Broadly, my interests lie in the disciplines of folkloristics and sociocultural anthropology. Having both undergraduate and graduate training in these fields I am interested in how expressive cultural forms communicate cultural knowledge and influence human behavior. I’m interested in belief studies, narrative, nationalism, legend, memorate, supernatural traditions, disaster, social memory, cultural trauma, hauntology, and violent geographies. Geographically I am interested in the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, and the United States.
I am also interested in the ways in which disciplinary boundaries are imagined, enacted, and propagated in sociocultural anthropology and folkloristics including the specific histories or historical narratives of these two sister disciplines. Traditionally these two fields have asked similar, as well as different, questions, approaching their objects of study using various methodologies and theorizing the social and cultural in a number of ways. Sociocultural anthropology aims to understand the relationship between culture and society in a given population in as much detail that can be obtained from ethnographic analysis. Folkloristics aims to understand how the informal aspects of culture, including tradition, impact the way in which individuals and communities live in the world, also predominately through ethnographic analysis. Now more than ever before, these two distinct disciplines have much to learn from, as well as teach, each other about how and why both individuals and groups enact and participate in particular social and cultural realities, drawing from local and global resources.
With the combination of these research interests, I use a number of methodological toolkits in order to approach the social worlds that I examine including ethnography, historical anthropology, narratology, and discourse analysis.