Folklore Matters

Incursions in the Field, 1965–2021

By Bruce Jackson

Subjects: Folklore, African American Studies, Music
Hardcover : 9781438496160, 388 pages, February 2024
Expected to ship: 2024-02-01

Celebrates over a half-century of the work of one of America's greatest folklorists.


Folklore Matters gathers over a half-century of articles, memoirs, field studies, and more by master folklorist Bruce Jackson. Jackson's wide-ranging view of what makes up folklore, his affection for his subjects, and his keen-eyed ability to observe and record without prejudice stories, songs, and lore from everyone from death-row inmates to numbers runners, hustlers, and legendary blues musicians shines through. In his own words, Jackson's essays "bear witness" to worlds that others have too easily ignored. This book includes Jackson's landmark work on prison lore and toasts (the predecessor of rap); labor and criminology; his wide-ranging interest in African American lore and legend; his encounters with legendary figures including Alan Lomax and Pete Seeger; and articles that challenge the many traps and pitfalls that plague much of academic study. Folklore Matterswill delight, inform, and inspire all those who value America's deepest traditions and the endless creativity of the unrecognized masters of our national culture.

Bruce Jackson is SUNY Distinguished Professor and James Agee Professor of American Culture at University at Buffalo. He is author or editor of more than forty books, including The Story Is True, Second Edition, Revised and Expanded: The Art and Meaning of Telling Stories and Ways of the Hand: A Photographer's Memoir, both published by SUNY Press.


"Folklore Matters is a richly deserved salute to Bruce Jackson's unswerving commitment to document and preserve American voices and a challenge to future generations to carry his torch forward." — William Ferris, former Director of the National Endowment for the Humanities

"Bruce Jackson is as comfortable with the blues of traditionalist Skip James and the folk revival passions of Pete Seeger as with the theoretical concerns of Michel Foucault." — Nick Spitzer, Producer of American Routes