Finnish North American Literature Association
Biographical Information (provided by the scholar in her own words):
I was born in Ironwood, Michigan (Norrie location), where both my paternal and
maternal grandparents had settled from Finland. At about the age of 13 my
parents moved, eventually making our home in California where I finished high
school, attended U of CA Berkeley for my BA and MA, met and married Bill, and
moved to Ann Arbor, MI in 1969 where I completed my Ph.D. (and Bill accepted a
position in the anthro dept.).
My studies in college and university were in Slavic; I lived in Bosnia for two years
and wrote my MA thesis on Bosnian traditional song and in the Burgenland, Austria
for two years researching for my Ph.D. on the history and culture of the
Burgenland Croats. Only then, with a position as lecturer, did I begin to turn my full
attention to Finnish American culture. I had written an article or two as a grad
student and had given a paper here and there, but I still considered myself a
Southern Slavic/Balkan specialist. It was in the late 1970s, early 1980s that I really
began to work with Finnish American culture and tradition. And the articles I have
published show what my research interests have been.
Currently, I am finishing my manuscript on rag rug weavers and loom makers in this
part of the US and it will be published by the Michigan State University Press
(hopefully it will be in the hands of second readers by the summer). I am currently
researching the foodways of Finnish Americans. In addition, I am currently curating
an exhibition on Michigan foodways that will tour the state along with an exhibition
on US foodways from the Smithsonian from May 2007 to March 2008.
Publications--of Finnish Interest in Bold
1977 The Sauna: An Expression of Finnish-American Identity. Western
1983 Text and Context. Folksong in a Bosnian Muslim Village. Columbus, OH:
Slavica Publishers, Inc.
1985 Old World, New World: Croatian-Americans on Strawberry Hill (with R.
March), pp. 71-83. In Images of Strawberry Hill: Works by Marijana, ed.
Jennie Chinn. Topeka: Kansas State Historical Society.
1986 Ethnic Roots of American Regional Foods (with William G. Lockwood). In
Current Research in Culinary History. Cambridge: Culinary Historians of
Immigrant to Ethnic: Folk Symbols of Identity Among
Finnish-Americans, pp. 92-107. In Folklife Annual 1986, eds., Alan
Jabbour and James Hardin. Washington, D. C.: Library of Congress.
1988 Editor (with C. Kurt Dewhurst), Michigan Folklife Reader. East Lansing:
Michigan State University Press.
1988-present Editor (with M. Macdowell), Michigan Folklife Annual. East
Lansing: Michigan State University Museum.
1988-1993 Editor (with William G. Lockwood), Digest: An Interdisciplinary
Study of Food and Foodways. [A review published twice a year under the
auspices of the American Folklore Society.]
1990 Editor, Special edition, Finnish American Folklife. Finnish
Americana, Vol. 8.
1991 Pasties in Michigan: Foodways, Interethnic Relations and Cultural
Dynamics (with William G. Lockwood), pp. 3-20. In Creative Ethnicity,
eds., Stephen Stern and John Allan Cicala. Logan: Utah State University
Upper Great Lakes Foodways (with Anne Kaplan), pp. 172-186. In
American Sampler Cookbook, eds, Katherine & Thomas Kurlin.
Washington, D. C.: Smithsonian Institution Press.
1994 Muskrat on the Mall and on Campus (with Dennis Au). Folklore in Use.
Applications in the Real World 2:2:253-262.
1995 The Mother-in-Law: Folksong and Social Structure in a Bosnian Muslim
Village, pp. 485-507. In Folklore Interpreted: Essays in Honor of Alan
Dundes, eds., Regina Bendix and Rosemary Levy Zumwalt. New York &
London: Garland Publishing.
2000 Continuity and Adaptation of Arab-American Foodways (with William G.
Lockwood), pp. 515-549. In Arab Detroit: From Margin to Mainstream,
eds., Nabeel Abraham and Andrew Shryock. Detroit: Wayne State
Finnish American Milk Products in the Northwoods (with William G.
