contributors discussing a panel at the 2019 exhibit


The following people contributed to researching and writing the panels included in this exhibit. Click a name to expand and read the bio.

Wanda G. Addison

Wanda G. Addison is Professor of Literature in the Department of Arts and Humanities at National University in San Diego, CA. She received her PhD in English from the University of Louisiana, Lafayette. Her research interests include Black storytelling, concepts of home and belonging in African American literature and narrative, oral history, intangible cultural heritage, and Ernest J. Gaines

Ebony L. Bailey

Ebony L. Bailey is a Researcher at RK&A, a museum planning, evaluation, and research firm, and an intern at the Smithsonian Center for Folklife & Cultural Heritage. She recently received her PhD in African American Literature, Folklore Studies, and Narrative Theory from The Ohio State University. During her graduate studies, she studied folklore and narrative theory in nineteenth- and twentieth-century African American literature, examining how postbellum African American writers contributed to American folklore studies.

Michelle Banks

Michelle Banks has an MA in Cultural Sustainability and is currently a PhD candidate in Sustainability Education at Prescott College, where she is Associate Faculty in the department of Social Justice Studies. Her research disciplines include historical memory, spiritual ecology, and biocultural diversity. 

Camila Bryce-Laporte

Camila Bryce-Laporte is an independent folklorist and community scholar. She was educated in fine arts, performing arts and the humanities with a specialization in folklore studies at Sarah Lawrence College and George Washington University. She works primarily in developing  programs for underrepresented communities.

Olivia Cadaval

Olivia Cadaval is program curator emerita at the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage. Her focus in collaborative reciprocal research and public programming builds on more than thirty years of experience collaborating with Latino and Latin American cultural specialists and communities for the Smithsonian Folklife Festival. Her current interest is working collaboratively at a local level. She earned her PhD in American Studies and Folklife from George Washington University.

Norma E. Cantú

Norma E. Cantú is a folklorist whose work focuses on the U.S.-Mexico borderlands; she is also a fiction writer and poet. She currently has the Murchison Distinguished Professor in the Humanities at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas and is the 2020-2021 President of the American Folklore Society. She earned her PhD from University of Nebraska, Lincoln in English.

Wilson C. Chen

Wilson C. Chen is Professor of English at Benedictine University in Lisle, Illinois.  He received his PhD in English from the University of California, Irvine.  His research focuses on visions and revisions of diaspora in twentieth-century African American literature, with a particular interest in the cultural dialogue between Black Caribbean American and African American women writers.

Gloria M. Colom-Braña

Gloria M. Colom-Braña is the Historic Preservation Program Manager for the city of Bloomington, Indiana and is completing her PhD in Folklore at Indiana University.  She has degrees in historic preservation and architecture. Her research centers on the effects of modernization on vernacular architecture and people’s relationship to space in Puerto Rico. She has also served as the lead bibliographer for this project.

Hali Dardar

Hali Dardar is a Project Coordinator for Language Vitality and Indigenous Media within the Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, and member of the United Houma Nation. With an MA in Art, Culture, and Media from Rijksuniversiteit, Groningen, her research centers on interactive media, digital community, and the use of indigenous and minoritized languages.

Benji de la Piedra

Benji de la Piedra is a writer, educator, and public historian whose work focuses on American and African American culture. He holds an MA in Oral History from Columbia University and teaches oral history methodology in a variety of contexts, including courses at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and the University of the District of Columbia. He has published and presented original research on Ralph Ellison and Albert Murray, and he currently directs the Herbert Denton Biography Project at UDC while working on a book about Herbert Denton Jr, the Washington Post‘s first African American city editor

Cristina Diaz-Carrera

Cristina Diaz-Carrera is a curator at the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage specializing in Latin American and U.S. Latinx community-based research and the production of Smithsonian Folklife Festival programs. She earned her MA at New York University’s Center for Latin America and Caribbean Studies and completed her BA in ethnomusicology from Barnard College, Columbia University. As a mentee of Olivia Cadaval, she is interested in learning more about how community engagement work around the Festival can feed into its research and education directives and help the Festival connect with more diverse audiences.

