Jerrilyn McGregory

WMS 458
Folklore and folklife, transnational and diaspora theories, African American and multiethnic literature, cultural studies

JERRILYN McGREGORY, Professor, Ph.D. in Folklore and Folklife University of Pennsylvania, MPS in Africana Studies Cornell University, MA in English Purdue University, BA in English Illinois Wesleyan University. She specializes in African American folklore and folklife, African Diaspora Studies, and onomastics (the study of proper names).

She is the author of Wiregrass Country, a regional folklife study of the South. To supplement the general regional study, Downhome Gospel: African American Spiritual Activism in Wiregrass Country has been released by the University Press of Mississippi. It centers little known contemporary African American traditions such as the Twentieth of May (Emancipation Day); Sunday Morning Band (Burial societies), and sacred music from shape-note to contemporary gospel.

For her current research project, she has conducted fieldwork on Boxing Day in Jamaica, Bermuda, St. Croix, St. Kitts and the Bahamas. Tentatively entitled "One Grand Noise: Boxing Day in the African Diaspora," this study documents transnational cultural flows, moving beyond the festival arts. Furthermore, it locates retentions that situate the Florida Panhandle traditions within an array of observed cultural tropes found throughout the Circum-Caribbean Basin.


  • Downhome Gospel: African American Spiritual Activism in Wiregrass Country, University Press of Mississippi, 2010.
  • "Spatialized Ontologies: Toni Morrison's Science Fiction Traces in Gothic Spaces." Gothic Science Fiction: 1980-2010. Eds. Sara Wasson and Emily Alder. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2011.
  • "'The Rest Is Up to You and Me': Sunday Morning Band and Ritual Identity in the Florida Panhandle." The Florida Folklife Reader. Ed. Tina Bucuvalas. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2011.
  • "Fearless Ezekiel: Alterity in the Detective Fiction of Walter Mosley." Finding a Way Home: Critical Essays on Walter Mosley. Eds. Derek Maus and Owen Brady. Jackson; University Press of Mississippi, 2008.
  • "Playing in the Dark: Under the Big Top, the Africanist Presence." The Many Faces of Circus. Ed. Robert Sugarman. London: Cambridge Scholars Press, 2007.
  • "Nalo Hopkinson's Approach to Speculative Fiction." FEMSPEC, Vol. 6.1, 2005: 3-17.
  • "Wiregrass Country Pageant Competitions, or What's Beauty Got to Do With It?" in Miss America Pageant edited by Elwood Watson, New York: Palgrave, Aug. 2004.
  • "Livingston, Alabama Blues: The Significance of Vera Ward Hall," Tributaries, 2002.
  • "Harry Crews's Home Place: An Excursion into Wiregrass Country and the Carnivalesque," in Perspectives on Harry Crews edited by Erik Bledsoe, Jackson: UP of Mississippi, 2001.
  • Alabama: From Lullabies to Blues CD booklet for Rounder 11661-1829-2. Cambridge, MA: Rounder Records, 2001.
  • Wiregrass Country, UP of Mississippi, 1997.
  • "'May the Work I've Done Speak for Me': African American Women as Community," Usable Past, Utah State UP, 1997.
  • "The Greening of Philadelphia," Pennsylvania Folklife, 1994.
  • "An African American Celebration of Life," National Geographic, 1990.
  • "Aareck to Zsaneka: New Trends in African American Onomastics," Proceedings of the XVIth International Congress of Onomastic Science, 1987.


  • One Grand Noise: Boxing Day in the African Diaspora (book)
  • Aareck to Zsaneka: African American Naming Patterns (book)

Publications By This Author