John Holmes McDowell

John Holmes McDowell

Professor, Folklore and Ethnomusicology

Editor, Journal of Folklore Research Reviews

Director of Undergraduate Studies

Research interests

  • speech play and verbal art
  • the corrido of Greater Mexico
  • music, myth, and cosmology in the Andes
  • commemoration
  • folklorization
  • ethnopoetics
  • Latin America
  • the United States

Courses recently taught

  • Constructing Tradition
  • Folklore of Latin America
  • History of Folklore Study
  • Readings in Ethnography
  • Folklore of Student Life
  • Children’s Folklore
  • Myth, Cosmos, & Healing in Latin America
  • Ethnopoetics

Awards & Distinctions

  • Named Fellow of the American Folklore Society (2004)
  • John Simon Guggenheim Fellow: “Poetry and Violence on Mexico’s Costa Chica” (1994)
  • National Endowment for the Humanities, Interpretive Research: “Hispanic Folk Poetry in Performance” (1988-90)
  • Fulbright Lectureship in Ghana, West Africa (1987-88)
  • Fulbright-Hays Faculty Research Abroad Fellowship, Columbia (1978-79)
  • Chicago Folklore Prize for Children’s Riddling (1979)


So Wise Were Our Elders
So Wise Were Our Elders

Mythic Narratives from the Kamsá

John Holmes McDowell

Sayings of the Ancestors
Sayings of the Ancestors

The Spiritual Life of the Sibundoy Indians

John Holmes McDowell

Poetry and Violence
Poetry and Violence

The Ballad Tradition of Mexico's Costa Chica

John Holmes McDowell

Andean Cosmologies through Time
Andean Cosmologies through Time

Persistence and Emergence

Robert V.H. Dover, Katharine E. Seibold, John Holmes McDowell

Publication highlights