The Archer Taylor Lecture Series

The Archer Taylor Memorial Lecture series was established in 1978 by Wayland D. Hand (1907-1986) to honor the memory of his mentor. Archer Taylor (1890-1973) distinguished himself and the field of folkloristics by co-founding the California Folklore Society in 1941 and by publishing extensively on proverbs, folktales, riddles, beliefs, gestures, and theoretical issues. One important event in the Society’s Meetings is the invitational Archer Taylor Lecture Series, given by a folklorist of note. Some lectures are published in the Society’s journal, Western Folklore. A full list of the lectures, in reverse chronological order, is presented below. Visitors wishing to find out more about Archer Taylor himself should visit

In 2011, Joe Hickerson, of the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress gave a talk titled “Exploring the Record Record Record Record: Reflections on My Adventures with Sound Recordings in the Field of Folklore, Especially at the National Folk Archive at the Library of Congress.” The talk was videotaped and the Society is happy to present it here in its entirety (NB: the video is a little over one hour in length). To view the video, click on the Hickerson Video button in the navigation panel to the left

The Archer Taylor Lectures

2017:  “Exemplary Logic: Archer Taylor's Associative Thinking and the Folklore of Liberalism.” Dorothy Noyes, The Ohio State University.

2016:  “The Significance of Historical Folklore Studies for the Present: a Conversation with Archer Taylor? Galit Hasan-Rokem. [Hebrew University, Jerusalem]

2015:  “Hawks, Horses, and Huns: The Impact of Peoples of the Steppe on the Folk Culture of Northern Europe.” John D. Niles. [University of California, Los Angeles]

2014:  “Back to the Basics: Rethinking Poetics, Performance and Psychoanalysis.” Charles L. Briggs. [Utah State University, Logan]

2013:  “Global Gypsy: Balkan Romani Music, Representation and Appropriation,” Carol Silverman, Department of Anthropology, University of Oregon.

2012:  “The Folklore Macroscope: Challenges for a Computational Folkloristics,” Timothy R. Tangherlini, Scandinavian Section and Department of Asian Languages, UCLA.

2011:  “Exploring the Record Record Record Record: Reflections on My Adventures in the Field of Folklore, Especially at the National Folk Archive at the Library of Congress,” Joe Hickerson, Folklife Center, Library of Congress.

2010:  “Beyond Belief: Context, Rationality, and Belief as Participatory Consciousness,” Sabina Magliocco, Willamette University, Salem, Oregon.

2009:  “The Rise and Fall—and Return—of the Class Rush: A Study in Contested Tradition, Simon Bronner,” Otis College of Art and Design, Los Angeles.

2008:  “Rethinking Folklorization in Ecuador: Multivocality in the Expressive Contact Zone,” John McDowell, University of California, Davis.

2007:  “Cats and Dogs, Trolls and Devils: At Home in Some Migratory Legend Types,” John Lindow, University of California, Los Angeles.

2006:  “Is the Pope Still Catholic? Some Unfinished Business about Proverbs,” Charles Doyle, University of California, Berkeley.

2005:  “Reinventing Ritual: Folklore and Public Display,” Jack Santino, University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon.

2004:  “Film and Video: Fieldwork Tools for Surviving the 21st Century,” Sharon R. Sherman, California State University, Northridge, California.

2003:  [No title.] Roger Abrahams, Sacramento, California (with the California American Studies Association).

2002:  “Back to the Hearth: The Politics of Reflexivity and Representation in Context,” Margaret K. Brady, Utah State University, Logan, Utah.

2001:  “Pots, Kettles, and Interpretations of Blackness in the Use of Proverbs,” Patricia A. Tuner, Otis College of Art and Design, California.

2000:  “In lingua veritas: Proverbial Rhetoric in Victor Klemperer's Diaries of the Nazi Years,” Wolfgang Mieder, University of California, Berkeley, California.

1999:  “My Summer with Archer, and Some Unfinished Business,” Jan Harold Brunvand, California State University, Fullerton, California (with Southwestern Anthropological Association).

1998:  “The End of Folklore,” Barre Toelken, Sacramento, California.

1997:  “Folklore and the Civil Sphere,” Jay Mechling, University of California, Santa Barbara, California.

1996:  “Let it Go to the Garlic! Evil Eye and the Fertility of Women among the Sephardim,” Rosemary Levy Zumwalt, Berkeley, California.

1995:  “Why Make (Folk) Art?” Michael Owen Jones, Pasadena, California.

1994:  “The 'M' Word,” Norine Dresser, University of California, Davis.

1993:  “Humor and the Suppression of Sentiment,” Elliott Oring, San Diego, California (with Southwestern Anthropological Association).

1992:  “The German Connection: The Brothers Grimm and the Study of 'Oral' Literature,” Donald Ward, Sacramento, California.

1991:  “The Apple Shot: Interpreting the Legend of William Tell,” Alan Dundes, University of California, Los Angeles, California.

1990:  “Personal Narratives: The Family Novel,” William A. Wilson, Santa Rosa Junior College, Santa Rosa, California.

1989:  “On the Importance of Rotting Fish: A Proverb and Its Audience,” Shirley L. Arora, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, California.

1988:  "From Proverb to Belief and Superstition: An Encyclopedic Vision,” Frances Cattermole-Tally, Berkeley, California (with the Association for the Study of Play).

1987:  “In the Stope, at the Hall: Who Treasures Tales of Work?” Archie Green, University of California, Los Angeles.

1986:  “Carnival as Folklore,” Dan Crowley, Modesto Junior College, Modesto, California.

1985:  “The Folklorist as Comparatist,” Robert A. Georges, University of California, Irvine, California.

1984:  “The Aisling and the Cowboy: Some Unnoticed Influences of Irish Vision Poetry on Anglo-American Ballads,” D. K. Wilgus, Fort Mason, San Francisco.

1983:  “Chinese Symbolism,” Wolfram Eberhard, California Polytechnic University, Pomona.

1982:  “Oracles, Delphic and Non-Delphic,” Joseph Fontenrose, University of California, Davis, California.

1981:  “Perhaps Too Much to Chew,” William Bascom, University of California, Los Angeles.

1980:  “California Legendry and the Reverberant Joaquin Murieta,” Hector Lee, California State University, Sonoma, Rohnert Park, California.

1979:  “Let's Make It a Tradition,” Bertrand H. Bronson, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California.

1978:  “Theurgic Medicine: A Challenge to the Folklorist,” Wayland Hand, San Jose State University, San Jose, California.