Lockwood), pp. 232-239. In Milk: Beyond Dairy. Proceedings of the
Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery 1999, ed., Harlan Walker.
Totnes, England: Prospect Books.
2002 Being American: An Arab American Thanksgiving. The Meal:
Proceedings of the Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery 2001, ed.,
Harlan Walker. Totnes, England: Prospect Books.
2004 Midwestern Foods (with William G. Lockwood). The Oxford
Encyclopedia of American Food and Wine. Oxford University Press.
Honoring Traditions (with Marsha MacDowell). East Lansing:
Michigan State University Museum.
2006 Bosnian Americans. In the Encyclopedia of American Folklife, ed. Simon
Finnish Americans. In the Encyclopedia of American Folklife, ed.
Creating an Ethnic Food Culture: The Example of Arab Foodways in
America [with William G. Lockwood], pp. 187-200. In Mediterranean Food
and Its Influences Abroad, ed. Patricia Lysaght & Nives Rittig-Beljak.
Proceedings of the 15th International Commission for Ethnological Food
Research, Dubrovnik, Croatia, 2004. Zagreb: Institute of Ethnology &
2007 Foodways [with Anne Kaplan]. In The American Midwest, pp. 369-372.
Bloomington: Indiana University Press.
Rag Rugs. In The American Midwest, p. 368. Bloomington: Indiana
The Red Stripe: Finnish American Rag Rugs and Cultural
Maintenance. East Lansing: Michigan State University Press.
Michiganders: Our Cultures and Traditions, edited with C. Kurt Dewhurst.
Michigan State University Press.
EXHIBITIONS & FESTIVALS(A Selection)
Curator (with M. Brownscombe) Rags, Rugs and Weavers: A Living Tradition. A
traveling, interpretive exhibition based on years of research on Finnish-American
culture and tradition of rag rug weaving.
Curator of foodways presentations at the annual Festival of Michigan Folklife
(1987-1998), the National Folk Festival (199-2001), and the Great Lakes Folk
Festival (2002- ).
'This Guy's Painting Our Lives': Ralph Fasanella, Worker Activist/Worker Artist. A
presentation (with John Beck) of workers culture and and aesthetics through the
paintings of this artist.
Food in Chinese Culture. A one-day fest coordinated and directed with ChenOi
Chin Hsieh, Chinese American Educational & Cultural Center, to present
demonstrations of food carvings and a lecture on the aesthetics and meanings of
food in Chinese culture.
Iron Men, Steel Rail: Track Labor and the Art of Mark Priest (with John Beck). An
interpretive exhibition or this artist's memory of life and work on the railroad.
Curator (with William G. Lockwood), Immigration & Caricature: Ethnic Images from
the Appel Collection. A traveling, interpretive exhibition.
Curator (with Sally Howell), A Community between Two Worlds: Arab Americans of
Greater Detroit. A traveling, interpretive exhibition, with the Arab Community Center
for Economic and Social Services.
Curator (with Marsha MacDowell and Lynne Swanson) Michigan Artists:
Passing on Traditions. A traveling exhibit featuring the Michigan
Traditional Arts Apprenticeship and Michigan Heritage Awards Programs and the
Curator (with John Beck), Workers Culture in Two Nations: South Africa and the
Michigan Foodways. A traveling, interpretive exhibition.
HONORS & AWARDS
2001 Recipient (with William G. Lockwood) of the 2001 Sophie Coe Prize in
Food History, Oxford University, Oxford Symposium in Food & Cookery for the
article “Continuity and Adaptation of Arab-American Foodways” (with William G.
Lockwood), pp. 515-549. In Arab Detroit: From Margin to Mainstream, eds., Nabeel
Abraham and Andrew Shryock. Detroit: Wayne State University Press.
2003 Recipient (with John Beck) of Michigan State University’s All-University
Excellence in Diversity Award for “sustained effort toward excellence in diversity”
with the program Our Daily Work/Our Daily Lives, a collaborative effort with the
Labor Education Program and Michigan State University Museum.