Juan Díes

Juan Díes is an active musician and co-founder of Sones de México Ensemble, a two-time Grammy award nominee. He holds an MA in folklore/ethnomusicology from Indiana University and has devoted his professional life to presenting, researching, advocating, teaching, and performing traditional music and culture.

James Counts Early

James Counts Early is a cultural democracy policy consultant. His applied research explores participatory museology, cultural heritage statecraft policy, capitalist and socialist discourses in cultural policy, and Afro-Latin politics and history. In addition to his work as a curator and researcher on several Smithsonian Folklife Festival programs, he also served as Smithsonian Assistant Secretary for Education and Public Service, director of cultural heritage policy at the Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, and interim director of the Anacostia Community Museum.

Evelyn Figueroa

Evelyn Figueroa is a retired Senior Project Director from the Smithsonian Institution, who worked for 30 years documenting and representing Latino history and cultures through interpretive, educational, and multimedia projects tailored to national audiences. Figueroa served as a faculty member of the Latino Museum Studies Program at the Smithsonian Latino Center and holds academic degrees from the University of Puerto Rico, Washington State University, and George Washington University.

Peter J. García

Peter J. García teaches World Music, U.S. Chicanx and Latin/x Borderlands Folklore, Performance and Cultural Studies at California State University Northridge. He earned a PhD in Latin American Ethnomusicology, at University of Texas, Austin, with a focus on Greater Mexico and the U.S. Latinx and Chicana/o Borderlands with field research among Mexican, Indo- Hispano, indigenous and immigrant communities in California, Arizona, Sonora, New Mexico, Colorado, Chihuahua, and Texas.

Wendy Makoons Geniusz

Wendy Makoons Geniusz is a Professor of Decolonisation and Indigeneity at York University. A Cree and Métis woman born and raised in Wisconsin, whose mother’s family comes from the Pas in Manitoba, she received her PhD in American Studies from the University of Minnesota. Her research centers on the decolonization Ojibwe language and culture, with the ultimate goal of creating usable materials for Indigenous language and culture revitalization programs.

Martha González

Martha González is a Chicana Artivista, musician, scholar, mother, sister, and daughter. In addition to being a Grammy-award winning artist (with the band Quetzal), she is a feminist music theorist. Gonzalez received her PhD in Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies at the University of Washington, Seattle. She is an associate professor at Scripps College in the Intercollegiate Department of Chicanx Latinx Studies.

Rachel Valentina González-Martin

Rachel Valentina González-Martin is an Associate Professor of Mexican American and Latina/o Studies at the University of Texas at Austin. She earned a Ph.D. in Folklore & Ethnomusicology from Indiana University. Her research focuses on cultural practice, and class formation in US Latinx communities, focusing on women, youth, and queer-identifying communities.

Susana Grajales Geliga

Susana Grajales Geliga is an enrolled member of the Sicangu Lakota and is of Taino descent.  She earned her PhD in History with a specialization in Ethnic Studies, and her MA in History with a focus on Great Plains Studies from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and she is an Assistant Professor of the Department of History and Native American Studies at the University of Nebraska-Omaha. She is a Co-Director of the Genoa Indian School Digital Reconciliation Project at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and an adjunct professor for Native American Studies at the Nebraska Indian Community College. Her primary areas of research are the histories of Native American women, and the construction of Native American identities in the early twentieth century. 

Joyce Marie Jackson

Joyce Marie Jackson is Professor of Folklore-Ethnomusicology in the Department of Geography & Anthropology, former Director of African & African American Studies at Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, and has served as the Interim Director to the LSU Louisiana/Caribbean Studies program and as Director of the Academic Programs Abroad to Senegal, Ghana, and Haiti.   She earned her PhD at Indiana University, Bloomington in Folklore and Ethnomusicology and her core research centers on African and African diaspora performance-centered studies, sacred and secular rituals, and cultural and community sustainability. Her ethnographic research spans the genres of gospel, blues, and traditional jazz.

