Walking an abandoned campus

Since the stay at home order, I take long daily walks, often around my campus. It's the place that I'm used to visiting every day, and frankly, I miss it. The construction workers are still actively working on the new humanities and social sciences building, the on-campus food garden if flourishing, and the Canada geese …

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Corona Virus and the Ethnographer

Ethnography is a research methodology, but not every one can be a successful ethnographer. People who are social and like engaging with others tend to be more comfortable and successful. I could start a conversation with just about anyone, anywhere, so let's say it's a good fit. Social distancing, however, isn't. I'm writing this in …

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Academic Tourism

This week I've had a number of interesting conversations with Achill Tourism Director Chris McCarthy. He has been our primary contact on the island and chief curator, introducing us to people who know the island and it's stories well, people engaged with folklore collection and preservation, and local heritage. One of the most refreshing aspects …

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Folk Dance, Gaeilge, and walking Achill Island

December 30 we spent the day at the Valley House, as our folk education came to us. We started the day with Emma Fallon, a native Irish (Gaeilge) speaker who came to give us a bit of history of Gaeilge and the status of language in Ireland. We capped the discussion with a basic lesson …

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Field School tour of the Beckley Exhibition Mine

Today we traveled to Beckley to tour the exhibition mine. We rode a small train deep into the earth. The site included several coal camp structures: a camp house, bachelor shanty, one room school, church and the superintendent's house. The students have been reading about and interviewing coal mining families before and during the field …

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Field School 2018: West Virginia Coalfields

I've been looking forward to this day for over a year. We arrived to South Charleston to a lovely AirBnB late yesterday afternoon. Today we travel to Mingo County to interview mining families at the Matewan Union Hall.  The ten students who are with me: graduate students from Mason's Folklore Studies Program, Anthropology Program and …

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