Dorothy Noyes

Dorothy Noyes

Dorothy Noyes

Professor of English and Comparative Studies

105L Mershon Center
1501 Neil Ave.
Columbus, OH 43201

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  • Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania, Department of Folklore and Folklife (1992)
  • M.A., University of Pennsylvania, Department of Folklore and Folklife (1987)
  • B.A., Indiana University, Department of English (1983)


Dorothy Noyes is Professor of Folklore at The Ohio State University with a joint appointment between the Departments of English and Comparative Studies and courtesy appointments in Anthropology, French and Italian, and Germanic Languages and Literatures; she also teaches in the Program in International Studies. She is a research associate at the Mershon Center for International Security Studies and directed the Center for Folklore Studies from 2005 to 2014. In 2019-20 she is serving as Humanities Faculty Fellow for the Methods and Practices Amplifier of the Global Arts+Humanities Discovery Theme.

Noyes studies political ritual and the traditional public sphere in Europe; she also writes on folklore theory and on the international policy careers of culture concepts. She is the author of Fire in the Plaça: Catalan Festival Politics After Franco (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2003); Humble Theory: Folklore’s Grasp on Social Life (Indiana University Press, 2016); and Sustaining Interdisciplinary Collaboration: A Guide for the Academy, with Regina F. Bendix and Kilian Bizer (University of Illinois Press, 2017). Her current book project is Exemplary Failures: Gesture and Pedagogy in Liberal Politics.

Elected fellow of the American Folklore Society in 2005, Noyes is currently serving a two-year term as AFS president. She spent six years on the executive board of the Société Internationale d'Ethnologie et de Folklore, and has lectured or taught in more than twenty countries. In 2019 she was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Tartu, Estonia. Her interdisciplinary projects have included a six-year stint as fellow of the Göttingen Interdisciplinary Working Group on Cultural Property. Among her courses are American Regional Cultures in Transition, Cultures of Waste and Recycling, Cultural Diplomacy, and Poetry and Politics in the 20th Century Mediterranean.

Faculty Links

Curriculum Vitae (pdf)
Publications (pdf)
Department of English page
Comparative Studies page
Center for Folklore Studies page

Media Links

Mershon Center: Noyes receives honorary doctorate from University of Tartu (2019)
Mershon Center: Do folklore and security studies mix? Mershon affiliate says yes (2017)
Center for Folklore Studies: Congratulations to Dr. Noyes on her recent book (2017)
Center for Folklore Studies: Noyes elected president of American Folklore Society (2017)

Mershon Projects

Exemplary Failures: Gesture and Pedagogy in Liberal Politics (2017-18)
Sustainable Pluralism: Linguistic and Cultural Resilience in Multiethnic Societies, with Brian Joseph (2014-15)
Tales of Trickery, Tales of Endurance: Gender, Performance, and Politics in the Islamic World and Beyond, with Margaret Mills (2011-12)
Making Sense in Afghanistan: Interaction and Uncertainty in International Interventions, with Margaret Mills (2009-10)
The Race in Culture: Ethnology and Empire in the Long Twentieth Century, with Alice Conklin (2008-09)
Culture Archives and the State: Between Socialism, Nationalism and the Global Market, with Margaret Mills (2006-07)
Convivencia: Performance, Public Space, and Democratization in Plural Societies (1999-2002)