Dorothy Noyes, Professor in the Departments of English and Comparative Studies and former Director of the Center for Folklore Studies, was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Folkloristics at the 99th Anniversary Celebration of the University of Tartu in Estonia on December 1, 2018. Founded in 1632 and refounded in 1919 as Estonia’s national university, the University of Tartu ranks in the top 1.2% worldwide and third overall in the post-Soviet countries, according to the QS World University Rankings.
Currently serving as the President of the American Folklore Society, Noyes was recognized for contributions to international folkloristics and for fruitful collaborations with Tartu’s Department of Estonian and Comparative Folklore. In addition to many teaching and research interchanges, three of the Tartu department’s junior faculty members have spent time at Ohio State: Elo-Hanna Seljamaa earned her PhD from the Department of Comparative Studies in 2012; Anastasiya Astapova and Margaret Lyngdoh each spent their dissertation year as a visiting scholar at the Center for Folklore Studies. The two folklore programs are working towards further collaborations in their shared specialties, including political folklore and the oral traditions of highland Asia.
Noyes said, “Tartu’s Department of Estonian and Comparative Folklore, along with its sister Department of Ethnology, is recognized within our discipline as one of the very best programs for both teaching and research not just in Europe but in the world. Deeply grounded in traditional archival and ethnographic methods, the department has developed innovative research programs in the nature of supernatural belief and the dynamics of everyday life in postsocialist societies, among others. Its new MA in Folkloristics and Applied Heritage Studies joins critical and practical perspectives to fill an important gap in a key cultural industry for Europe and Asia. Generous funding for international students has allowed the graduate program to become the most diverse of any program I know of in Europe or North America: I met with a seminar of students from at least ten countries. At a time in history when national traditions are invoked as motives of conflict, this internationalism is extraordinarily productive both intellectually and socially, and the students interact at a very high level. I am honored that the University of Tartu has conferred this recognition of the value of a long folkloristic partnership with Ohio State.”