Folklore/Ethnography Center: Dr. Abrahams

With the closing of the Folklore and Folklife Department and the formation of the new Center for Folklore and Ethnography (see Trustees resolution) SAS Dean Samuel Preston has named as the Center's inaugural director Dr. Roger D. Abrahams, the Hum Rosen Professor of Folklore and Folklife in the Department of English.

The Dean outlined a three-part mission for the Center, which is housed on the third floor of Logan Hall:

  • to foster an exchange of ideas among scholars, students, and the general public concerning the perspective that folklore and ethnography provide on the making of social life in the past and present;
  • to facilitate the needs of the Graduate Group in Folklore to carry out fieldwork; and
  • to initiate conferences and seminars for the University community, the Greater Delaware Valley, and the Mid-Atlantic region, as well as international symposia on tradition, ethnicity, heritage, and the cultural consequences of global development.

Dr. Abrahams is a Swarthmore alumnus who took his M.A. at Columbia and his Ph.D. in literature and folklore at Penn. He joined the folklore department here in 1985 after serving as Kenan Professor at Claremont's Scripps and Pitzer Colleges, and earlier chairing the English department at the University of Texas. A former president of the American Folklore Society, he has published some 20 books and monographs on riddle, rhyme, song and speech in diverse cultures, including collections of African folktales, Anglo-American folksong, and the West Indian man-of-words, along with dictionaries of jump-rope and counting rhymes.


Almanac, Vol. 46, No. 1, July 13, 1999

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