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James Leary

Expert on the folklore/culture of diverse peoples in Wisconsin and the Upper Midwest

Professor emeritus, folklore and Scandinavian studies College of Letters and Science Work: 608-262-8107 — Home and cell phones available upon request Home page


  • Folk humor, jokes, Ole and Lena stories
  • Traditional and ethnic music (polka, powwow, old time fiddling, gospel, etc.)
  • Wisconsin traditions


  • Kellett Mid-Career Award for Excellence in Arts and Humanities Scholarship, 2007
  • Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Teaching, 2006
  • Author, "Wisconsin Folklore," "So Ole Says to Lena: Folk Humor of the Upper Midwest," "Polkabilly: How the Goose Island Ramblers Redefined American Folk Music"
  • Governor's Award for Excellence in Public Humanities Scholarship, 1995