Hello, everyone. I am delighted to have been nominated to serve on the GS Folklore, Myth, and Fairy Tale forum executive committee. I am on the faculty of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette where I am the Meriwether Professor of English. Like many others, I have degrees in both English (BA, Louisiana State University; MA, Syracuse University and in Folklore Studies (PhD, Indiana University). I have published on urban Appalachians living in Cincinnati, Ohio; on African Americans (both as members of living speech communities as well as represented in ethnographic and literary works); on legends both local and contemporary; and on the relationship between folk culture and creativity (The Amazing Crawfish Boat).
While much of my earlier work was ethnographic, my more recent work in computational in nature, and my current work seeks to find ways to understand the nature of texts in general, and folk narrative texts in particular, through the use of mathematical modeling and analytics. Along the way, I have used some of those methods to explore the intellectual history of folklore studies.
My interest in this forum in particular and maintaining the presence of folklore studies at MLA in general is both to remind the larger Association of the larger philological endeavor of which we are all a part as well as to remind folklore’s own Society that MLA holds the key to open up more paths to publication and careers. I have attempted to do some of that work as one of the liaisons for AFS@MLA, and I hope to find more ways to make connections for folklorists, both those starting their careers as well as those who are seeking to expand or switch their horizons.
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