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Maria Kennedy is an Instructor of Folklore in the Department of American Studies at Rutgers University and is the Administrative Director of the New Jersey Folk Festival.
Maria received her PhD from Indiana University’s Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology in 2017. Her dissertation, “Finding Lost Fruit: The Cider Poetic, Orchard Conservation, and Craft Cider Making in Britain” examined the interplay of cultural heritage and environmental conservation in rural Britain. She continues her ethnographic research on the craft cider revival in North America, with interests in the adaptation of agricultural traditions to contemporary issues of conservation and economic development in rural America.
Dr. Kennedy studies the theory and practice of public folklore and humanities, their genres of representation, and their institutions, with a focus on performance theory, festival genres, and anthropology of media. She has worked as the Folk Arts Coordinator at The ARTS Council of the Southern Finger Lakes, where she directed the Old Time Fiddlers Gathering and Folk Arts Festival and curated exhibits on Jewish foodways and African American history, as well as programs on agricultural heritage and Finnish American music. She has also worked at Traditional Arts Indiana and WJFF Radio Catskill, and has thoroughly enjoyed research, employment, and fieldwork at wineries, vineyards, and orchards.