In the Botkin Folklife Lectures Plus series, we’ll present selected lectures in our Benjamin Botkin Folklife Lectures series that also had accompanying oral history interviews, placing both together in an easy-to-find blog post. (Find the whole series here.) We’re inaugurating the series with one of last year’s most fascinating lecturers, the late Burt Feintuch, who spoke in the series on June 7, 2017.
The staff of the American Folklife Center was shocked and saddened to hear the news of Burt’s death on October 29, 2018. Burt was a wonderful friend and colleague to many of us. He was a Professor of folklore and English at the University of New Hampshire and director of the Center for Humanities there. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania in 1975. From 1990 to 1995 he served as editor of the Journal of American Folklore, and he became a Fellow of the American Folklore Society in 2012.
For many years Burt worked on the intersection of cultural integrity and local music in northern England, Atlantic Canada, and New Orleans. He is the author of Conservation of Culture: Folklorists and the Public Sector; In the Blood: Cape Breton Conversations on Culture; and Talking New Orleans Music: Crescent City Musicians Talk About Their Lives, Their Music, and Their City. He also edited Eight Words for the Study of Expressive Culture and The Encyclopedia of New England.
Burt has long been a friend of AFC. His recordings of traditional music are part of the archive, and he has visited the Library to give lectures at AFC and to attend meetings of the National Recordings Preservation Board. We will write a fuller tribute to this remarkable friend and folklorist once we have more details, but for now, we wish to express our condolences to his family and friends, and to introduce our blog readers to the life and work of an unforgettable colleague.
In the first player, watch Burt’s lecture, Cultural Integrity & Local Music: Cape Breton Fiddle, New Orleans Funk. Then scroll down for the oral history, which allows us to hear about his life and work in his own words.
In the oral history, Burt Feintuch spoke about his life and career with AFC staff member, Nancy Groce: