Katherine Borland

Katherine Borland

Katherine Borland

Associate Professor | Department of Comparative Studies; Director of Center for Folklore Studies | College of Arts and Sciences


(614) 247-0045

433 Hagerty Hall
1775 College Rd.,
Columbus, OH

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Areas of Expertise

  • Postcolonial (World) Literature
  • Folklore, Latin American Folklore, Festival, Dance
  • Writing, Ethnography
  • Immigration, Comparative Ethnic Studies
  • Development Theory, Experiential Education
  • Women's oral narrative
  • Politics of culture


  • Ph.D., Folklore, Indiana University
  • M.A., English and the Teaching of Writing, Temple University
  • B.A., University of Chicago

Katherine Borland studies and teaches about the artfulness of ordinary life, and the ways in which traditional expressive arenas constitute contested terrain.

Her current book projects include a collection of reflective essays on international volunteering in Central America, co-edited with Abigail E. Adams and entitled:  Good Works in Central America?: Reflections from the Academy on the Practice of International Volunteering; and a text, tentatively entitled, Engendering Folkloristics and Folklorizing Feminism, co-written with Amy Shuman.  She also plan to produce a film on the interactions of tourism and traditional performance in the Palo de Mayo Festival of Bluefields, Nicaragua.

In her teaching she works particularly with undergraduate students to develop and hone interpretive, synthesizing and analytic skills through shared inquiry, team research and writing.

Research & Project Links

Interview with Beatrice Hanson (12/1986) by Katherine Borland. The audiofile reproduces the racetrack story upon which the article, "'That's Not What I Said': Interpretive Conflict in Oral Narrative Research," is based [Women's Words: The Feminist Practice of Oral History, pp. 63-76.  Eds. Sherna Berger Gluck and Daphne Patai.  New York: Routledge, 1992].  A transcript of the narrative is available in "Horsing Around with the Frame: The Negotiation of Meaning in Women's Verbal Performance," Praxis (Spring 1990): 83-107. 

Selected publications

  • "Exotic Identities: Dance, Difference and Self-Fashioning."  Co-written with Sheila Bock.  Journal of Folklore Research  48 (1) 2011:1-36.  Explores the practices of embodying an other to explore/construct the self. 
  • Cosmopolitans in Ohio Face a Troubled World.  Proceedings of the Congress of the Latin American Studies Association. 2010.  Documents the emergence and increasing popularity of voluntourism and critiques its idealist intentions.
  • Special Issue of the Journal of American Folklore: Latin American Dance in Transnational Contexts, 122 (486) 2009.  With an introduction by Sydney Hutchinson, includes essays on Purepecha Courtship (Joyce Bishop), Aztec Dancers at North American Powwows (Sandy Garner), Argentinian Tango (Ana Cara) and New Jersey Salsa (Katherine Borland)
  • Unmasking Class, Gender and Sexuality in Nicaraguan Festival. Univ. of Arizona Press. 2006. A study of the politics of culture in Masaya's Fiesta de San Jerónimo and related cultural performances during the Somoza, Sandinista and Neoliberal eras.
  • "That's not What I Said: Interpretive Conflict in Oral Narrative Research" anthologized in Women's Words (1991), The Oral History Reader (1998), and Approaches to Qualitative Research: A Reader on Theory and Practice (2003).  Examines ethical issues of representing and interpreting life stories.

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