Prof. Barry Jean Ancelet in the Department of Modern Foreign Languages has been named the recipient of the 2008 Américo Paredes Prize by the American Folklore Society.

To read's interview with Dr. Ancelet, click here.

Founded in 1988, the American Folklore Society is this country’s 2,200-member professional association for folklore scholarship, teaching, and public practice. Each year since 2002, the Society's Task Force on Cultural Diversity, Chicana/Chicano Section, and Folklore Latino, Latinoamericano, y Caribeño Section have joined with the AFS Executive Board to give the Paredes Prize, which recognizes excellence in integrating scholarship and engagement with the people and communities one studies, and in teaching and encouraging scholars and practitioners to work in their own cultures or communities.

Past Paredes Prize recipients are:
Barre Toelken, Utah State University, emeritus (2007)
The El Rio Project (2006)
Enrique Lamadrid, University of New Mexico (2005)
C. Kurt Dewhurst and Marsha MacDowell, Michigan State University Museum (2004)
Norma Cantú, University of Texas, San Antonio (2003)
William A. Wilson, Brigham Young University, emeritus (2002)

Dr. Ancelet was selected for this award because of his long and exemplary record of research, publication, and teaching about the expressive life of the French cultures of Louisiana. His work is widely recognized across the Society, in other ethnographic fields, and among Francophone scholars in many disciplines and countries. A number of excellent candidates were considered for this year's Prize, but the Society acknowledged that Ancelet easily reached the top of this distinguished list. This award honors Dr. Ancelet, and also reflects on the excellent work being done by the Department of Modern Foreign Languages and The University of Louisiana in the field of folklore.

Américo Paredes (1915-1999), a leading scholar in folklore and Greater Mexico studies, worked relentlessly throughout his life, in the words of our Board member Olga Nájera-Ramírez, "to better understand, represent, and respect the rights, lives, and culture of U.S. Latinas and Latinos." Paredes contributed significantly to the formation of various intellectual trends and in particular to the scholarship on "native" folklorists and anthropologists; indeed, he trained several generations of "natives." He was the first Mexican American to receive a PhD at the University of Texas, where he taught from 1958 until his retirement in 1984. The Paredes Prize recognizes his contributions to the field and to the Society, gives respect to his memory, and recognizes exemplary achievements that build upon his cross-disciplinary, socially engaged legacy.

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