Rachel Hopkin

Rachel Hopkin

Rachel Hopkin

Independent Folklorist


515 Denney Hall

Areas of Expertise

  • Folklore
  • Radio Production
  • Argentine Tango
  • Croissants
  • Music
  • Ethnographic Research


  • PhD, English (with specialization in folklore), Ohio State University, OH, USA
  • MA, Folk Studies, Western Kentucky University, Bowling Green, KY, USA
  • Bachelor of Music, Trinity College of Music, London, England
  • Diploma of Music, Kodaly Institute of Music, Kecskemet, Hungary

Rachel Hopkin is a British-born and US-based radio producer and folklorist who graduated with a PhD in English and Folklore from OSU’s English Department in December 2019. Her dissertation was titled: “Argentine Tango in Cincinnati: An Ethnographic Study of Ethos, Affect, Gender, and Ageing in a Midwestern Dance Community.”

Rachel began her career as a radio producer in various music departments at the BBC in the UK. She then moved to Argentina and has continued to work on an independent basis for broadcasters around the world. In 2010 she settled in the US and earned an MA in Folk Studies at Western Kentucky University two years later. In 2013, she was awarded a rare “National Interest Waiver” Green Card in recognition of her work as a folklorist/radio producer with a special focus on US traditional culture. In January of 2019, she became a naturalized US citizen.

Outside of academia, Rachel’s recent professional accomplishments include producing and hosting Ohio Humanities’ Real Issues: Real Conversations podcast series and several one-off radio documentaries, among them Country Down Under about Australian Aboriginal musicians who play country music for the BBC, and Banjo Pickin’ Girls and Fiddlin’ Women about early Kentucky women musicians for the Australia’s Radio National. In addition, she co-hosts the New Books in Folklore podcast – an interview-based show in which authors discuss their recent publications.  Many of her radio pieces are available for online streaming on the Audio Gallery page of her website: www.rachelhopkin.com. 

Dr. Hopkin received a Global Arts & Humanities Discovery Theme grant to produce Covid Conversations: Life in a Time of Corona, a Center for Folklore Studies (CFS) 12-part monthly podcast series. Each episode will feature two individuals – one from Ohio and one from a different part of the world – who share a distinct arts- and/or humanities-related professional or personal identity. Created and hosted by BBC-trained radio producer and broadcaster Rachel Hopkin PhD, the contributors will discuss and compare how their parallel involvements in the arts and humanities have informed their experience of life during the Coronavirus pandemic in their respective homes.  

Over the course of the series, Covid Conversations: Life in a Time of Corona will shed light on how people from within the Buckeye state and from locations all around the world draw on the arts and humanities during a pandemic, and how their relationship with the arts and humanities is transforming as a result of the Corona crisis. Participants in the series will create recorded performances of Covid-19-related personal experience narratives (PENs), a significant contemporary folklore genre. Each of the 12 conversations, along with contextual information about the speakers will be archived at the Folklore Archives of the CFS and made available on the CFS FolkOhio website as digital galleries. The Covid Conversations Collection will be of interest to scholars across the academy who will be encouraged to integrate the archived material into their courses as materials for review and analysis. In addition, the series will be distributed as widely as possible including via the CFS’s podcast stream and local radio stations around Ohio.

Scholarly Publications


Villainy, Mental Health, Folklore and the Mediatic Literature: Andreas Lubitz and the Germanwings Crash. 2019. The Journal of Literary and Cultural Disability Studies 13(2): 141–157.

Poetics and Pâtisserie: Multilayered Performances of Croissants. 2017. Performance Research 22(7): 134-140.

The Way of the Croissant: Traditional Perspectives on a Traditional Pastry. 2017. Digest: A Journal of Foodways and Culture 5 (2).

The Critical Conservationist: George Gibson and Patterns of Vernacular Resistance. 2017. Western Folklore, 76 (1): 5-40.

A Reel in a Bottle: The Bottle Art of Chris Wood. 2011. Tennessee Folklore Society Bulletin, Volume LXVII (1&2): 35-59.

Manuscripts in Preparation

Argentine Tango, Performance, and Gender in a Midwestern Dance Community. Projected 2021. Western Folklore.

Argentine Tango and Age Identity. Projected 2021. In: Life’s Coda: Traditional Music and Dance in Later Life, ed. Jon Kay. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

The Folklorist and Ethnographer as Radio Producer. Projected 2021. What Folklorists Do, ed. Tim Lloyd. Publisher TBC.


Lost Sound: The Forgotten Art of Radio Storytelling. 2018. Book by Jeff Porter. Journal of American Folklore 131 (520): 225-228.

Ola Belle Reed and Southern Mountain Music on the Mason-Dixon Line. 2017. 2 CDs and book by Henry Glassie, Clifford R. Murphy, and Douglas Dowling Peach. Journal of American Folklore 130 (516): 248-250.