Penn State Harrisburg

Bronner publishes book on college culture and change

Campus Traditions: Folklore from the Old-Time College to the Modern Mega-University

Campus Traditions: Folklore from the Old-Time College to the Modern Mega-University

Simon Bronner, Distinguished Professor of American Studies and Folklore and chair of the American studies program at Penn State Harrisburg, recently published a comprehensive review of student traditions in college culture. In Campus Traditions: Folklore from the Old-Time College to the Modern Mega-University, Bronner’s 496-page investigation delves into issues such as hazing, cheating, drugs and alcohol abuse, sports and extreme college rivalries, and sexuality, and tracks their changes over time.

“In a society such as the United States, which has an absence of rituals to enter adulthood, campuses often take the role of providing a location for rites of passage, even though they are rarely prepared for this task,” said Bronner. College traditions are often “…a ‘veil of play’ that allow students to work through tough issues of their age, environment, and sexuality.”

Bronner, of Harrisburg, is the author or editor of more than 30 books on folklore and tradition in the formation of American history and culture, including Explaining Traditions: Folk Behavior in Modern Culture; Folk Nation: Folklore in the Creation of American Tradition; Following Tradition: Folklore in the Discourse of American Culture; Grasping Things: Folk Material Culture and Mass Society in America; and American Folklore Studies: An Intellectual History. He was also the editor of the four-volume Encyclopedia of American Folklife and now the Encyclopedia of American Studies online. He has shared his research nationally and internationally.

Bronner’s newest look into traditions’ importance to American culture, past and present, is available through the University Press of Mississippi.