May 11, 2011 American Folklife Center Announces Recipients of Fellowships and Awards

Press Contact: Erin Allen (202) 707-7302

The American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress (AFC) has awarded its 2011 fellowships.

Receiving Archie Green Fellowships, which are reserved for prominent scholars with a long track record in the study of occupational culture, are Pat Jasper, William Westerman, James Leary, Bucky Halker, Tanya D. Finchum and Juliana M. Nykolaiszyn.

Jasper is an award-winning folklorist, curator and arts administrator, and director of the Houston Folklife and Traditional Arts Program at the Houston Arts Alliance. She has served on the executive board of the American Folklore Society and the advisory boards of the Smithsonian Institution Office of Folklife Programs and Cultural Heritage in Washington, D.C. and The Fund for Folk Culture. Her fellowship project focuses on documenting the diverse culture of work associated with the Houston port and ship channel.

Westerman’s diverse career includes lecturer at Princeton University, director of the Chicago Cambodian American Heritage Museum and Killing Fields Memorial, director of the Program for Immigrant Traditional Artists at the International Institute of New Jersey, and field researcher at the Philadelphia Folklore Project. His fellowship project involves documenting the working lives of South Asian immigrant taxi drivers in New York City.

Leary and Halker receive a joint fellowship for their study of the cultural traditions of ironworkers in America’s Upper Midwest. They plan to create a variety of end products, including several documentary films. Leary is professor of folklore and Scandinavian studies and director of the folklore program at the University of Wisconsin. Halker is a labor historian whose publications, documentary compact disks, and performances concern labor song and radio, particularly in the American Midwest.

Finchum and Nykolaiszyn are both oral historians and librarians with the Oklahoma Oral History Research Program (OOHRP) at Oklahoma State University Library in Stillwater. Their fellowship project is to document, through oral history interviews, the occupational culture and traditions of the American "Big Top" circus in the small town of Hugo, Okla.

The Gerald E. and Corinne L. Parsons Fund Award, which was established to make the collections of primary ethnographic materials housed anywhere at the Library of Congress available to the needs and uses of those in the private sector, goes to David Greely and Emily Kader.

Greely is one of the world’s leading proponents of Cajun and Creole music from Louisiana. As co-leader of the band Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys, he has traveled all over the world playing and researching Cajun music. He has twice been nominated for a Grammy award. His project involves a sustained search of the American Folklife Center Archive’s holdings of Cajun and Creole music, with an eye toward the development of new concert material and recording projects.

Kader is a student at Emory University’s English department, completing her dissertation, “Surviving Folklore: Transnational Irish Folk Traditions and the Politics of Genre.” Her project involves expanding her research concerning Irish and Appalachian “Jack tales” to encompass similar traditions in the Caribbean and in African American communities in the American South.

Bradley Hanson, a fourth-year doctorate student in ethnomusicology at Brown University, receives the Blanton Owen Fund Award, which supports ethnographic field research and documentation in the United States. His project is to further document and study the cultural impact of the Tennessee Jamboree, a weekly radio barn dance program serving the communities of LaFollette and Campbell counties.

The American Folklife Center was created by Congress in 1976 and placed at the Library of Congress to "preserve and present American Folklife" through programs of research, documentation, archival preservation, reference service, live performance, exhibition, public programs and training. The center includes the American Folklife Center Archive of folk culture, which was established in 1928 and is now one of the largest collections of ethnographic material from the United States and around the world. For more information, visit

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PR 11-103
ISSN 0731-3527