Healoha Johnston

Healoha Johnston lives in Kaiwiki, Hawaiʻi, and is curator for Hawai`i and Pacific Arts and Culture at the Bishop Museum in Honolulu, Hawai`i. Johnston is former Curator of Asian Pacific American Women’s Cultural History at the Smithsonian Institution where she was part of the American Women’s History Initiative and the Asian Pacific American Center. She holds both a BA and a MA in Art History from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. Johnston’s exhibitions and research projects explore connections between historic visual culture and contemporary art with a particular focus on the socio-political underpinnings that inform those relationships. 

Sojin Kim

Sojin Kim is a curator at the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, where she works on projects focusing on migration, music, and public history. She earned her PhD in Folklore and Mythology from UCLA.

Fariha Khan

Fariha Khan is Co-Director of the Asian American Studies Program at the University of Pennsylvania.  She received a MA in Arabic and Islamic Studies from Yale University and a PhD in Folklore and Folklife from the University of Pennsylvania.  Her research centers on South Asian Americans, Muslim Americans, and Asian American Folklore.

Grace Dahye Kwon

Grace Dahye Kwon is a PhD student in American Studies at the University of Maryland. She holds an MA in Literature from the University of Maryland and an MFA in Fiction and a BA in English from George Mason University. She was previously a curatorial assistant at the Smithsonian’s Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage.

Enrique Lamadrid

Enrique Lamadrid taught Nuevomexicano folklore, ethnopoetics, and cultural history at the University of New Mexico, where he now edits the Querencias Series of UNM Press. He earned his Ph.D. in Spanish at University of Southern California. Enrique is an elected commissioner for his Acequia (traditionally managed irrigation system), waters an orchard off the Río Grande, and was a member of the curatorial team of the Smithsonian Folklife Festival “El Río” program on bio-regionalism and traditional culture in the Río Grande / Bravo basin.

Michelle Lanier

Michelle Lanier is an Afro-Carolina folklorist with interdisciplinary approaches to museum curation, filmmaking, and writing. She completed her MA in Folklore and, is just beginning a doctoral program in human geography, both at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Michelle is also a proud Spelman woman who teaches at the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University.

Robert L. Lucero, Jr.

Robert L. Lucero, Jr. is a mariachi musician and educator from northern New Mexico and a lawyer who practices with a focus on land, business, and estate matters. A graduate of Stanford University with a BA in Anthropology, and a JD from University of New Mexico, he directs the mariachi music program at the University of New Mexico Department of Music and is the current Chair of the John Donald Robb Musical Trust.  He has performed with numerous mariachi and other Latin music ensembles.

Margaret Magat

Margaret Magat received her PhD from University of Pennsylvania and MA in Folklore from UC Berkeley. She currently works in the field of cultural resource management and historic preservation. Her interests include foodways, intangible cultural heritage, the politics of space and place, and Asian American folklore.

Allie Martin

Allie Martin is a Mellon Faculty Fellow in the Music Department at Dartmouth College.  She received her PhD from the Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology at Indiana University.  Her research explores gentrification, race, and sound in Washington, DC.

Ashley Martinez

Ashley Martinez is a PhD student in the department of Chicana and Chicano Studies at the University of New Mexico. Since 2016, she has worked part-time with the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage. She is the program coordinator for the 2023 Smithsonian Folklife Festival program “Creative Encounters: Living Religions in the United States.”

Phyllis M. May-Machunda

Phyllis M. May-Machunda is a folklorist whose research centers on African American creative expressivities, especially by African American women and children, American multicultural studies, folklore and disability studies, and critical multicultural and social justice education.  She is Professor Emerita of American Multicultural Studies at Minnesota State University Moorhead and a former curator at the Smithsonian Office of Folklife Programs. She earned her PhD in Folklore and Ethnomusicology from Indiana University-Bloomington.

