Musicians at the Bean Blossom Bluegrass Festival, Bean Blossom, Indiana

The Ohio State University Center for Folklore Studies supports the learning, teaching, research and outreach of folklorists and students of folklore. The center provides Ohio State folklorists with a network for interdisciplinary participation. It coordinates folklore course offerings across departments; facilitates research and outreach projects; organizes lectures and conferences; and maintains an archive of more than 12,000 recordings and projects from over half a century.

The center focuses on any expressive norm that can be studied, from traditional stories to customs and rituals in areas all over the world. Folklore looks at the full spectrum of human expressions — the artistic ways of interacting with others and generating creative forms of expression. 

{Ray Cashman, former director, Center for Folklore Studies} 

By the Numbers

  • Faculty: 8 core folklorists and approximately 16 associated faculty members
  • 25 undergraduate majors, with their degree coming from Comparative Studies
  • 8 graduates (GIS), mainly coordinated through English and Comparative Studies, but also languages such as Near Eastern Asian, Germanic and Russian, and also some from the Arts

The American Folklore Society

The American Folklore Society is housed at the center, hosting folklorists and speakers from around the world, to the benefit of Ohio State researchers and students.


The Center for Folklore Studies maintains an extensive archive of folklore, folk music, and other ethnographic materials, housed in Ohio Stadium. The OSU Folklore Archives supports the center’s objectives of teaching, research, outreach, and public and digital humanities. Holdings include a massive collection of folksong recordings and a growing collection of folklore journals and books.

The archive also has:

  • More than10,000 student folklore collection and analysis projects covering a wide range of folklore genres
  • Research materials from the Ohio Arts Council and the Ohio Humanities Council
  • A “Key Ingredients” collection, focusing on Ohio foodways
  • The “New Harmonies” collection, focusing on contemporary Ohio vernacular music
  • The University District Oral History Project, which preserves the memories of long-term residents in the neighborhoods surrounding Ohio State
  • Original research materials from OSU folklore faculty

Many of these materials are digitized and accessible on the archival website