Explaining Traditions and Revisioning Ritual Published

Distinguished Professor of American Studies and Folklore Simon Bronner recently completed two books exploring current developments and philosophies of traditions: “Explaining Traditions: Folk Behavior in Modern Culture,” which he wrote, and “Revisioning Ritual: Jewish Traditions in Transition,” which he edited.

Published by University Press of Kentucky, “Explaining Traditions” discusses why we hold onto tradition, even in an age of mass media. Investigating modern issues, including the appeal of football and the psychology of the Internet, the book asserts the importance of tradition in everyday life.

“[Explaining Traditions] is a landmark study that is distinguished by both its thorough scholarship and its breadth of vision,” said William Ferris, former chair of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Published by Littman (Oxford, England), “Revisioning Ritual” examines how a changing society has led to new religious traditions – especially in Judaism – arising out of the need for belonging in the community. The series of articles, which has been nominated for the National Jewish Book Award, examines a range of rituals – liturgies, holidays, life-cycle events, and political rallies.

Bronner named editor of the Encyclopedia of American Studies

The “Encyclopedia of American Studies” (EAS) online, the leading reference work in American Studies, has moved to Penn State Harrisburg.

Dr. Simon Bronner, Distinguished Professor of American Studies and folklore, is the new editor, and Dr. John Haddad, associate professor of American Studies and popular culture, is managing editor. Established 15 years ago, the collection has been edited at Temple University and published by Johns Hopkins University Press.

The encyclopedia brings together disciplines related to U.S. history and cultures, from pre-colonial days to the present and offers more than 700 online, searchable articles and biographies and accompanying bibliographies to support research and study. The American Studies Association supports the encyclopedia.

“Dr. Bronner’s deep association with American Studies over many years, his wide ranging scholarship, and his own experience as editor of journals, books, and of the ‘Encyclopedia of American Folklife,’ made him the perfect choice to edit the EAS,” said Temple Professor of English and American Studies and former online editor-in-chief Miles Orvell.  “I’m confident that with the support of Penn State Harrisburg and of his colleagues and students in the college’s American Studies program, he will carry it forward as the indispensable reference for the field, expanding its materials and extending its outreach.”