Mario Montaño

Mario Montaño, Professor Emeritus at Colorado College, is a folklorist.  He earned his PhD from University of Pennsylvania.  His research focuses on the Texas-Mexican border and northern region of Mexico and his interest is the anthropology of food.

Shirley Moody-Turner

Shirley Moody-Turner is Associate Professor of English and African American Studies at Pennsylvania State University and a founding co-director of the Center for Black Digital Research and Black Women’s Organizing Archive.  She earned an MA and PhD from University of Maryland, College Park in English Language and Literature.  Her research centers on Black folklore studies, critical race studies, Black feminist intellectual history, and African American literature.

Eric César Morales

Eric César Morales is a scholar and activist at the Philadelphia Folklore Project, where he leads the Folk Arts and Social Change Residency Program that advocates for folk and traditional artists in service of social betterment. He received his PhD from Indiana University’s Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology, where his research centered on dance, cultural appropriation, and globalization, with a focus on Polynesian cultures. 

Olga Nájera-Ramírez

Olga Nájera-Ramírez, Professor Emerita, Department of Anthropology at the University of California, received her PhD at the University of Texas at Austin as an anthropologist specializing in folklore. Her work concentrates on expressive cultural productions as practiced by Mexicans living in the U.S. and Mexico.

Phil Tajitsu Nash

Phil Tajitsu Nash teaches Asian Pacific American history, art and public policy classes at the University of Maryland, and served as Curator of the Asian Pacific American Program at the 2010 Smithsonian Folklife Festival. He has a degree in law from Rutgers University and has done over thirty years of language and cultural preservation work with the Arawak-speaking Wauja people in the Brazilian Amazon. His current research focuses on multiracial and multicultural peoples in Brazil and the United States.

Diana Baird N’Diaye

Diana Baird N’Diaye is a Cultural Specialist and Senior Curator at the Smithsonian’s Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, a Fellow of the American Folklore Society, and an interdisciplinary artist. She holds a PhD in anthropology and visual studies from The Union lnstitute Graduate School in Cincinnati Ohio.   Her specialties and interests span the areas of African and African Diaspora expressive culture and identity, cultural representation, cultural heritage industries, social justice, and cultural policy. 

Anna M. Nogar

Anna M. Nogar is Associate Professor of Hispanic Southwest Studies in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at the University of New Mexico. Her research interests include folk and oral narratives from the US-Mexico Borderlands, in particular New Mexico, from the 17th century to the present day. She earned her PhD and MA in Hispanic Literature and Mexican American Studies from The University of Texas at Austin.

Aaron Ngozi Oforlea

Aaron Ngozi Oforlea is Associate Professor in the English Department at Washington State University. He received his PhD in Folklore and African American Literature from The Ohio State University.  His research and publications center on black masculinity and subjectivity through exploring folklore, rhetoric, and narrative theory in film and literature.

Solimar Otero

Solimar Otero is Professor of Folklore and Gender Studies, and editor of the Journal of Folklore Research, at Indiana University, Bloomington.  She received her PhD in Folklore and Folklife at the University of Pennsylvania.  Her research centers on gender, sexuality, Afro-Caribbean spirituality, and Yoruba traditional religion in folklore, literature, and ethnography.

Lamont Jack Pearley

Lamont Jack Pearley is an applied folklorist, ethnographer and African American Traditional music historian and practitioner enrolled at Western Kentucky University in the African American and Folk Studies programs. He is the African American Studies Ambassador, hosts a weekly segment on NPR/WKU Public Radio called the African American Folklorist, and is the editor of the African American Folklorist Newspaper.  He was inducted into the NY Blues Hall of Fame as Great Blues Historian and TV/Radio Producer (2017) and Great Blues Artist (2018).

Alexandra Sánchez

Alexandra Sánchez has completed her masters in folklore at Indiana University Bloomington. She received her Bachelor’s in Arts in anthropology with minors in French and art at Berry College. Her research interests includes Latina folklore, the construction and performance of femininity and Latinidad, and religious folklife. 

