Dorothy Noyes

Professor in the Departments of English and Comparative Studies
Core Faculty

Dorothy Noyes is Professor at the Ohio State University with a joint appointment between the Departments of English and Comparative Studies and courtesy appointments in Anthropology, French and Italian, and Germanic Languages and Literatures; she also teaches in the Program in International Studies. She is a Research Associate at the Mershon Center for International Security Studies and served as Director of the Center for Folklore Studies from 2005 to 2014. Her ethnographic and historical research addresses the traditional public sphere in Romance-speaking Europe; she also writes on folklore theory and on the international policy careers of culture concepts. She is the author of Fire in the Plaça: Catalan Festival Politics After Franco (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2003); Humble Theory: Folklore’s Grasp on Social Life (Indiana University Press 2016); and the forthcoming Sustaining Interdisciplinary Collaboration: A Guide for the Academy (coauthored with Regina F. Bendix and Kilian Bizer, University of Illinois Press, April 2017). Her current book project is Exemplary Failures: Gesture and Reciprocity in Democratic Reform, and she is also trying to figure out the nature of common sense. Elected Fellow of the American Folklore Society in 2005, she has served on the executive boards of both AFS and the Société Internationale d'Ethnologie et de Folklore, and lectured or taught in 15 countries. Her interdisciplinary projects have included a six-year stint as Fellow of the Göttingen Interdisciplinary Working Group on Cultural Property. Among her courses are American Regional Cultures in Transition, Cultures of Waste and Recycling, Cultural Diplomacy, and Poetry and Politics in the 20th Century Mediterranean. 

Recent publications:

"Gesturing Toward Utopia: Toward a Theory of Exemplarity." Special SIEF Congress issue, "Utopias, Realities, Heritages. Ethnographies for the 21st century." Narodna umjetnost: Croatian Journal of Ethnology and Folklore 53 (1): 75-95, 2016.

Noyes, Dorothy. “Inimitable Examples: School Texts and the Classical Register in Contemporary French Politics.” Registers of Communication, eds. Asif Agha and Frog, 210-221. Studia Fennica Linguistica 18. Helsinki: Finnish Literature Society. 2015.

Noyes, Dorothy. "Fairy-Tale Economics: Scarcity, Risk, Choice." Narrative Culture 2(2015): 1-26.

Noyes, Dorothy. "From Cultural Forms to Policy Objects: Comparison in Scholarship and Policy." Journal of Folklore Research  52 (2015): 299-313. (Special issue published simultaneously as UNESCO on the Ground: Local Perspectives on Intangible Cultural Heritage, edited by Michael Dylan Foster and Lisa Gilman. Encounters: Explorations in Folklore and Ethnomusicology, v.2. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.)

Noyes, Dorothy. "Aesthetic is the Opposite of Anaesthetic: On Tradition and Attention.” Journal of Folklore Research  51 (2014): 125-175.  

Noyes, Dorothy. "Heritage, Legacy, Zombie: How to Bury the Undead Past." In Cultural Heritage in Transit: Intangible Rights as Human Rights, ed. Deborah A. Kapchan, 58-86. Pennsylvania Studies in Human Rights. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. 2014.

Areas of Expertise
  • Folklore theory and history
  • The ethnography of performance
  • Political and symbolic anthropology
  • Culture concepts/cultural regimes in international relations
  • Catalonia, Romance-speaking Europe, the Mediterranean
  • PhD, University of Pennsylvania, Department of Folklore and Folklife

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614 292-7816
105L Mershon Center, 1501 Neil Ave.
Columbus OH, 43201
AU16 Hours: Weds 1-30-3:30, Friday 10-12
(Advance appointments are helpful.)