Department of Folk Studies and Anthropology News
WKU Folk Studies MA Alumnus Wins Prestigious Chicago Folklore Prize
- Tuesday, November 3rd, 2020
WKU Folk Studies MA alumnus Andrea Kitta (’03) is a 2020 recipient of the American Folklore Society’s Chicago Folklore Prize for her 2019 book The Kiss of Death: Contamination, Contagion, and Folklore (Utah State University Press). The prestigious Chicago Folklore Prize has been awarded by the American Folklore Society since 1904 “for the best book-length work of folklore scholarship for the year.”
In The Kiss of Death, Kitta examines vernacular understandings of contagion and contamination as expressed through legend and rumor—a topic that could not be more timely, in this time of the Covid-19 pandemic. For that reason, the publishers have made the digital version available free of charge.
Kitta’s MA thesis was entitled Narratives of Cancer Survivors in Religious Life, and she has continued to focus her research on medicine and belief as well as the supernatural. She went on to receive her PhD in Folklore from Memorial University of Newfoundland and is now Associate Professor of English at East Carolina University. She is the author or co-author of numerous articles, and her book Vaccinations and Public Concern in History: Legend, Rumor, and Risk Perception (Routledge 2012) won the Brian McConnell Book Award. She is currently working on a co-edited volume entitled Conspiracy Thinking: Folklore and the Role of Conspiracy Theory in Contemporary Society.
Kitta shared this year’s Chicago Prize with Simon J. Bronner, author of The Practice of Folklore: Essays toward a Theory of Tradition (University Press of Mississippi).