Dan Ben-Amos's Homepage

Professor of
Folklore & Asian and Middle Eastern Studies

Asian and Middle Eastern Studies
835 Williams Hall, 255 S. 36th Street
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6305

Tel: Ofc.(215) 898-5857 Dept. (215) 898-7466
Fax: (215) 573-9617
e-mail: dbamos@sas.upenn.edu

Video: Narratives: What are They Good for and why do We Keep Telling Them (From: 14th Congress of the International Society for Folk Narrative Research -ISFNR)

1961- Hebrew University of Jerusalem. B.A.
1964- Indiana University, M.A.
1967- Indiana University, Ph.D.

Professional Positions:
1966-67 University of California, Los Angeles, Asistant Professor of Anthropology.
1967-70 University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Assistant Professor.
1970-77 University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Associate Professor.
1977-99 University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Professor of Folklore and Folklife.
1999- University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Professor of Folklore & Asian and Middle Eastern Studies

Field of Research:
Professor Ben-Amos's work focuses on Jewish folklore, African folklore, Prose Narrative, Proverbs, Theories of Myth as well as Structural Analysis.

Dan Ben-Amos teaches Folklore Theory and History, Jewish Folklore, African Folklore, Folk Legend, Prose Narrative, Proverb, Riddle and Speech Metaphor, Theories of Myth, and Structural Analysis.
Spring 1998 Courses
Fall 1998 Courses
Fall 2000 Courses
Spring 2001 Courses

Full List of Publications
Papers Avaliable On-Line

Folktales of the Jews
Raphael Patai Series in Jewish Folklore and Anthropology
Jerusalem Studies in Jewish Folklore XIX-XX
Folklore Juif

Why Folklore?
"How did I begin to study folklore? I wish I had a different answer to this question. I would have liked to tell you about a profound intellectual crisis, a mystical revelation, or at least an ideological motive that guided me into the green pastures of folklore -- but alas, none of these.
The beginnings of my folklore studies are mundanely entangled in the long list of courses every student faces with frustration at the start of each semester. Yet in spite of the pure serendipitous way by which I stumbled into folklore, in retrospect it appears that I could not have studied anything else.
I began my studies at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, majoring in Bibical studies and English literature. Soon I realized that Biblical Studies was not the subject I would have like it to be, yet by that time it was too late for me to change majors and I had to wait until the end of the year before switching to Hebrew Literature, which I thought would be more to my liking. Thus at the beginning of my sophomore year I again faced the eternal dilemma of students, that is, how to fit twenty courses you want to take into a schedule of four courses that one is permitted to take. At this time the difficulty of combining courses multiplied, because I did not want my first year to be wasted as far as the degree was concerned, and I did not wish to cram a three-year program into two years. Of the teachers in the Hebrew Literature Department whose courses I wanted to take, Dov Noy was the only one who allowed me to take his advanced seminar simultaneously with his introductory course, thus enabling me to meet the requirements without losing a year.
After graduation I wanted to continue my studies of folklore and Professor Noy recommended that I enroll in the Folklore Department at Indiana University, which at the time, was the only institution to offer a doctoral program in folklore in the country And so one hot summer day I arrived in Bloomington, Indiana After I got off the bus I was sure that I had wandered into the wrong movie set. This could not have been a university. People were sitting on their porches rocking on their chairs or swinging, chewing and spitting tobacco. I wanted to drop the whole idea of folklore and go back home immediately, but I could not. The next bus to Indianapolis was leaving only in the early evening. I had five hours to kill and thought that maybe I would look for an apartment and stay after all. I remained in folklore studies ever since."

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