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Katherine Borland

Katherine Borland

Katherine Borland

Professor, Department of Comparative Studies



434 Hagerty Hall
1775 College Road
Columbus, OH 43210

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Areas of Expertise

  • Environmental Humanities
  • Latin American Folklore
  • Festival and Dance
  • Collaborative Ethnography
  • Development Theory
  • Experiential Education
  • Postcolonial (World) Literature and Film
  • Feminist Oral Narrative


  • Ph.D., Indiana University, Folklore
  • M.A. Temple University, English and the Teaching of Writing

Katherine Borland is the Graduate Studies Advisor at the Center for Folklore Studies, and Professor in the Department of Comparative Studies. 

She studies and teaches about the artfulness of ordinary life, and the ways in which traditional expressive arenas constitute contested terrain. She recently published International Volunteer Tourism: Critical Reflections on Good Works in Central America (co-edited with Abigail E. Adams, Palgrave 2013).  Currently, she is engaged in research on dance communities, narratives of displacement due to gentrification, and environmental humanities in the Appalachian region.

In her teaching she works to develop and hone student’s interpretive, synthesizing and analytic skills through shared inquiry, team research and writing.  She is a passionate advocate of both experiential and discussion based pedagogies.

Research & Project Links

Interview with Beatrice Hanson (12/1986) by Katherine Borland. 

Excerpt from 12/86 interview: Racetrack Story and commentary

The audiofile reproduces the racetrack story upon which the article, "'That's Not What I Said': Interpretive Conflict in Oral Narrative Research," is based [Women's Words: The Feminist Practice of Oral History, pp. 63-76.  Eds. Sherna Berger Gluck and Daphne Patai.  New York: Routledge, 1992].  A transcript of the narrative is available in "Horsing Around with the Frame: The Negotiation of Meaning in Women's Verbal Performance," Praxis (Spring 1990): 83-107, available below.

Also below, a pdf of Beatrice's 1944 letter containing her written version of the story, referred to in, Borland, 2021 "Horsing Around Again," and pdf of Borland, Katherine. 2018 "That's Not What I Said: A Reprise After 25 Years" in Beyond Women's Words: Feminisms and the Practices of Oral History in the 21st Century, ed. Srigley et al Routledge. 


Selected Publications

  • “Community Belonging in Local Character Anecdotes.” NU: Naroda Umjetnost 59.1(July 2022), 23-37.  Examines belonging as narrative negotiation/positioning.
  • “Slow Activism: What Folklorists Can Learn from Citizen Scientists.” Ethnologia Fennica: Special Issue on Rethinking Culture-Making Change 48:1 (November 2021), 4-30. Explores grassroots models of stewardship and how they might inform our approach to engaged research.
  • “Horsing Around Again: Poetics and Intention in Oral Narrative Performance.” Journal of Folklore Research 58.1(January 2021), 5-46. Compares a written and oral version of a personal narrative separated by 40 years to understand the poetics of oral performance.
  • “Sugar Cane Alley: Teaching the Concept of “Group” from a Critical Folkloristics Perspective.” In Theorizing Folklore From the Margins: Critical and Ethical Approaches. Eds. Solimar Otero and Mintzi Auanda Martinez-Rivera. (Bloomington: Indiana University Press 2021), pp. 131-156. An intersectional and embodied analysis of the film "Sugar Cane Alley" and it's value as a teaching text for notions of group.
  • Exotic Identities: Dance, Difference and Self-Fashioning.  Co-written with Sheila Bock. Journal of Folklore Research  48 (1) 2011:1-36.  Explores the practices of embodying an other to explore/construct the self. 
  • Cosmopolitans in Ohio Face a Troubled World.  Proceedings of the Congress of the Latin American Studies Association. 2010.  Documents the emergence and increasing popularity of voluntourism and critiques its idealist intentions.
  • Unmasking Class, Gender and Sexuality in Nicaraguan Festival. Univ. of Arizona Press. 2006. A study of the politics of culture in Masaya's Fiesta de San Jerónimo and related cultural performances during the Somoza, Sandinista and Neoliberal eras.