Asian Ethnology Podcast

Interview with Frank J. Korom: Meet the Co-editors (1 of 2)

Interviewer: Ben Dorman, co-editor Asian Ethnology

Recorded 24 November 2017, Nagoya, Japan

This is the first of two episodes featuring interviews with the co-editors. Frank J. Korom discusses the influence of his immigration experience on his research, his work published in Asian Folklore Studies and Asian Ethnology, and the various research projects he has been involved with, including work as a museum curator.

Frank J. Korom is Professor of Religion and Anthropology at Boston University and co-editor of Asian Ethnology. His research and teaching interests range from South Asian expressive traditions and contemporary religion to diaspora studies and transnationalism. He is also interested in film, ritual, and performance studies. He is also an affiliated faculty member of Harvard University’s Program on Mythology and Folklore.

Episode Summary

Intro :25

Personal background and influence on studies and research 4:39

Anthropology and religious studies; folklore studies and language 7:55

Initial connection to Asian Folklore Studies; “Of Navels and Mountains,” “Holy Cow! The Apotheosis of Zebu, or Why the Cow Is Sacred in Hinduism” (see Publications listing below) 11:25

Pakistani Folklore Culture (see Publications listing below), Asian Folklore Studies, and the history of folklore as an academic discipline; “Inventing Traditions” (see Publications listing below) 14:59

Asian Ethnology and changes since Asian Folklore Studies 19:41

Village of Painters, “folklore” and “folklife,” and narrative scrolls; Museum of International Folk Art; material culture, Hosay Trinidad, working at the museum, return to academia (see Publications listing below) 33:07

Current project – research on “the making of a transnational Sufi family” 39:19

Outro 39:23

Publications discussed in this episode


1. Of Navels and Mountains: A Further Inquiry into the History of an Idea . Asian Folklore Studies 51-1: 103-125 (1992). (Author: Frank J. Korom)

2. Holy Cow! The Apotheosis of Zebu, or Why the Cow Is Sacred in Hinduism Asian Folklore Studies 59-2: 181-203 (2000). (Author: Frank J. Korom)

3. “Inventing Traditions: Folklore and Nationalism as Historical Process in Bengal,” in D. Rihtman- Augustin and M. Povrzanovic (eds.) Folklore and Historical Process. 1989. Zagreb: Institute of Folklore Research, pp. 57-84.


Pakistani Folklore Culture: An Annotated Bibliography., 1988, Islamabad: Lok Virsa Research Centre, 1988.

Hosay Trinidad: Muharram Performances in an Indo-Caribbean Diaspora., 2003. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.

Village of Painters: Narrative Scrolls from West Bengal , 2006. Santa Fe: Museum of New Mexico Press.

Music used with kind permission of the performer, shamisen master Koji Yamaguchi.

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