Mary Hufford

Mary Hufford

Mary Hufford

Visiting Professor, English

Areas of Expertise

  • Folklore Studies
  • Appalachian Studies
  • Environmental Humanities


  • PhD, University of Pennsylvania 1989
  • BA, Boston College, 1974

/*-->*/ Since 2016, in her capacity as associate director for the Livelihoods Knowledge Exchange Network (LiKEN), folklorist Mary Hufford has worked with colleagues across disciplines and sectors to develop collaboratories for the study of forest and water issues in Central Appalachian communities. She is especially interested in how conversational genres sustain local imaginaries anchored in commons of forests, soils, and water -- in how stories assemble multi-species communities within narrative ecologies, in how places come to form narrative climax systems. Over the past three decades, in her work for the American Folklife Center, Library of Congress, and the Graduate Group in Folklore and Folklife at the University of Pennsylvania, she has engaged students and colleagues in place-based and regional team field projects to document the impacts of environmental crisis on communities in the New Jersey Pine Barrens, the southern West Virginia coalfields, Ohio’s chemical valley, and urban neighborhoods in Philadelphia and Baltimore. A Fellow of the American Folklore Society and a Guggenheim Fellow, she is the author of Chaseworld: Foxhunting and Storytelling in New Jersey’s Pine Barrens, curator of the online web presentation Tending the Commons: Folklife and Landscape in Southern West Virginia, and editor of Conserving Culture: A New Discourse on Heritage. For more on her publications, teaching, and research, visit

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