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Anthropology, folklore professor Richard Bauman elected to American Academy of Arts and Sciences

Apr 26, 2021

Indiana University Bloomington faculty member Richard Bauman has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, one of the oldest and most prestigious honorary societies in the United States.

Richard Bauman
Distinguished Professor Emeritus Richard Bauman is known for his contributions to the ethnographic study of language and performance.Photo by James Brosher, Indiana University

Bauman, distinguished professor emeritus of anthropology and folklore in the College of Arts and Sciences, is known for his theoretical and methodological contributions to the ethnographic study of language and performance. His insights have led to changes in how scholars across various disciplines understand the circulation of utterances and the construction of audiences and publics.

In 2008, the Department of Anthropology started the Bauman Distinguished Lecture Series to honor speakers who inspire others through their research in communication, media and performance.

Bauman was among 252 new members elected in the 2021 class that was announced April 22. The class includes scientists, scholars, artists and leaders in the public, nonprofit and private sectors.

Also elected were two former IU Bloomington faculty members and administrators:

  • Michele Moody-Adams: Assistant professor, 1991-96; associate professor, 1996-2000; associate dean for undergraduate education in the College of Arts and Sciences, 1998-2000; currently at Columbia University.
  • Kumble Subbaswamy: Former dean of the Colleges of Arts and Sciences, 2000-2006; currently at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

“We are honoring the excellence of these individuals, celebrating what they have achieved so far and imagining what they will continue to accomplish,” academy President David Oxtoby said. “The past year has been replete with evidence of how things can get worse; this is an opportunity to illuminate the importance of art, ideas, knowledge and leadership that can make a better world.”

Founded in 1780, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences represents innovative thinkers across fields and professions, and includes more than 250 Nobel and Pulitzer Prize winners.

Bauman’s scholarly contributions cross several academic boundaries; he holds degrees in English, folklore, anthropology and American civilization. His scholarship has had an impact on the development of intersectional fields of study, including folklore, anthropology, history, linguistics, semiotics and speech communication. Bauman’s writings have been reprinted and translated, and he has lectured at scholarly institutions in Africa, Asia, Europe, the Middle East and South America.

He has served as chair of the Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology at Indiana University and has directed about 60 Ph.D. dissertations in a variety of disciplines. Bauman won the Distinguished Teaching and Mentoring Award of the University Graduate School.

His professional leadership includes serving as president of the Semiotic Society of America, the Society of Linguistic Anthropology and the Society of Fellows of the American Folklore Society. He’s also been chair of the Folklife Advisory Council of the Smithsonian Institution and editor of the Journal of American Folklore.

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