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An Hungarian in America, Linda Dégh lives the ideal of a Malinowskian fieldworker. After immigrating to the United States and joining the faculty of the famous Folklore Institute at Indiana University in the 60s, she has become a participant in and an observer of American life, conducting research among native Midwesterners and Hungarian immigrants in towns like Bloomington, Evansville, Indiana, as well as the highly industrial Calumet Region, particularly in Gary, Indiana. Dégh arrived in the United States as a mature and accomplished scholar, after conducting extensive field research in her native Hungary, and winning the coveted Pitré Prize in 1963. Her books from that period are among the classics of ethnographic folklore (Dégh 1962, 1969, 1995a). In the United States she has extended her method and observed and analyzed her storytelling immigrants as they negotiate their social and narrative worlds between their old and new countries, between their rural beliefs and practices and their homes that are filled with electronic devices, telephones, and television sets. At the same time Dégh has been a major contributor to and a commentator on the changing trends in folkloristics, and in the last thirty years she has emerged as the leading Europeanist in American folklore studies.

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Originally published in Anthropos © 1998 Anthropos Institute. Reproduced with permission.



Date Posted: 22 September 2017

This document has been peer reviewed.