Stanley Brandes

Lord of Lores: Papers of Famed Folklorist Alan Dundes Open to the Public

What do a light bulb joke, your great aunt’s cold remedy, and a poem scribbled on the door of a bathroom stall have in common? If you know the answer, you may have taken a class from the late UC Berkeley professor Alan Dundes. Each of these, Dundes would have said, is an example of folklore—a category of knowledge that many people associate with the legends, old-wives tales and superstitions passed along by preliterate societies in the times of yore.

From Six Feet Under to Sixty Miles High: Honoring Pets in the Afterlife

Professor Stanley Brandes spends a great deal of time in pet cemeteries—a habit that might be worrisome, were it not integral to his research. The UC Berkeley anthropologist says that changes in pet tombstone inscriptions over the last century reveal that Americans increasingly humanize their furry companions, and in many cases, even consider them members of the family. As this emotional connection grows, so too does the extent to which owners honor their pets in the afterlife.
From the Fall 2014 Radicals issue of California.
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