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AFS Review: News

Roger Abrahams, 1933-2017

Thursday, June 22, 2017   (1 Comments)
Posted by: Tim Lloyd
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Folklorist Roger Abrahams passed away on June 20, just over a week after his 84th birthday.

Roger spent over 30 years at the University of Pennsylvania, where he was the Hum Rosen Professor of Humanities and taught in the Department of Folklore and Folklife. He taught previously at the University of Texas and at Scripps College and Pitzer College in Claremont, California. Roger was President of the American Folklore Society in 1979, chaired the AFS Centennial Coordinating Committee in the years leading up to that commemoration in 1988-1989, was awarded the AFS's Centennial Award for Lifetime Scholarly Achievement in 1988 and its Kenneth Goldstein Award for Lifetime Academic Leadership in 2005, and was a long-time Fellow of the AFS.

In a series of classic articles, Roger helped re-theorize the discipline of folklore in the 1960s and 1970s. At the same time, he published brilliant analyses of traditional culture, in particular African American verbal culture.  He was the author of many books, including Deep Down in the Jungle; African Folktales; Afro-American Folktales (later retitled African American Folktales); The Man-of-Words in the West Indies; Deep the Water, Shallow the Shore; Singing the Master; and Everyday Life. He and John Szwed compiled a number of notable bibliographic and edited volumes on African American traditional culture. Roger was also a folksinger and a student of folk music, and wrote Anglo-American Folksong Style with George Foss and Almeda Riddle: A Singer and her Songs

An obituary written by William Grimes appeared in the June 29, 2017, issue of the New York Times.


John F. Szwed says...
Posted Monday, July 3, 2017
Abrahams was at the University of Pennsylvania for only 16 years

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