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Idaho State University’s Attebery to deliver Fife Honor Lecture at Utah State; to present research in Minneapolis

Posted January 27, 2010

Idaho State University English professor and director of the ISU Folklore program Jennifer Eastman Attebery has been selected by Utah State University to give the Fife Honor Lecture in March.

Jennifer Attebery"This is an annual honorary lecture given by a senior folklorist each spring," said USU folklore professor Lisa Gabbert. "The Fife Honor Lecture, named in honor of Austin and Alta Fife, has been held every year since 1981 and recipients are chosen on the basis of achievements in the field. Past lecturers have included Wayland D. Hand, Bess Lomax Hawes, Alan Dundes, David Hufford, Peggy Seeger, and Henry Glassie, among many other notable figures."

Attebery's Fife Lecture, "Personal Letters as Voices from the Past," will occur during the week of March 21. In addition to presenting the lecture to a mixed audience of students, faculty, and the public, Attebery will visit a folklore class to interact with students more directly and attend an evening dinner event.

Attebery has also been invited to present her research on immigrant letters later this spring at a symposium, 'The Migration Letter: Archiving Postal Era Intimacy," to be held in Minneapolis, Minn., on May 17-18, sponsored by the University of Minnesota's Immigration History Research Center and the Institute for Global Studies as part of their joint Global REM (Race, Ethnicity, Migration) Program.

Attebery earned her Ph.D. in folklore and American studies at Indiana University in 1985. Her research focuses on folk culture and history of the Rocky Mountain West in the 19th and early 20th centuries.  Her main contribution to these fields has been an expanded understanding of the multicultural West, in both material and verbal folklore genres. Attebery's peer-reviewed publications include three books. Among them is "Up in the Rocky Mountains: Writing the Swedish Immigrant Experience," published by University of Minnesota Press in 2007, reviewed in the Journal of Folklore Research as "a significant contribution to folklore and history."

Attebery's most recent publication, "Scandinavianism in the Rocky Mountain West, Pragmatic and Programmatic," will appear in the collection "Swedes and Norwegians in the U.S." edited by Dag Blanck and Philip Anderson, forthcoming from Minnesota Historical Society Press in 2010. Her articles have also been published by the refereed journals Scandinavian Studies, American Studies in Scandinavia, Journal of the Folklore Institute and Pioneer America. Her book "Building Idaho" (University of Idaho Press, 1991) won the Idaho Book Award. She was an ISU Outstanding Researcher in 2008 and 2009.