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Mershon Center for International Security Studies

Mershon Center for International Security Studies

Amy Shuman

Mershon affiliate Amy Shuman, professor in the Department of English, was one of five faculty members to recieve a 2015 Distinguished Scholar Award from The Ohio State University.  The official announcement was made May 15.  

Shuman was recognized as one of the preeminent scholars in folklore studies, as well as in the fields of narrative studies, literacy studies and human rights studies.  Among the world’s top scholars in narratology, she is a pioneer in the study of the uses of narrative in everyday life and political asylum process.

Her co-authored book, Rejecting Refugees: Political Asylum in the 21st Century, considers the use of personal stories of suffering and trauma in the political asylum process and proposes a model for the role of narrative in advancing human rights.  Shuman's research for this book was supported with a grant from the Mershon Center.

Shuman's first book, Storytelling Rights: The Uses of Oral and Written Texts by Urban Adolescents, examined the uses of writing and speaking by inner-city African American and Puerto Rican American adolescents when studies of narrative were only just emerging. Her second book, Other People’s Stories: Entitlement Claims and the Critique of Empathy, further developed theories of the uses of narrative in everyday life, especially the question of who tells stories to whom, how stories travel and how they are used in public discourse.

"I am constantly humbled by the depth of Dr. Shuman’s work, the theoretical import of each and every one of her publications, her openness and kindness to students and other scholars and her ability to continually turn paradigms on their head, blazing new trails but always with regard for those who went before," one nominator wrote.

Another stated, “I know of no other folklore scholar writing today whose work can claim the interdisciplinary reach or the demonstrable, positive social effect that Professor Shuman’s books and works have attained.”

Last year, Shuman won a Distinguished Diversity Enhancement Award from Ohio State. 

Shuman is a Fellow of the American Folklore Society and the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship. Besides her three books, she published more than 40 articles in the most prestigious journals in her field. She has delivered more than 100 national and international keynote addresses and conference presentations.

Shuman received her B.A. from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and her M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania. She joined Ohio State in 1981.