Richard Bauman

Richard Bauman

Distinguished Professor Emeritus


  • B.A., English, Michigan, 1961
  • M.A., Folklore, Indiana, 1962
  • M.S., Anthropology, University of Pennsylvania
  • Ph.D., American Civilization, University of Pennsylvania, 1968

Best known for his theoretical and methodological contributions to the ethnographic study of language and performance. Professor Bauman’s scholarship has had an impact on the development of a number of intersection fields of study, including folklore, anthropology, history, and linguistics, semiotics, and speech communication.  His writings have been widely reprinted and translated, and he has lectured at scholarly institutions in South America, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia.

In the course of his academic career, Professor Bauman has headed two of folklore’s major programs, first as director of the Center for Intercultural Studies in Folklore and Ethnomusicology at the University of Texas, later as chair of the Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology at Indiana University. Especially active in graduate education, he has directed nearly 60 Ph.D. dissertations in a number of disciplines, and he has won the Distinguished Teaching and Mentoring Award of the University Graduate School.

Professor Bauman’s professional leadership has been cross-disciplinary. He has served as president of the Semiotic Society of America, the Society of Linguistic Anthropology, and the Society of Fellows of the American Folklore Society. Among many other professional activities, he has been chair of the Folk life Advisory Council of the Smithsonian Institution, editor of the Journal of American Folklore, and a member of more than 15 editorial boards.  He has also been a Guggenheim Fellow, a Fellow of the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, Folklore Fellow for the Finnish Academy of Sciences, and twice holder of National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship.

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Selected publications

A World of Others’ Words: Cross-Cultrual Perspective on Intertextuality. (Blackwell Publishing, 2004).

Voices of Modernity: Language Ideologies and the Politics of Inequality. (Cambridge University Press, 2003).

Folklore, Cultural Performances, and Popular Entertainments: A Communications-Centered Handbook. (Oxford University Press).

Genre, Intertextuality, and Social Power. (Journal of Linguistic Anthropology, 1992).

Poetics and Performance as Critical Perspectives on Language and Social Life. (Annual Review of Anthropology, 1990).

Let Your Words Be Few: Symbolism and Silence among Seventeenth Century Quakers. (Cambridge University Press, 1983).