Center for Folklore joins national roadside marker program celebrating folklore!

The center will serve as grant evaluator for William G. Pomeroy Foundation Legends and Lore Marker Program

MIDDLETOWN, Pa. — A newly established partnership between the Pennsylvania Center for Folklore at Penn State Harrisburg and the William G. Pomeroy Foundation aims to put Pennsylvania’s folklore in the spotlight through a roadside marker grant program called Legends & Lore.

Established in 2015, the Legends & Lore Marker Grant Program helps to commemorate local folklore and legends with fully funded roadside markers.

“Folklore is around us all the time, everywhere, every day. It’s the stories we tell, the songs we sing, the things we make, the customs we observe, and so much more,” said Anthony Buccitelli, associate professor of American studies and communication and director of the Pennsylvania Center for Folklore. “The Pennsylvania Center for Folklore is delighted to partner with the Pomeroy Foundation to highlight the rich traditional life of the Commonwealth and the extraordinary creativity of its people and communities.”

The Pennsylvania Center for Folklore at Penn State Harrisburg serves as a focal point for folklore and folklife research, teaching, and educational programming at Penn State. The center conducts and manages research projects on folklore and folklife; provides students with hands-on experience in archival management and qualitative field research; engages the public with folklore and local historical source materials held or managed by the center; and coordinates with regional, national, and international organizations.

“The Pomeroy Foundation is pleased to partner with the Pennsylvania Center for Folklore at Penn State Harrisburg on our growing Legends & Lore program,” said Bill Pomeroy, founder and trustee of the Pomeroy Foundation. “This is a wonderful opportunity to showcase the folklore near and dear to Pennsylvania. We’re proud to work with your communities in celebrating and preserving your folklore and legends.”

The Pomeroy Foundation is a private, grant-making foundation based in Syracuse, New York. The foundation helps people celebrate their community’s history through a variety of historic roadside marker programs, including Legends & Lore. The foundation’s grants cover the entire cost of a marker, pole and shipping.

Legends & Lore grants are available to 501(c)(3) organizations, nonprofit academic institutions, and local, state and federal government entities in Pennsylvania. Interested individuals are encouraged to contact an eligible local organization, such as a municipal historian or historical organization. They will often apply for the grant on behalf of the individual. To apply for a grant or review application guidelines, visit the Pomeroy Foundation’s Legends & Lore webpage.

To date, the foundation has funded more than 75 Legends & Lore markers commemorating local stories, including “Ichabod Crane” in New York State. The grant program is currently available in 11 states.

About the Pennsylvania Center for Folklore

The Pennsylvania Center for Folklore is committed to studying, documenting, and interpreting historical and contemporary cultural traditions and communities, especially in Pennsylvania, in order to promote greater knowledge of the diverse range of folklore and folklife across the commonwealth, region, and nation.

About the Pomeroy Foundation

The William G. Pomeroy Foundation is a private, grant-making foundation established in 2005. The foundation is committed to supporting the celebration and preservation of community history. To date, the foundation has awarded over 1,000 roadside markers and plaques nationwide through its Legends & Lore Marker Grant Program.

Sign up for fall classes in folklore and ethnography!

Undergraduate-only courses:

Cams 045 Classical Mythology (multiple sections, Abington/WEB)

Amst/Engl 105 Popular Culture and Folklife (multiple sections, locations)

Cmlit 108 Myths And Mythologies (multiple sections, locations/WEB)

Ger 157 Pennsylvania Germans (Putnam, UP)


Pro-seminars (Open to UG/MA/IUG/Certificate students):

Cmlit 408 Heroic Literature (Cheney, UP)

Amst 482 Public Heritage Practices (Fay- Archives; Asbury-Newsome-Curatorial, Harrisburg)

Amst 491W American Themes, America Eras: Religion and Belief in America (Tolbert, Harrisburg)


Graduate-level courses (Open to PhD/MA/IUG/Graduate Certificate students):

CI 512 Contemporary Educational Ethnography (Powell, UP)

CI 513 Video Ethnography in Education (Valente, UP)

Amst 540 Ethnography and Society (Tolbert, Harrisburg)

Lled 563 Myths and Folktales In Children’s Literature (Hopkins, WEB)


If you have questions about whether a course will qualify for the graduate certificate in folklore and ethnography, please contact Dr. Buccitelli.

