Brown, Mary Ellen 1939–

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BROWN, Mary Ellen 1939–

PERSONAL: Born January 6, 1939, in Vicksburg, MS; daughter of Samuel Evans (a minister) and Janie (Stevens) Brown; divorced, 1976; children: Perrin Wardlaw Rubin (daughter), Torrence Evans Lewis. Education: Mary Baldwin College, B.A. (with honors), 1960; University of Pennsylvania, M.A., 1963, Ph.D., 1968.

ADDRESSES: Home—Bloomington, IN. Office—Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology, 504 North Fess, Indiana University—Bloomington, Bloomington, IN 47405. E-mail[email protected]

CAREER: Indiana University—Bloomington, visiting assistant professor, 1972–73; assistant professor, 1974–79; associate professor, 1979–85; professor of folklore, beginning 1985, became professor emerita of folklore; professor of women's studies, 1988; adjunct professor of English, 1989–; director of women's studies, 1985–91. University of Edinburgh, visiting tutor, 1973–74; Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities, research fellow, 1978, 1979, director, 1998–2003.

MEMBER: Modern Language Association of America (member of executive committee of Division of Anthropological Approaches to Literature, 1977–82), American Folklore Society (member of executive board, 1979–82).

AWARDS, HONORS: American Council of Learned Societies grants, 1979, 1984; Horizons of Knowledge grants, 1979, 1984; Indiana University graduate school grants, 1975, 1976, 1982, 1984, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1991.


Burns and Tradition, University of Illinois Press (Champaign, IL), 1984.

(Editor) Neo-paganism: A Feminist Search for Religious Alternatives ("Occasional Papers" series, number 3), Women's Studies Program/Indiana University (Bloomington, IN), 1988.

(Editor) Television and Women's Culture: The Politics of the Popular, Sage Publications (Newbury Park, CA), 1990.

(With Silvia Arrom and Darlene Sadlier) New Research: Latin American Women's Studies ("Occasional Papers" series, number 5), Women's Studies Program/Indiana University (Bloomington, IN), 1991.

(With Michal Rozbicki) Cross-Currents: East-West Dialogues on Women and Work ("Occasional Papers" series, number 6), Women's Studies Program/Indiana University (Bloomington, IN), 1991.

Soap Opera and Women's Talk: The Pleasure of Resistance, Sage Publications (Thousand Oaks, CA), 1994.

(Editor, with Bruce A. Rosenberg) Encyclopedia of Folklore and Literature, ABC-CLIO (Santa Barbara, CA), 1998.

William Motherwell's Cultural Politics, 1797–1835, University Press of Kentucky (Lexington, KY), 2001.

The Bedesman and the Hodbearer: The Epistolary Friendship of Frances James Child and William Walker, Aberdeen University Press/Elphinstone Institute (Aberdeen, Scotland), 2001.

Advisory editor, Folklore and Literature: An Encyclopedia, Garland Publishing. Contributor to Narrative Folksong: New Directions, 1985; Dictionary of Literary Biography, Volume 109, Gale, 1991; and Creativity and Tradition, Utah State University Press, 1992. Contributor of articles to literature and folklore journals. Special editor, Journal of the Folklore Institute, 1976; editor, Journal of Folklore Research, 1992–.

WORK IN PROGRESS: The Making of Child's Ballads.

SIDELIGHTS: Mary Ellen Brown once told CA: "My goal—as teacher, researcher, and participant in university life—is to understand people and culture by focusing on the various traditions available in a cultural context for individual/group adoption or rejection. Thus, all of my research has dealt with tradition—the implicit and explicit forms, styles, themes, and behaviors which recur dynamically in and through time, sustaining culture. In my Scottish studies I have looked at a total culture but particularly at the oral and written literary traditions; in my general work on ballads and folksongs, I have sought a means of quantifying continuities in form and content, in performance, in repertoire; and in my work on women I am seeking to identify as well as evaluate repetitive activities which transmit cultural values."

She added: "My active research today deals with William Motherwell (1797–1835)—journalist, poet, cultural nationalist—whose life and activities offer unparalleled insight into early nineteenth-century Scottish life. Resident of Paisley and then Glasgow during the Industrial Revolution, a member himself of the rising middle class, he was staunchly and vocally against reform or any change—the very principles of the Enlightenment, which prevailed and thus dominate the historical record. Virtually all of his professional or avocational involvements—as poet, ballad collector and editor, participant in the periodical press, journalist—affirm either implicitly or explicitly a Scottish nation and traditional patterns of life and status."



Albion, fall, 2002, Rosalind Mitchison, review of William Motherwell's Cultural Politics, 1797–1835, p. 504.

Choice, September, 2001, W. B. McCarthy, review of William Motherwell's Cultural Politics, 1797–1835, p. 113.

Folk Music Journal, 2003, David Atkinson, review of William Motherwell's Cultural Politics, 1797–1835, pp. 381-383.

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Brown, Mary Ellen 1939–

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