Jared Rife
Jared Rife
Image: Penn State

Rife wins international folklore award

Jared S. Rife, lecturer and Ph.D. candidate in American studies at Penn State Harrisburg, received the 2012 William Wells Newell Prize at the American Folklore Society’s annual meeting in New Orleans for his paper on children's folklore. Rife’s article, "Playing with the Sacred: LDS Children's Games for Boredom and Entertainment," also was published in the annual “Children’s Folklore Review.”

The third consecutive Penn State Harrisburg student to win the international award, Rife, of West Hanover Township, based his research on sacred qualities and children's play during church services of Mormons, mainly, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS).

"Jared's inquiry into cultural expectations of children's behavior in the Mormon church gives insight into the values and goals of religion as a social experience," said Distinguished Professor of American Studies and Folklore Simon Bronner.

With more than 2,200 members, the American Folklore Society studies and conveys knowledge about folklore throughout the world. Annually, the society’s Children’s Folklore section awards the W. W. Newell Prize, named after the society’s founder, by selecting the best student essay on children's folklore from among numerous entries.