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Grant number: FEL-257721-18

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Nathan Joseph Rabalais
College of William and Mary (Williamsburg, VA 23186-0002)

Folklore Figures of French and Creole Louisiana

Completion of a book-length study on the folklore of French and Creole Louisiana and its adaptations in France, Africa, and francophone Atlantic traditions.

Louisiana’s French and Creole folklore is formed from the confluence of many diverse elements (e.g. the French and Spanish colonial periods, the slave trade, the Acadian exile, and the Haitian Revolution). Folklore Figures of French and Creole Louisiana will be the first book-length work devoted to analysis of this tradition. Through comparative analyses of a corpus of Louisiana folktales and their analogues from Acadia, France, and West Africa, my research places the region in a larger context of the francophone world, demonstrating how characters and moral values have been adapted over time to the sociocultural context of Louisiana. I suggest that several instances of cultural trauma within Louisiana’s French and Creole communities are reflected in the moral framework of folktales through increased prestige associated with the trickster figure. This monograph also contributes significantly to folklore studies through my transcriptions of previously unavailable tales from the 1940s.

Project fields:
Cultural History; Folklore and Folklife; French Language


Research Programs

Total amounts:
$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
8/1/2018 – 7/31/2019