LaDousa Publishes an Ethnography of Collegiate Fun
June 19, 2011
Indiana University Press has just released Associate Professor of Anthropology Chaise LaDousa’s book, House Signs and Collegiate Fun: Sex, Race, and Faith in a College Town. The book is based on three years of ethnographic and historical research in which students at Miami University of Ohio collaborated with LaDousa to explore the ways in which "house signs" such as Liquor Up Front, Poker in the Rear, Plantation, and Crib of the Rib became foci of college culture.
In the book, LaDousa explores the ways that house signs reproduce consequential categories of gender, sexuality, race and faith in a medium students say is benign. Through his analysis of house signs and what students have to say about them, LaDousa introduces the reader to key concepts and approaches in cultural analysis.
Advance praise includes:
"LaDousa presents weighty matters with intelligence and nuance, and yet always clearly, and with a wealth of data that generates a multitude of ‘aha’ moments." —James Collins, University at Albany, SUNY, past president of the American Anthropological Association
"A very lively read, one of those rare books that brings a sophisticated interpretive perspective together with ethnographic materials that are engaging, thought-provoking, and, for many of us and especially for our students, both experience-near and surprising. Good to read and think with, and likely to become, quite deservedly, a classic for undergraduate teaching." —Don Brenneis, University of California, Santa Cruz, past president,
"A fascinating, surprising, and intriguing look at pervasive house signs in a Midwestern U.S. college town, this book will delight college students, appeal to those who teach them, and engage those who study them across several disciplines. It is a skillful analysis of contemporary material culture, its playfulness, creativity, and ambiguities. It is also a vivid example of the multiple ways in which people engage with signs (visual or verbal)—from assuming that they have obvious meanings to privileging particular interpretations ,and even to denying that signs have any meaning at all." —Virginia Dominguez, University of Illinois, president of the American Anthropological Association