Folklore Program Awards Inaugural Margaret R. Yocom Prize

Folklore Program Awards Inaugural Margaret R. Yocom Prize

The folklore studies program awarded the inaugural Margaret R. Yocom Prize to Timothy “Teo” Rogers at the English department awards ceremony on May 8. The Yocom Prize honors the best paper written about folklore by a George Mason University student during the previous calendar year. The prize is named after Margaret R. Yocom, Associate Professor Emerita and founder of Mason’s folklore studies program.

This year’s submissions demonstrated the wide-ranging work of folklore students at Mason. The committee unanimously agreed to award Rogers the prize for his paper, “Claiming the Witch’s Cave: Basque Identity through the Legends of Barandiarán.” Rogers’ paper was a well-researched exploration of Basque legendry as represented in the work of an early important collector of Basque folklore. The paper was distinguished in its nuanced treatment of the role of supernatural narratives in the development of Basque regional identity and nationalism. Rogers is a first-year student in Mason’s MAIS program in folklore studies.

The prize committee awarded junior English major, Ashleigh Houff, an honorable mention for her paper, “Immortalizing a Feeling: How Taxidermy Speaks in a Virginia Hunting Community.” Houff’s paper recorded the experiences of her uncle, Mike Rexrode, as a master taxidermist in Appalachian Virginia.

Prof. Yocom traveled from Maine to attend the ceremony and awarded certificates to the prize winners. The folklore faculty is grateful for Prof. Yocom’s generous financial support that made this year’s prize possible.