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About Stephen Olbrys Gencarella

My research lies at the intersection of folklore studies, rhetorical studies, and performance studies. I am interested in three general issues: (1) The promotion of a critical folklore studies as an activist scholarship to examine and redress social injustice, with particular attention to the constitutive nature of expressive culture; (2) The investigation of myths of rhetoric in classical antiquity, to include voices and concepts often excluded from the rhetorical tradition; (3) The relationship between rhetorical criticism and social theory, especially to critique discourses of violence and anti-democratic behavior and to advocate democratic modes of living with others.

Working at these intersections, I often study the ways that contemporary comedic performances address, uphold, and criticize social and political anxieties. Since 2014, I have been engaged in research on the historical folklore of the Connecticut River Valley, as well as the entire state of Connecticut.

I have published in such journals as the Journal of American Folklore, Quarterly Journal of Speech, Horror Studies, Rhetoric Society Quarterly, Journal of American Culture, Critical Studies in Media Communication, Folklore, Cultural Analysis, Communication and Critical Cultural Studies, Journal of Folklore Research, and Communication Education.


Present Associate Professor - Communication, University of Massachusetts Amherst


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Contact Information

414 Machmer Hall
University of Massachusetts
Amherst, MA 01003