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Roger D. Abrahams Fund For Folklore and Ethnography

An open letter from Professor Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett

Dear Alumni/ae of the Graduate Program in Folklore and Folklife:

Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett (New York University) toasts former Texas colleague Roger Abrahams after announcing  an inaugural gift to the Roger D. Abrahams Fund for Folklore and Ethnography. [March 22, 2002]As many of you may know already, Roger Abrahams has retired from his position as Director of the Center for Folklore and Ethnography at the University of Pennsylvania, an organization that he helped to launch in 1998. At a public symposium held in his honor in spring of 2002 (VoiceOver) I inaugurated a fund in his honor, the Roger d. Abrahams Fund for Folklore and Ethnography.

I’m writing to invite you to join me in honoring Roger with a contribution that will honor his legacy to the field by supporting the Center for Folklore and Ethnography. Linking graduate training to the cultural and public life of region and globe, the Center fosters participation in a regional consortium of academic and public institutions. On this foundation, the Center is creating a premier practicum in folklore that draws on mentoring and experience accumulated over two and a half decades of public folklore. Operating within the academy, yet also facing outward, the Center provides the kind of space in which folklorists can rethink the practical applications and theoretical underpinnings of folklore in the best and the worst of times.

The RDA Fund for Folklore and Ethnography will support the development of programs vital to the Center’s unique mission, which is:

  • To encourage the development of innovative theories and methods in folkloristics and public folklore through its programs and publications
  • To foster communication and provide training through colloquia, conferences, and workshops that bring folklorists, cultural workers, and communities together around pressing cultural and social issues
  • To bolster folklore’s international profile on the Penn campus through a distinguished speaker series

In the fall I will issue this invitation to the wider network of Penn alumnae. Now, on the heels of our celebration in March, I would like to make a special request of all who joined the throng of well-wishers at the Voice/over Conference to support the continuation of what Roger has done for our field.

Please make your tax-deductible contributions payable to the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania, and indicate that it is for the Roger D. Abrahams FFE. Return it in the enclosed postpaid envelope to:

Roger D. Abrahams Fund for Folklore and Ethnography
Center for Folklore and Ethnography
Room 313 Logan Hall
249 South 36th Street
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6310
Attn: Joyce Roselle

Thank you for your support. We look forward to seeing you at future events and to working with you to make the Center for Folklore and Ethnography fulfill the hopes and dreams of Roger D. Abrahams, his students, and colleagues.


Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett
Department of Performance Studies
New York University
721 Broadway, 6th Floor
New York, NY 10003-6807

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