John Laudun

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John Laudun
Born Lafayette, Louisiana, United States
  • B.A. in Philosophy & English
  • M.A. in English
  • Ph.D. in Folklore Studies
Alma mater
Known for folklorist
Children 1
  • Jacob K. Javits Fellow
  • MacArthur Scholar

John Laudun is a folklorist, essayist, and professor at University of Louisiana at Lafayette.[1][2]

He focuses on creativity across a broad range of media and behaviors. He has published widely in scholarly journals, anthologies, and has a book forthcoming, but he has also reached out to broader audiences with essays in various outlets, including his own website.[3] He has appeared on camera in several films and been interviewed by the New York Times and the Atlanta Constitution, among others.

Education and career[edit]

Born in Lafayette, Louisiana and raised in Lafayette, Franklin, and Baton Rouge, he graduated from Louisiana State University with a dual degree in philosophy and English in 1986. He received a master's of art in English from Syracuse University in 1989, where he developed his interest in folklore studies based on his reading of post-structuralist theories. Laudun obtained a doctorate in folkloristics from Indiana University in 1999, where he studied under Richard Bauman and Henry Glassie.

As he was finishing up work on his dissertation, he was offered a position at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, where he joined the English faculty, where he embarked upon a number of efforts, including editing the Louisiana Folklore Miscellany, published by the Louisiana Folklore Society,[4] from 2000 to 2005.[5]

Honors and awards[edit]

While finishing up his undergraduate work at LSU, Laudun received a Jacob K. Javits Fellowship from the U.S. Department of Education to pursue graduate work in creativity. He was a Javits Fellow at both Syracuse University (1987–89) and Indiana University (1990–92). While at Syracuse, he received the Delmore Schwartz Prize for Poetry. At Indiana University, he was selected as a MacArthur Scholar for the Indiana Center for Global Change and World Peace.[6]



The Amazing Crawfish Boat (University Press of Mississippi, 2016) tells the story of how a bunch of Cajun and German farmers and fabricators invented a traditional amphibious boat.

Scholarly Essays[edit]

2013. Computing Folklore Studies. Mapping over a Century of Scholarly Production through Topics. Journal of American Folklore Vol. 126, No. 502 (Autumn 2013), pp. 455–475.

2012. "Talking Shit" in Rayne: How Aesthetic Features Reveal Ethical Structures. Journal of American Folklore Vol. 125, No. 497 (Summer 2012), pp. 304–326.[7]

2011. A Constellation of Stars: The Study of Creativity on a Human Scale, or How a Bunch of Cajun and German Farmers and Fabricators in Louisiana Invented a Traditional Amphibious Boat. In The Individual in Tradition. Eds. Ray Cashman, Tom Mould, Pravina Shukla. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press.

2008. Gumbo This: The State of a Dish, in Acadians and Cajuns: The Politics and Culture of French Minorities in North America, 160-175. Ed. Ursula Mathis-Moser and Günter Bischof. Innsbruck, Austria: Innsbruck University Press.

2004. Reading Hurston Writing. African American Review 38(1): 45-60.

2001. Talk about the Past in a Midwestern Town: “It Was There At That Time.” Midwestern Folklore 27(2): 41-54. 2000. “There’s Not Much to Talk about When You’re Taking Pictures of Houses”: The Poetics of Vernacular Spaces. Southern Folklore 57(2):135-158.

Media Appearances[edit]

  • 2006 - Louisiana Story (Laudun is one of three narrators and appears in the film).

See also[edit]


External links[edit]