Abstract

Much like Tim Lloyd, Robert Teske stumbled into folklore in the undergraduate classroom. He soon found himself a member of the first class of undergraduate folklore majors at Harvard University. Teske went on to complete a PhD in Folklore and Folklife at the University of Pennsylvania and embarked on an academic career teaching first at Wayne State and then at Western Kentucky University. Prepared for a lifetime of scholarly endeavor, Teske made a career U-turn when the opportunity arose to work at the National Endowment for the Arts, Folk Arts Program, under the leadership of Bess Lomax Hawes. He later returned to his home state of Wisconsin for a career working in arts and historical agencies. “Fifty Years in Folklore” is a revised version of a keynote address given by Teske in March 2017 at a symposium honoring the 50-year anniversary of the establishment of the Committee on Degrees in Folklore and Mythology at Harvard. As with the Lloyd interview included in this issue, it provides a personal and close look at a career trajectory of a folklorist active in our field’s past half-century.

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