Associate Professor with interests in folklore, verbal art, and oral traditions; memory, oral history, commemoration, and nostalgia; performance studies and the ethnography of communication; the politics of culture and identity; material culture. Ethnographic fieldwork in Ireland, Northern Ireland, and the American South, Southwest, and Midwest.
Author of Storytelling on the Northern Irish Border: Characters and Community (2008), winner of the Chicago Folklore Prize from the American Folklore Society and the Donald Murphy Award from the American Conference for Irish Studies. Co-editor (with Pravina Shukla and Tom Mould) of The Individual and Tradition: Folkloristic Perspectives (2011). Currently writing Folklore as Self Expression and Social Critique: Packy Jim, A Voice from the Irish Border. Author of articles on Irish ethnohistory; outlaws and insurgents in folklore and popular literature; traditional customs, drama, and rites of passage; vernacular expressions of local, ethnic, sectarian, and political identities and histories.
Has also taught folklore, cultural anthropology, and linguistic anthropology at University of Alabama at Birmingham, Indiana University, and Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. Core faculty member of the Center for Folklore Studies, affiliate of the Center for the Study of Religion, adjunct associate professor of anthropology, adjunct associate professor of comparative studies.
- Folklore, performance studies, ethnography of communication
- Social memory, commemoration, and nostalgia
- Politics of culture and identity
- Material Culture
- Ph.D., Indiana University
- B.A., Williams College