I have turned my attention to a wide variety of topics, including peasant society and culture, demographic anthropology (particularly issues revolving around migration and nuptiality), folklore (particularly jokes, banter, and humor of all kinds), the life course (including, most importantly, middle age), symbolism, ritual and religion, food and drink, and, most recently, visual anthropology. While abroad, I have lived and worked in both rural and urban settings and believe that, whether writing about Spain, Mexico, or the United States, my work is grounded in direct observations of a given people and reflects a sensitivity to regional, ethnic, class, and gender diversity."
Brandes gathered research for his book Staying Sober in Mexico City by taking part, for a period of several years, in an all-male chapter of Alcoholics Anonymous located in a working-class area of Mexico City. With writing that is "clear and well organised," according to Journal of Latin American Studies contributor Dwight B. Heath, Brandes depicts the meetings of the recovering alcoholics' support group, its key members, and the way they deal with the culture of the program, which is frequently at odds with the larger Mexican culture. Drinking together is traditionally seen as an important symbol of trust among Mexican men, and the Alcoholics Anonymous chapters grew out of a Protestant Christianity that is at odds with the Catholic culture common in Latin America. Staying Sober in Mexico City is an "excellent book" with relevance to "anyone who is interested in small-group dynamics, alcohol, reflexive ethnographic methods, or … the meanings of macho," stated Heath.
In his next book, Skulls to the Living, Bread to the Dead: The Day of the Dead in Mexico and Beyond, Brandes provides an in-depth analysis of the celebration of the Day of the Dead in the United States, Mexico, and Spain. The Day of the Dead is celebrated at the beginning of November, in connection with the Roman Catholic feasts of All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day. The Day of the Dead also has roots in the pre-Christian culture of Mexico. It is a day to honor the dead and to mock authorities. The holiday is also becoming a big business, with the marketing of candy skulls and other novelties generating considerable revenue. In his book, Brandes compared Day of the Dead celebrations in various locations and notes the similarities and differences between those held in Mexico and those held in Hispanic enclaves of the United States. For example, in San Francisco the festival functions as an expression of multiculturalism, while in Mexico it is an expression of national identity. The author examines the ways in which the increasingly porous border between the United States and Mexico threatens the Day of the Dead by blurring and intermingling its unique symbolism with that of the American celebration of Halloween, which is held at roughly the same time of year. Brandes also shows the limitations of popular stereotypes about Mexicans and their attitude towards death.
Reviewing Skulls to the Living, Bread to the Dead for the Journal of Folklore Research, Rachel Gonzalez called it a "dynamic piece of scholarship" that possesses "the potential to enter diverse scholarly discourses to facilitate understandings of the way in which social, political, commercial, and more recently global forces are reshaping tradition to create multiple, laminated social and symbolic meanings that defy static interpretations of a singularly authentic ritual, showing readers how individuals and communities make and remake meaning across the globe."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
American Anthropologist, March, 1987, Susan Abbott, review of Forty: The Age and the Symbol, p. 225; March, 1989, Evon Z. Vogt, review of Power and Persuasion: Fiestas and Social Control in Rural Mexico, p. 210.
American Ethnologist, August, 1990, Ruth Behar, review of Power and Persuasion, p. 560.
American Journal of Sociology, November, 2002, David R. Rudy, review of Staying Sober in Mexico City, p. 681.
Americas: A Quarterly Review of Inter-American Cultural History, July, 1989, review of Power and Persuasion, p. 95.
Books & Culture, January 1, 2007, David Martin, review of Skulls to the Living, Bread to the Dead: The Day of the Dead in Mexico and Beyond, p. 21.
Contemporary Sociology, January, 2003, David R. Hodge, review of Staying Sober in Mexico City, p. 113.
Journal of Latin American Studies, November, 2003, Dwight B. Heath, review of Staying Sober in Mexico City, p. 883.
Library Journal, August, 1980, Ruth Solie, review of Metaphors of Masculinity: Sex and Status in Andalusian Folklore, p. 1652; July, 1985, review of Forty, p. 85.
MAN, March, 1989, Joy Hendry, review of Power and Persuasion, p. 172.
New York Times Book Review, September 8, 1985, Barbara Fisher Williamson, review of Forty, p. 25.
Psychology Today, December, 1985, Wray Herbert, review of Forty, p. 77.
Reference & Research Book News, May, 2007, review of Skulls to the Living, Bread to the Dead.
Wilson Library Bulletin, January, 1986, Janet Lindquist Black, review of Forty, p. 69.
World Development, November, 1989, Guy Gran, review of Power and Persuasion, p. 1853.
Journal of Folklore Research Online,http://www.indiana.edu/~jofr/ (November 7, 2007), Rachel Gonzalez, review of Skulls to the Living, Bread to the Dead.
Minnesota State University, Mankato, E-Museum,http://www.mnsu.edu/emuseum/ (January 30, 2008), biographical information about Stanley Brandes.
University of California Berkeley, Department of Anthropology Web site,http://ls.berkeley.edu/dept/anth/ (January 31, 2008), biographical information about Stanley Brandes.