The collected papers of Alan Dundes (1934-2005), celebrated folklorist and professor of anthropology and folklore at the University of California, Berkeley, have just been made available to students and the public in an archive housed in the Bancroft Library at UC Berkeley, following a formal opening ceremony held by the Department of Anthropology & the Berkeley Folklore Program at the UC Berkeley Doe Library. The papers and correspondence amount to some 45 boxes, and will be available for access on application.

According to the Bancroft Library’s own materials, Dundes was “a leading figure in folkloristic scholarship, widely known as one of the most influential and significant folklorists of the 20th century,” and credited by some with establishing folklore studies as a serious academic discipline. And as described in California Magazine, from the UC Berkeley Cal Alumni Association, Dundes was an inspirational and memorable teacher: “incisive, irreverent and often controversial, he applied his Freudian psychoanalytic approach to topics ranging from tongue twisters to ethnic slurs, from holy texts to football.” That last area of interest earned Dundes, himself a keen fan of the UC Berkeley American football team, death threats, when he wrote a folklore paper, “Into the Endzone for a Touchdown: A Psychoanalytic Consideration of American Football,” which disinterred a homoerotic subtext to American football rituals.

A full commemorative obituary is available here.


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