2012 William A. Douglass Prize in Europeanist AnthropologyWinner, John D. Bell 2012 Memorial Book Prize of the Bulgarian Studies Association
Gerald W. Creed analyzes contemporary mumming rituals in rural Bulgaria for what they reveal about life after socialism—and the current state of postsocialist studies. Mumming rituals have flourished in the post-Soviet era. Elaborately costumed dancers go from house to house demanding sustenance and bestowing blessings. Through the analysis of these rites, Creed critiques key themes in postsocialist studies, including understandings of civil society and democracy, gender and sexuality, autonomy and community, and ethnicity and nationalism. He argues that these events reveal indigenous cultural resources that could have been used both practically and intellectually to ease the postsocialist reconstruction of Bulgarian society, but were not.