Home Search Index A-Z Contact Us Portal
News About Us Academics Student Life Library Research Athletics
University of Louisiana at Lafayette English Department
Prospective Students
Current Students
Alumni, Donors & Friends
Faculty & Staff
Go to our new site at louisiana.edu
Home | About Us | Degree Programs | Concentrations | Faculty & Staff | Students
John Laudun, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of English
Research Fellow, The Center for Cultural and Eco-Tourism
Ph.D., Indiana University, 1999
P.O. Box 44691
Lafayette LA 70504
Griffin 356
Phone: 337-482-5493
E-mail: laudun at louisiana dot edu
Teaching and Research Areas
Folklore and folklife studies; creativity studies; documentary studies (texts, photography, audio, video).
John Laudun received his MA in literary studies from Syracuse University in 1989 and his PhD in folklore studies from the Folklore Institute at Indiana University in 1999. He was a Jacob K. Javits Fellow while at Syracuse and Indiana (1987-1992), and a MacArthur Scholar at the Indiana Center for Global Change and World Peace (1993-94). He has written grants that have been funded by the Grammy Foundation and the Louisiana Board of Regents, and been a fellow with the EVIA Digital Archive. While he is completing work on a book, The Makers of Things, that is a result of a longitudinal ethnographic study of material culture, he maintains an active publication record in the study of narrative and digital humanities.
Current Research
The Makers of Things is the first book-length study of Louisiana material culture. The origins of the project lie in the wake of the 2005 hurricanes that led to a national debate about the nature of land in Louisiana and what it meant to re-build an American city. Laudun decided to investigate how the residents of the southern part of the state actually imagine the landscape on which they live and work, and what he found was an amazing series of adaptations and innovations, the most iconic of which is the crawfish boat, an amphibious vehicle invented by a diffuse network of Cajun and German fabricators and farmers in the late seventies and early eighties and which continues to be built and refined in the present.

Laudun's primary interest in the crawfish boat and the landscape on which it work is the human minds that lie behind it and whose imaginations are manifested in and through it. He continues to investigate folk narrative for much the same reason, and his most recent presentations have focused on local legends about treasure in an attempt to consider the relationship between the network of ideas that the corpus of tales contain and the way individual stories unfold a particular set of ideas. In this work, he hopes to find a way to develop a morphological approach that both respects the integrity of individual texts but also makes it possible to address larger collections of texts in order to examine the intersections between the form of the text, genre, and its possible effects on tradition bearers.

Recent Publications
2013. Computing Folklore Studies: Mapping over a Century of Scholarly Production through Topics. Journal of American Folklore 126(502):455–475.

2012. "Talking Shit" in Rayne: How Aesthetic Features Reveal Ethical Structures. Journal of American Folklore 125(497):304–326.

2011. A Constellation of Stars: The Study of Creativity on a Human Scale, or How a Bunch of Cajun and German Farmers and Fabricators in Louisiana Invented a Traditional Amphibious Boat. In The Individual in Tradition. Eds. Ray Cashman, Tom Mould, Pravina Shukla. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press.
Courses Taught
ENGL 115: Freshman Honors Academic Writing ENGL 332: Introduction to Folklore ENGL 335: Louisiana Folklore ENGL 365: Technical Writing ENGL 482: Stories and Storytelling ENGL 531: Folklore in Culture: Narrative Studies ENGL 632: Proseminar in Folklore Theory
Recent Presentations
2013. Understanding Larger Histories through Smaller Legends. International Forum for Kunlun Culture (Golmud, Qinghai, China).

2013. Locating Louisiana Legends: Tallying Treasure Tales. International Society for Contemporary Legend Research (Lexington, Kentucky).

2012. Pulling Up Holes, Pulling Down Hills: How People Who Actually Work the Land Understand the Landscape on Which They Work. American Folklore Society (New Orleans, Louisiana).

2011. A History of Folk Invention. Society for the History of Technology (Cleveland, Ohio).

2011. Visualizing a Paradigm Shift: The Turn Towards Performance as a Network Phenomenon. American Folklore Society (Bloomington, Indiana).
Selected Media Appearances
2013. "Louisiana’s Melting Pot." The Sunday Advertiser (July 7): 1A, 8A-9A.

2012. "A Living, Breathing Dish." The Daily Advertiser (September 26).

2008. Louisiana Story: The Reverse Angle. Louisiana Public Broadcasting.

2008. "Friday is Gumbo Day in New Orleans," Philadelphia Inquirer (February 6).

2008. A History of Gumbo. The Southern Gumbo Trail. Southern Foodways Project, University of Mississippi. (http://www.southerngumbotrail.com/laudun.shtml)

2004. "At Home with a Master," La Louisiane (Autumn): 22-25.

2004. "Roasting a Pig Inside an Enigma," New York Times (January 7).


Document last revised Thursday, September 26, 2013 4:57 PM

Copyright 2003 by the University of Louisiana at Lafayette
Department of English · P.O. Box 44691, Lafayette LA 70504
Griffin Hall, Room 221 · english@louisiana.edu · 337/482-6908