Ray Cashman on "Neighborliness and Decency, Witchcraft and Famine: Reflections on Community from Irish Folklore"


Location: Room 1050 Jenkins Nanovic Halls


In our opening talk of the Spring 2020 semester, Professor Ray Cashman of Indiana University will provide insights on Ireland's Great Famine and the viability of community.

Many examples of Irish folklore reflect and instill enduring conceptions about the workings, vulnerability, and viability of community, a project in need of continual maintenance.  Arguably, there has been no more devastating blow to the vernacular understanding of community as social contract for mutual support than the mid nineteenth-century Famine.  If folklore provides models for contemplating and reproducing ideas about how community may be enacted, it also bears witness to the haunting consequences of abandoning community.  

Ray Cashman is Director of the Folklore Institute and Editor of the Journal of Folklore Research at Indiana University.  His interests include Irish oral traditions and vernacular custom; the relationship between folklore, history, and memory; the politics of culture, identity, and tradition; material culture; sense of place; and fieldwork and ethnography.  

Professor Cashman won the Michael J. Durkan Prize for Books on Language and Culture at the 2017 American Conference for Irish Studies for his most recent book, Packy Jim: Folklore and Worldview on the Irish Border (University of Wisconsin Press, 2016).

He won two prestigious prizes for an earlier book, Storytelling on the Northern Irish Border (Indiana University Press, 2008): The Chicago Folklore Prize, awarded by the American Folklore Society and the University of Chicago, and the Donald Murphy Prize at the 2009 American Conference for Irish Studies.

His other awards and prizes include the Indiana University Trustees Teaching Award for the 2016-2017 academic year.

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