Cheryl T. Schiele

Cheryl T. Schiele is an arts administrator and living cultural heritage specialist with grantmaking and program management experience. A violist with a B Mus and a concentration in music industry from James Madison University, she served as the Registration Manager for the Education Department at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and Program Coordinator for Bargemusic Ltd. As a folk & traditional arts specialist for the National Endowment for the Arts, she manages the National Heritage Fellowships honorific awards, the Folk Arts Partnership grant program, and the National Folklife Network, supporting cultural workers who nurture their communities and enhance community engagement.

Noenoe K. Silva

Noenoe K. Silva (Kanaka Hawaiʻi) is from Kailua, Oʻahu, Hawaiʻi.  She earned her BA in Hawaiian Language, MLIS in Library and Information Studies, and PhD in Political Science at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, where she now serves as Professor in Indigenous and Hawaiian Politics, and as Cooperating Faculty in the Kawaihuelani Center for Hawaiian Language.  Her research interests are in the political history and literature of Hawaiʻi based in Hawaiian-language sources. 

Guha Shankar

Guha Shankar is Senior Folklife Specialist at the American Folklife Center in the Library of Congress. He earned his PhD from the Department of Anthropology, University of Texas at Austin, with a concentration in Folklore and Public Culture. His work involves public programming, media production, and instruction in fieldwork methodologies and emphasizes collaborative documentation and sustainable archival practices with under-represented communities and people of color, nationally and internationally.

Josephine S. Talamántes

Josephine S. Talamántez (Chicana/Yaqui) is an Organizational Management, Public Policy and Governmental Relations consultant with a specialization in Arts, History and Cultural Public Programming, Historic Preservation, Cultural Resource Management and Public History.   She has a MA in History focusing the Chicano civil rights era and on public history programming from California State University Sacramento.  She has served as an executive and consultant to multiple California Latino cultural heritage organizations.

Patricia Miye Wakida

Patricia Miye Wakida is an artist, writer, and community historian. She has authored and edited numerous books on the Japanese American WWII incarceration and collaborated with numerous cultural institutions throughout California on publications, exhibitions, and public programs. She has studied as an apprentice papermaker in Gifu, Japan and as an apprentice printer and hand bookbinder in Berkeley, California; to this day, she still maintains her own linoleum block and letterpress business, handcarving and cranking out prints on 100-year-old equipment.

Langston Collin Wilkins

Langston Collin Wilkins is the Director of the Center for Washington Cultural Traditions. He received his PhD in Ethnomusicology from Indiana University. His research interests include African American Folklore, African American music, and hip-hop culture. 

Deborah Wong

Deborah Wong is an ethnomusicologist and a Professor of Music at University of California Riverside. She holds a Ph.D. in ethnomusicology from the University of Michigan and is a former President of the Society for Ethnomusicology. She specializes in studying the musics of Thailand and Asian America.

Nancy Yan

Nancy Yan received her PhD in folklore from The Ohio State University and taught undergraduate classes there for several years before returning to organizing work.  She has served on the Cultural Diversity Committee of the American Folklore Society and is currently on the Board of Directors of New Faculty Majority, an advocacy organization for non-tenure-track faculty.  She is also a podcast host on New Books in Folklore, part of New Books Network.

Juwen Zhang

Juwen Zhang is professor of Chinese and folklore at Willamette University, Oregon, a Fellow of the American Folklore Society, and current president of Western States Folklore Society. He earned his Ph.D. in Folklore and Folklife from the University of Pennsylvania. His research interests include rites de passage, Chinese/Asian American folklore, folk and fairy tales, folkloric film, and folkloric identity.

Special thanks to the Philadelphia Folklore Project (Deborah Kodish, PhD, Carole Boughter, and Chakawrn Sirirathasuk) and the National Endowment for the Arts Folk & Traditional Arts for permission to use existing text on exhibition panels.