Barbara Hillers joined the Department in August, 2018. She came to Bloomington from University College Dublin, where she taught classes on folk religion, traditional storytelling, and material culture. Previously, she taught Celtic folklore, language, and literature at Harvard (2000-2009) and at the University of Edinburgh (1997-2000).
A native of northern Germany, Barbara began her formal studies in Ireland, where she developed a true passion for folklore after visiting the National Folklore Collection in Dublin, one of the largest collections of oral literatures in the world. Barbara specializes in the dual Celtic and English-language traditions of Ireland and Scotland, a reflection of the 16 years she spent living there. Her research deals with various genres of oral literature, including storytelling and song traditions. She also co-edited Child’s Children: Ballad Study and its Legacies, with Joseph Harris, a book on international ballad studies. While many of her publications deal with the oral background of medieval Celtic literatures, she is also interested in comparative approaches to oral genres such as epic song and the international folktale.
Barbara is delighted to join the vibrant community of folklorists and ethnomusicologists in Bloomington, where she teaches classes on World Storytelling, Folklore and Gender, and the History of Folklore. Beginning in Fall of 2019, she will be teaching a class titled: Fear, Anger, and the Internet, which will focus on the long life of online hate lore. This new course will be co-listed with the School of Informatics, Computer Science, and Engineering. Barbara is a valuable addition to our team, and is more than happy to offer a cup of tea to anyone who comes knocking on her door in COB 233.