Personhood and Historic Cultural Heritage Practices in Paratextual Analysis

Danielle Burke (University of Wisconsin, Madison)

In 1937, Richard [Richmond] Pearson Rogers (African American, 1896-1972) listed his watch and jewelry repair business under multiple headings within the Asheville, North Carolina city directory. One surprise- as a business of “Herbs and Roots.” From this curious arrangement I argue that folklorists would do well to integrate paratextual analysis into text-based research. It enables a social and cultural reading of texts themselves as material objects and can expose overlooked historic cultural heritage practices—with Rogers, for instance, to stories of African American mountain foraging and rural, place-based traditions.

Part of 03-15 Folklore and the Individual, Thursday, November 02, 2:30 pm–4:30 pm