Pennsylvania Center for Folklore – Temporarily Closed

As a part of the response taken by Pennsylvania State University to ensure the health and safety of all, students, staff, and faculty, the Pennsylvania Center for Folklore will be closed until further notice.

Emails and research requests are still welcome, but all access to the center and its physical collections will be restricted until the Pennsylvania State University campuses are open to the public and in-person instruction resumes.

Thank you for your patience and understanding in these concerning times.

Folklore handbook featuring work by many Penn Staters given distinction by ALA

The Oxford Handbook of American Folklore and Folklife Studies was edited by PACF director emeritus Simon Bronner, and featuring chapters by current director Anthony Bak Buccitelli, as well as current or former Penn Staters David J. Puglia (CUNY Bronx), Mary Sellers (Penn State, University Park), Cory Thomas Hutcheson (Kutztown University), and Amy K. Milligan (Old Dominion University). It recently was placed on the 2020 American Library Association list of Most Outstanding Reference sources. It is one of seven works selected for this distinction, and the only work in folklore studies! See the link below for more information:


Reference experts announce annual Outstanding Reference Sources list for adults

Graduate students publish on folklore and ethnography topics in 2018-19!

Our American studies graduate students have had a great year in research overall, publishing and presenting their work on a wide range of topics and in many venues. Congratulations to these talented researchers!

Here’s a sampling of student publications related to folklore and ethnography from 2018-19:

Raven Haymond (PhD Candidate)

Tasting the Forbidden Fruit as Rite of Passage: Former Mormons Reflect on their First Sips of Alcohol and Coffee. Western Folklore 77, no. 3-4 (2018).

Jamie Kinsley (PhD Candidate)

 Pet Poultry: An Ethnography of York County, Pennsylvania Chicken Keepers. Food Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal 9, no. 2 (2019).

Traci Langworthy (PhD Candidate)

The Many Lives of James Bird: From “Mournful Ballad” to Nostalgic Legend. Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography 142, no. 1 (2018).

Mary Sellers (PhD Candidate)

Folklore and Aging. In Oxford Handbook of American Folklore and Folklife Studies, edited by Simon J. Bronner. Oxford University Press, 2019.

Brian Zang (PhD Candidate)

Review of “Hittin’ the Prayer Bones: Materiality of Spirit in the Pentecostal South,” by Anderson Blanton. Cultural Analysis: An Interdisciplinary Forum on Folklore and Popular Culture 17 (2019).

Review of “Jewish Magic before the Rise of Kabbalah,” by Yuval Harari, Western Folklore 77, no. 3/4 (Summer/Fall 2018), 368-71.

Note: If you have published work this year and would like to be included here, please email Dr. Buccitelli.

Bronner publishes Oxford Handbook, featuring work by many Penn State folklorists.

PACF Director emeritus Simon J. Bronner’s newly released Oxford Handbook of American Folklore and Folklife presents 43 chapters on a wide range of aspects in folklore and folklife studies by leading scholars. Among these chapters are essays by Bronner himself, as well as PACF Director Anthony Bak Buccitelli, PSU lecturer Mary L. Sellers, and alumni Amy K. Milligan, David J. Puglia, and Cory Thomas Hutcheson. For more on this volume, see here.

Jeffrey Tolbert to join the PACF affiliated faculty

The Pennsylvania Center for Folklore is pleased to announce that Dr. Jeffrey Tolbert will join the Penn State  faculty in the fall of 2018 as Assistant Professor of American Studies. As a member of the graduate faculty, Dr. Tolbert will be offering graduate and undergraduate courses, as well as advising student research, in digital humanities and ethnography, legend and belief, and popular culture. He will also be joining the affiliated faculty of the Pennsylvania Center for Folklore.

Dr. Tolbert was formerly Postdoctoral Fellow in Digital Scholarship at Bucknell University, and has previously taught at Indiana University, Indiana University Purdue, and the University of Baltimore. He is co-editor, with Michael Dylan Foster, of the book The Folkloresque: Reframing Folklore in a Popular Culture World (Logan, Utah: Utah State University Press, 2016), as well as numerous journal articles and book chapters. He is also a previous recipient of the Henry Glassie Award for his teaching at Indiana University, a Konosuke Matsushita Memorial Foundation Research Grant, and a Louise McNutt Fellowship.

The faculty is excited to welcome Dr. Tolbert and looks forward to the success of his future work at Penn State!

2018 Pennsylvania Folklore Symposium brings together folklorists in PA and beyond!

The Pennsylvania Center for Folklore (formerly the Center for Pennsylvania Culture Studies) was founded in 1990. In 2017, the Center relaunched under its new name to celebrate its achievements in the documentation and appreciation of Pennsylvania’s significant cultural heritage, and to mark its expanded mission to study and educate about folklore across the state, region, and nation.
As part of its activities, the center sponsored the Pennsylvania Folklore Symposium, May 17–19, 2018. This professional conference brought together academic and public sector folklorists and students from across the country. Approximately 50 participants attended, representing 20 universities and arts and cultural organizations, including the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, the New York Folklore Society, Maryland Traditions, the Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation, the University of California-Berkeley, and Livelihoods Knowledge Exchange Network.
The center also recently supported the development of a documentary titled; Pennsylvania Folklore: Woven Together. This documentary explores some of the many textile arts that can be found throughout the state, examining the traditions behind them and the motivations of the craftspeople creating them.
From School of Humanities Newsletter, May 2018