Humanities Institute Scholar Session Honors Folklorist, Filmmaker Bruce Jackson

Release Date: October 28, 2011


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UB English Professor Bruce Jackson will be honored for his scholarly work at an exhibition of his photography.

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Acclaimed folklorist, documentary filmmaker and photographer Bruce Jackson will be honored at the 2011 Scholar Session presented by the University at Buffalo's Humanities Institute on Nov. 4 at 7 p.m. in the Albright-Knox Art Gallery.

The session will be followed by a photography exhibition of Jackson's work "Full Color Depression: First Kodachromes from America's Heartland," which will run at the Albright-Knox through Jan. 22. The session and exhibit are free and open to the public.

Each year since 2006, the Scholar Session honors one outstanding UB faculty member and showcases his or her work to the local community by bringing renowned scholars to Buffalo to discuss the honoree's work. This year's honoree, Jackson, is a SUNY Distinguished Professor and the James Agee Professor of American Culture. The event is titled "Being There: The Work of Bruce Jackson."

Jackson is a professor in UB's Department of English and has written or edited more than 30 books in the fields of folklore, ethnography, sociology and photography. A Grammy nominee, he is also a documentary photographer and filmmaker. His most recent books are "Pictures from a Drawer: Prison and the Art of Portraiture" (2009) and "The Story is True: The Art and Meaning of Telling Stories" (2007). Much of his work has been done in collaboration with his wife, SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor Diane Christian, who is also a UB professor of English. His next book, co-authored with Christian, "In This Timeless Time: Living and Dying on Death Row in America," will be published in spring 2012, to be followed by the 2013 release of "Inside the Wire: Prison Photographs 1962-2001."

Jackson has been named chevalier in the Order of Arts and Letters by the French government, has served as president of the American Folklore Society, editor of Journal of American Folklore and chairman of the board of trustees of the American Folklife Center in the Library of Congress.

This year's guest scholars are Tom Rankin and William Ferris. Rankin, a professor at Duke University and the director of the Center for Documentary Studies, is a distinguished documentary photographer, filmmaker and folklorist. He is a longtime member of the board of trustees at the American Folklife Center and, like Jackson, has served as its president. Ferris, a professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and former chair of the National Endowment for the Humanities, is a filmmaker, folklorist and author who co-founded the Center for Southern Folklore in Memphis. He is co-editor of The Encyclopedia of Southern Culture.

Previous Scholar Session honorees include UB professors Rodolphe Gasche, comparative literature, in 2010; Carolyn Korsmeyer, philosophy, in 2008; and Dennis Tedlock, English/anthropology, in 2006. More information about the Scholar Sessions is available at>.

The University at Buffalo is a premier research-intensive public university, a flagship institution in the State University of New York system and its largest and most comprehensive campus. UB's more than 28,000 students pursue their academic interests through more than 300 undergraduate, graduate and professional degree programs. Founded in 1846, the University at Buffalo is a member of the Association of American Universities.

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