University of Texas at Austin Professors Available for Stories Related to Halloween, Dia de los Muertos

Oct. 16, 2007

AUSTIN, Texas—University of Texas at Austin researchers are available to discuss a range of topics related to Halloween and Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), including, ghosts, folklore, the occult, phobias, vampires and witchcraft.

DÍA DE LOS MUERTOS
Cristina Cabello de Martinez, lecturer of Spanish and Portuguese
Cabello de Martinez studies regional variations on how Día de los Muertos is celebrated. To learn more, read the feature story Día de los Muertos: Unearthing Mexico’s national holiday reveals celebrations that keep the dead among the living.
Contact: 512-232-7127, cdmartinez@austin.rr.com

Peter Ward, professor of sociology
Ward studies the society, culture and politics of modern Mexico. He introduces students to the religious traditions behind the country's famous Day of the Dead celebration. To learn more, read the feature story Día de los Muertos: Unearthing Mexico’s national holiday reveals celebrations that keep the dead among the living.
Contact: 512-471-6302, peter.ward@mail.utexas.edu

GHOSTS IN LATINO FOLKLORE
Domino Perez, assistant professor of English
Perez studies Chicano literature. She is the author of the forthcoming book, "There Was a Woman: Cultural Readings of La Llorona from Folklore to Popular Culture," which examines cultural representations of the weeping ghost of the Southwest.
Contact: 512-232-7853, drperez@mail.utexas.edu

HALLOWEEN
Joshua Gunn, assistant professor of communication
Gunn conducts research at the intersection of rhetorical and cultural studies. He is an expert on areas including exorcism, demonic possession, apocalypse, Halloween, folklore, Satanism, occult and occultism, new age, ghosts, haunting, the paranormal, pseudo-science, gothic music, gothic subculture, horror film, and popular television and their impact on public culture and daily life. He has published a book, "Modern Occult Rhetoric: Mass Media and the Drama of Secrecy in the Twentieth Century." To learn more, read the feature story Ghost in the Machine: The disembodied voice haunts us daily via mass media technologies, professor says.
Contact: 512-471-3933, slewfoot@mail.utexas.edu

PSYCHOLOGY OF FEAR
Michael Telch, professor of psychology
As director of the Laboratory for the Study of Anxiety Disorders, Telch researches panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, social anxiety disorder, and phobias such as arachnophobia and claustrophobia. To learn more, read the feature story Fear Factor: Psychologists help people conquer anxieties and phobias.
Contact: 512-471-3393, telch@austin.utexas.edu

POPULARITY OF VAMPIRES
Thomas Garza, chair of the Department of Slavic and Eurasian Studies
Garza researches vampire lore in Slavic culture, the Russian fairytale and the popularity of the vampire in modern America. To learn more, read the feature story Vampires Never Die: No one’s been able to drive a stake through the heart of vampire legend, professor says.
Contact: 512-471-3607, tjgarza@mail.utexas.edu

LEGACY OF THE WITCH TRIALS
Brian Levack, professor of history
Levack studies witchcraft prosecution in Europe and colonial America, and the history of demonic possession. To learn more, read the feature story Witch Trials: Tragic events once led people to accuse neighbors of witchcraft.
Contact: 512-475-7204, levack@mai.utexas.edu

For more subject matter experts, visit The University of Texas at Austin Experts Guide online.

For more information contact: Erin Geisler, 512-475-8071; or Jennifer McAndrew, 512-232-4730.