Foster and Tolbert’s The Folkloresque featured on New Books Network

Below is an excerpt from the NBN post. Read the full post and listen to the interview with co-editor Michael Dylan Foster here.

This volume introduces a new concept to explore the dynamic relationship between folklore and popular culture: the “folkloresque.” With “folkloresque,” Foster and Tolbert name the product created when popular culture appropriates or reinvents folkloric themes, characters, and images. Such manufactured tropes are traditionally considered outside the purview of academic folklore study, but the folkloresque offers a frame for understanding them that is grounded in the discourse and theory of the discipline.

Apes of the State to play at PSH on April 25!

Thursday, April 25, 2019. Stacks Market Stage, Olmsted Building at 7:00 p.m. Go to our Facebook page to let us know you’re coming!

Hailing from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Apes of the State is a self-described “folk-pop-punk” group. Their first album, This City Isn’t Big Enough, debuted in 2016 and was followed with two national tours.

Influenced by storyteller singer/songwriters such as Paul Baribeau and Everyone Except Me, Apes of the State’s music combines a straightforward, emotional, and lyrical style with the drive and power of a full acoustic band. The group features Dan Ebersole on the mandolin/guitar, Mollie Swartz on the violin, and April Hartman on the guitar/lead vocals.

Their ever-changing sound is deeply rooted in punk rock, folk, and bluegrass, but with millennial sensibilities. Their songs explore love, heartbreak, student loan debt, regret, and overcoming addiction. As a band, they are driven by DIY ethics with a goal of helping as many people as possible with their music, and have been especially active in addiction recovery causes.

Whitney Phillips to lecture on “The Oxygen of Amplification: Folklore, Journalism, and Far-Right Trolls”

Monday, April 22, 2019. Morrison Gallery, Reception: 5:00 p.m., Lecture: 5:30 p.m. Go to our Facebook page to let us know your’re coming!

Whitney Phillips will provide a historical overview of the relationship between the news media and far-right manipulators who leveraged “trolling” and ”meme culture” during the 2016 U.S. presidential election. She will discuss the consequences of reporting on bigoted, damaging, or otherwise problematic information and the structural limitations of journalism (economic, labor, and cultural) that exacerbate these tensions.

Phillips is assistant professor of communication and rhetorical studies at Syracuse University. She teaches classes in media literacy and online ethics; online discourse and controversy; folklore and digital culture; and lore surrounding monster narratives, urban legends, hoaxes, and crime. She is the author of This is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things: Mapping the Relationship between Online Trolling and Mainstream Culture (MIT, 2015) and the co-author of The Ambivalent Internet: Mischief, Oddity, and Antagonism Online with Ryan M. Milner of the College of Charleston (Polity, 2017). She is also the author of the three-part ethnographic report The Oxygen of Amplification: Better Practices for Reporting on Extremists, Antagonists, and Manipulators Online (Data & Society Media Manipulation Initiative, 2018). Phillips has published dozens of popular press pieces on digital culture and ethics in outlets such as The New York Times, The Atlantic, and Slate.

This event was jointly organized by the American studies program, the Pennsylvania Center for Folklore, and the School of Humanities at Penn State Harrisburg.

Russell Brakefield to read from his book Field Recordings

Wednesday, April 3, 2019. Oliver LaGrone Cultural Arts Center, Olmsted Building at 6:00 p.m. Go to our Facebook page to let us know you’re coming!

Russell Brakefield received his M.F.A. in poetry from the University of Michigan’s Helen Zell Writers’ Program. His writing has appeared in national journals and anthologies including The Southeast Review, The Literary Review, and BOMB magazine. He has received fellowships from the University of Michigan Musical Society, the Vermont Studio Center, and the National Parks Department. He teaches writing at the University Writing Program at the University of Denver.

His book Field Recordings (Wayne State University Press, 2018) uses American folk music as a lens to investigate themes of personal origin, family, art, and masculinity. Inspired by the life and writings of famous folk music collector and ethnomusicologist Alan Lomax, Field Recordings explores the way art is produced and translated, the line between innovation and appropriation, and the complex, beautiful stories that are passed between us. From poetry readers to poets, music fans to musicians, this collection will
undoubtedly appeal to a wide audience.

This event was jointly organized with the Penn State Harrisburg School of Humanities’ Visiting Writers Series.