Debra Lattanzi Shutika

Debra Lattanzi Shutika

Debra Lattanzi Shutika

Associate Professor

Folklore: Contemporary Irish Folklore, Sense of Place, Appalachian Studies, Transnational Migration

Debra Lattanzi Shutika is a folklorist specializing in critical race, sense of place and Appalachian studies and contemporary Irish Folklore. She is author of Beyond the Borderlands: Migration and Belonging in the United States and Mexico (2011, University of California Press) which won the 2012 Chicago Folklore Prize. She is the director of the Mason-Library of Congress Field School for Cultural Documentation. Her current research is an ethnographic study of community gardens in District of Columbia National Parks funded by the National Park Service

In 2022-23 she completed a research and teaching Fulbright award in Ireland where she completed a folklore collection in the Gaeltacht (Irish speaking) communities of Achill and Erris exploring women’s traditional agricultural practices. 

She teaches classes in folklore, ethnographic field documentation, Appalachian studies, Irish folklore and culture, digital storytelling, and sense of place.

Current Research

Folklore and women's traditional agricultural practices in County Mayo's Gaeltacht communities.

Selected Publications

Beyond the Borderlands: Migration and Belonging in the United States and Mexico. University of California Press, 2011. Chicago Folklore Prize winner, 2012.

“The Folklorist as Department Chair” in What Folklorists Do. Timothy Lloyd, ed. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2021

“The Mason Idea: Folklore for the 21st Century” In Folklore in the United States and Canada: An Institutional History. Rosemary Zumwalt & Patricia Sawin, eds. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2021

“Disrupting Folklore”  in Advancing Folkloristics. Jesse Fivecoat, Kristina Downs and Meredith McGriff, eds. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2021.

“The Folklore Detective: Forensic Narrative Analysis” Ethnologies special issue, Crime and Folklore Volume 41, Issue 1, 2019, p. 121–152 .


“Mala Suerte” (fiction, 4000 words). Diamonds, Denim and Death: Bouchercon Anthology 2019, ed. Rick Ollerman, Down and Out Books, 2019

“Frozen Iguana” (fiction, 4000 words) Florida Happens: Tales of Mystery, Mayhem, and Suspense from the Sunshine State. Bouchercon 2018 Anthology. Ed. Greg Herren. Three Rooms Press, 2018.

“Mirrors” (fiction, 1500 words) Abundant Grace: Fiction by Washington Area Women. 7th Edition. Richard Peabody, ed. Paycock Press, 2016.

Grants and Fellowships

Fulbright Scholar, Ireland 2022-2023

Community Gardens in DC National Parks, 2022-2025

Summer in the Parks: National Park Service, 2018-19

Courses Taught

ENGH 412: Digital Storytelling

ENGH 591/417: Field School for Cultural Documentation

ENGH 301: Fields of English

ENGH 591/417: Bodylore

ENGH 591/417: Appalachian Folklore

ENGH 315: Folklore and Folklife

ENGH 316: Topics in Myth and Literature: Changelings and Fairies

ENGH 484: Writing Ethnography

ENGH 681: Sense of Place

ENGH 681: Pathways to Folklore Scholarship

ENGH 412: Latin American Folklore

In the Media

Strange Arrivals Podcast

Dissertations Supervised

Noel Lopez, Young Patriots: Vanguard of the Dispossessed (2020)

Matthew Malzkuhn, Preservation, Revitalization, and Validity of Home Movies: Deaf Folklife Films as a Case Study (2019)

Young A. Jung, Emplacing Parenting: Migration and Belonging among Korean Gireogi Families (2014)

Jason Morris, Local Renewable Energy Actions in the Washington D.C. Region: Political Economy, Place, Policy and Culture (2014)