Ohio State nav bar

Mary Hufford

Mary Hufford

Mary Hufford

Public Folklorist


Areas of Expertise

  • Folklore Studies
  • Appalachian Studies
  • Environmental Humanities
  • Narrative Ecology


  • PhD, University of Pennsylvania, 1989
  • BA, Boston College, 1974

Mary Hufford, who holds a Ph.D. in Folklore and Folklife from the University of Pennsylvania, brings phenomenological and multi-species perspectives to the study and engagement of commoning in rural and urban settings. As a public folklorist she focuses on methods needed for the recognition, study, and stewardship of commons, and related policy implications for vernacular systems of food sovereignty and environmental governance. She is especially interested in how conversational genres sustain local imaginaries anchored in commons of forests, soils, and water.  Over the past three decades, in her work for the American Folklife Center, Library of Congress, and the Graduate Group in Folklore and Folklife at the University of Pennsylvania, she has engaged students and colleagues in place-based and regional team field projects to document the impacts of environmental crisis on communities in the New Jersey Pine Barrens, the southern West Virginia coalfields, Ohio’s chemical valley, and urban neighborhoods in Philadelphia and Baltimore. Since 2016, as associate director for the Livelihoods Knowledge Exchange Network (LiKEN), she has worked with colleagues across disciplines and sectors to develop collaboratories for the study of forest and water issues in Central Appalachian communities.  A Fellow of the American Folklore Society and a Guggenheim Fellow, she is the author of Chaseworld: Foxhunting and Storytelling in New Jersey’s Pine Barrens, curator of the online web presentation Tending the Commons: Folklife and Landscape in Southern West Virginia, and editor of Conserving Culture: A New Discourse on Heritage.  For more on her publications, teaching, and research, visit https://osu.academia.edu/MaryHufford.