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Department of Folk Studies and Anthropology - Michael Ann Williams

Dr. Michael Ann Williams

Dr. Michael Ann Williams

Professor, Folk Studies and Department Head

Office:  FAC 237
Phone:  270 745-5898


FLK 464/464G Vernacular Architecture

FLK 470/470G Museum Procedures and Preservation Techniques

FLK 560 Cultural Conservation

FLK 561 Folk Art

FLK 577 Folklore Theory

FLK 585 Topics: Foodways


BA Anthropology, Franklin and Marshall College

MA Folklore and Folklife, University of Pennsylvania

PhD Folklore and Folklife, University of Pennsylvania


I have taught folklore at Western Kentucky University since 1986. In 2004, I became the head of the newly created Department of Folk Studies and Anthropology. My research interests have included social and symbolic use of space in vernacular architecture, government policy and its impact on Appalachian communities, and cultural representation and the staging of tradition. Recently my graduate students and I worked on an oral history project documenting the former logging town of Ravensford, North Carolina, part of a larger cultural resource documentation effort accompanying a transfer of land from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park to the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. I served as chair of the Kentucky Historic Preservation Review Board from 1993-2005 and I am an advisor to the Kentucky Oral History Commission. I have also been an active member of the Vernacular Architecture Forum, formerly serving as the newsletter editor and as a vice-president and board member.  Currently I am President-Elect of the American Folklore Society.

Selected Publications

Staging Tradition: John Lair and Sarah Gertrude Knott. University of Illinois Press, 2006.

Homeplace: The Social Use and Meaning of the Folk Dwelling in Southwestern North Carolina. Paperback edition, University of Virginia Press, 2004.

Great Smoky Mountains Folklife, University Press of Mississippi, 1995.

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 Last Modified 9/25/14