Folklore October 13, 2020

A Garland of Forgotten Goddesses

Tales of the Feminine Divine from India and Beyond

Michael Slouber

Hosted by Raj Balkaran
Michael Slouber's new book A Garland of Forgotten Goddesses: Tales of the Feminine Divine from India and Beyond (University of California Press, 2021) surveys the diversity of India's feminine divine …

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Folklore September 18, 2020

Quinceañera Style

Social Belonging and Latinx Consumer Identities

Rachel Valentina González

Hosted by Nancy Yan
A quinceañera is a traditional fifteenth birthday celebration for young women (though in contemporary times, it can also be for young men) in many Latinx communities. While the celebration has …
Folklore September 17, 2020

Public Performances

Studies in the Carnivalesque and Ritualesque

Jack Santino

Hosted by Isabel Machado
Public Performances: Studies in the Carnivalesque and Ritualesque (University Press of Colorado) offers a deep and wide-ranging exploration of relationships among genres of public performance and of the underlying political …
Folklore August 25, 2020

Body and Tradition in Nineteenth-Century France

Félix Arnaudin and the Moorlands of Gascony, 1870-1914

William G. Pooley

Hosted by Rachel Hopkin
The moorlands of Gascony are often considered one of the most dramatic examples of top-down rural modernization in nineteenth-century Europe. From an area of open moors, they were transformed in …
Folklore June 26, 2020

Crossing the Lines of Caste

Viśvāmitra and the Construction of Brahmin Power in Hindy Mythology

Adheesh Sathaye

Hosted by Raj Balkaran
What does it mean to be a Brahmin, and what could it mean to become one? The ancient Indian mythological figure Viśvāmitra accomplishes just this, transforming himself from a king …
Folklore June 11, 2020


The Women of the Viking World

Jóhanna Katrín Friðriksdóttir

Hosted by Jennifer Eremeeva
Fascination with the Viking Age seems to be at an all-time high, though it has never really gone out of fashion. There is something irresistible about the Vikings, a civilization …
Folklore June 5, 2020

The Metamorphoses of Myth in Fiction since 1960

Kathryn Hume

Hosted by Carrie Lynn Evans
Why do contemporary writers use myths from ancient Greece and Rome, Pharaonic Egypt, the Viking north, Africa's west coast, and Hebrew and Christian traditions? What do these stories from premodern …
Folklore May 26, 2020

Rhythms of Revolt

European Traditions and Memories of Social Conflict in Oral Culture

Éva Guillorel

Hosted by Rachel Hopkin
The culture of insurgents in early modern Europe was primarily an oral one; memories of social conflicts in the communities affected were passed on through oral forms such as songs …
Folklore May 25, 2020

The Poetry of Everyday Life

Storytelling and the Art of Awareness

Steve Zeitlin

Hosted by Rachel Hopkin
This is a book of encounters. Part memoir, part essay, and partly a guide to maximizing your capacity for fulfillment and expression, The Poetry of Everyday Life: Storytelling and the …
Folklore May 11, 2020

Vyāsa Redux

Narrative in Epic Mahābhārata

Kevin McGrath

Hosted by Raj Balkaran
In Vyāsa Redux: Narrative in Epic Mahābhārata (Anthem Press, 2019), Kevin McGrath examines the complex and enigmatic Vyāsa, both the primary creative poet of the Sanskrit epic Mahābhārata and a …
Folklore May 5, 2020

Courting the Wild Twin

Martin Shaw

Hosted by Eric LeMay
Today I interview Martin Shaw. In Shaw’s new book, Courting the Wild Twin (Chelsea Green Publishing, 2020), he writes, “Here’s a secret I don’t share very often. Myths are not …
Folklore April 23, 2020

Blood Libel

On the Trail of an Antisemitic Myth

Magda Teter

Hosted by Lindsey Jackson
The myth of Jews killing Christian children emerged in 1144 CE, with the death of a boy named William in Norwich, England. Over the course of several centuries, this myth …
Folklore February 27, 2020

Chinese Folklore Studies Today

Discourse and Practice

Lijun Zhang and Ziying You

Hosted by Timothy Thurston
The discipline of folkloristics in the People’s Republic of China is robust and well-funded. With thousands of scholars across the country, it is surprising then that there is relatively little …
Folklore February 12, 2020

The Disobedience of the Daughter of the Sun

A Mayan Tale of Ecstasy, Time, and Finding One's True Form

Martín Prechtel

Hosted by Eric LeMay
Today I interview Martín Prechtel, whose work ranges from painting and drawing to overlooked histories and living languages to farming and blacksmithing and cooking to the six books he’s written …
Folklore February 10, 2020

The Battle for Fortune

State-led Development, Personhood, and Power among Tibetans in China

Charlene Makley

Hosted by Timothy Thurston
Rebgong, in the Northeastern part of the Tibetan Plateau (China’s Qinghai Province), is in the midst of a ‘Battle for Fortune.’ That is, a battle to both accumulate as much …
Folklore December 17, 2019

The Kiss of Death

Contagion, Contamination, and Folklore

Andrea Kitta

Hosted by Timothy Thurston
Disease is a social issue and not just a medical one. This is the central tenet underlying The Kiss of Death: Contagion, Contamination, and Folklore (Utah State University Press 2019) …
Folklore December 5, 2019

Dragon Lords

The History and Legends of Viking England

Eleanor Parker

Hosted by Mark Klobas
For all of their prominence in the popular imagination today, the historical record of the Viking presence in England is limited, with much of what we know about them dependent …
Film November 12, 2019

Tracking Classical Monsters in Popular Culture

Liz Gloyn

Hosted by Aven McMaster and Mark Sundaram
What is it about ancient monsters that popular culture still finds so enthralling? Why do the monsters of antiquity continue to stride across the modern world? In Tracking Classical Monsters …
Van Leer Institute Series on Ideas with Renee Garfinkel October 14, 2019


Fifteen Myths That Explain Our World

Oren Harman

Hosted by Renee Garfinkel
“There are only two ways to live your life,” said Albert Einstein, “One is as though nothing is a miracle; the other is as though everything is a miracle.” Oren …
Folklore September 25, 2019

Inari Sámi Folklore

Stories from Aanaar

Tim Frandy

Hosted by Maxine Savage
Inari Sámi Folklore: Stories from Aanaar (University of Wisconsin Press, 2019) is rich multivoiced anthology of folktales, legends, joik songs, proverbs, riddles, and other verbal art, this is the most …