Associate Professor of English and Comparative Folklore
jonathan.roper [ät] ut.ee
+372 737 5304
BA, Keele; MA, Sheffield; PhD, Sheffield
My academic research to date has mainly focused on traditional linguistic genres such as verbal charms and riddles. My interest encompasses both texts and practice, i.e. charms and charming, riddles and riddling, as well as the people involved, the charmers and the charmed, the riddlers and the riddlees. I have organised international conferences on the topic, and established an organisation within the International Society for Folk Narrative Research to encourage and co-ordinate charms research.
Another area of fascination is that of the historical and present-day dialects of south-east and central southern England and of the far east of Canada (Newfoundland, Labrador, the lower North Shore of Quebec). I have conducted fieldwork in the latter areas between 1999 and 2006 under the auspices of the Institute for Folk Studies in Britain and Canada.
As well as the written word, I am increasingly interested in ethnographic film as a research medium. This has led to the production of three films, one on mumming, the other on fortune-telling, and one ’portrait’ of a traditional singer.
I am a member of the International Society for Folk Narrative Research (ISNFR) and I chair their committee on Charms, Charmers and Charming. I serve on the Editorial Board of Commentationes Archivi Traditionum Popularium Estoniae, and am an associate member of the Folklore Fellows. I am Recorder for Folklore and Dialect for the Devonshire Association, and also a partner in the Nord-Plus Folklore-Philology Network 'The Encounter with the Other World – Supernatural and Fantastic in Pre-modern Scandinavia'.
- Dictionaries as Sources of Folklore Data [editor and contributor] (Helsinki: Academia Scientiarum Fennica, 2020) (FFC 321).
- Alliteration and Culture [editor and contributor] (London: Palgrave, 2011).
- English Verbal Charms (Helsinki: Academia Scientiarum Fennica, 2005) (FFC 288).
- Charms, Charmers and Charming [editor and contributor] (London: Palgrave, 2008).
- Charms and Charming in Europe [editor and contributor] (London: Palgrave, 2004).
- 'The Ad Hoc Calendarized'. Western Folklore. 2015. 74,2.
- 'Sternberg, the Second Folklorist'. Folklore. 2014. 125,2: 202-217.
- ‘England – the land without folklore?’ 227-253 in Baycroft, Timothy and David Hopkin, eds. 2012. Folklore and Nationalism in Europe During the Long Nineteenth Century. Leiden: Brill.