Potter College News
Dr. Tim Frandy Selected for College Research Award
- Thursday, May 13th, 2021
The Department of Folk Studies and Anthropology is very proud to congratulate Dr. Tim Frandy, assistant professor of folk studies, for his selection as the recipient of the 2021 Potter College Faculty Award for Excellence in Research and Creative Activity! A committee of his peers in the college selected Dr. Frandy for this honor in recognition of his exceptional research accomplishments, scholarly output, intellectual breadth, and the broader significance of his work and methods.
Since coming to WKU in 2017, Dr. Frandy has maintained an active research agenda in his wide-ranging areas of expertise within folklore and Scandinavian studies, including environmental and medical humanities, museum studies, worldview and knowledge traditions, cultural sustainability and revitalization, and resistance and decolonization movements. Dr. Frandy engages with diverse peoples in the Western Great Lakes region and the Nordic countries, collaborating with reindeer herders, traditional artists, musicians, storytellers, activists, traditional healers, and other Indigenous groups. This work is facilitated by Dr. Frandy’s extraordinary degrees of linguistic fluency in Finnish, Swedish, Norwegian, German, North Sámi, Inari Sámi, and Anishinaabemowin.
A particularly productive scholar, Dr. Frandy actively disseminates his work to multiple audiences. Publications and conference presentations for his professional peers are important ways of advancing the disciplines. In fact, in 2020 Dr. Frandy received the inaugural section award from the Folklore and Science Section of the American Folklore Society for his work on cultural concepts of sustainability among Sámi salmon fishers within the context of colonization. Dr. Frandy and the tradition bearers with whom he collaborates share their work with those larger communities through festivals, workshops, and other means. His contributions to museum exhibits, podcasts, and magazines like Condé Nast bring diverse cultural traditions and worldviews the general public. Dr. Frandy’s focus on community-centered projects not only generates knowledge but also elevates and assists the people with whom he collaborates as a scholar.
Dr. Frandy’s 2019 book, Inari Sámi Folklore: Stories from Aanaar, was published in paperback last year. This is the first anthology of Sámi oral tradition published in the English language. Dr. Frandy translated folktales, legends, joik songs, proverbs, riddles, and other verbal art collected in the 1880s from over 20 storytellers in northeast Finland. He researched biographies of the storytellers and contextualized the stories relative to broad themes such as community conflicts and environmental changes. Dr. Frandy added maps, period photographs, annotations, and a glossary to further enhance this major contribution to the field. This and other research with Sámi people is, as Dr. Frandy puts it, both “from an Indigenous perspective and for an Indigenous perspective.”
Dr. Frandy’s forthcoming work is a co-edited volume on the current status of practice and theory in public-oriented folklore. In over 30 contributions, the authors consider and illustrate how public culture work can address obstacles like racist practices to improve the quality of life of diverse communities. As he wraps-up this tome, among other things, Dr. Frandy continues to write successful research grants, publish his work on fishing guides and hunting culture in the Upper Midwest, consult on an audio series for the Chippewa Valley Museum, and design and implement cultural programming in the Lac du Flambeau Anishinaabe community in partnership with traditional artist and educator Wayne Valliere and the Lac du Flambeau Public School.
For those of us who have had the good fortune to work with Dr. Frandy, it is no surprise that he has been recognized with the 2021 Potter College Faculty Award for Excellence in Research and Creative Activity. But in this particularly challenging year, Dr. Frandy’s sustained efforts to do research that advances his fields and the communities with whom he works are especially noteworthy. Dr. Frandy is a treasure to our department, the university, and the communities he serves through his scholarship.