Elijah Gaddis (2017), is an historian of the spatial, material, and cultural history of the South. Currently an assistant professor of history at Auburn University, Elijah teaches courses in public history, digital humanities, and African American history. You can reach him at
Josh Parshall (2017) is interested in American Jewish identity, with an emphasis on the American South. His current research focuses on the activities of the Southern District of the Workmen’s Circle during the first half of the twentieth century. Previously, Josh worked as an oral historian in Jewish communities throughout the region. He holds a B.A. in American studies from the University of Kansas and a M.A. in folklore from UNC.



Victor Bouvéron (2017) is a blues enthusiast arriving from Lille, France. He received a B.A in History (2007) and a Master’s in Communications (2009) at the University of Lille 3, France. After graduating, he worked for over five years at the city hall of Villeneuve d’Ascq (France) as the internal communication manager. Victor hosted the weekly blues program “Bluesland” from 2005 to 2015 on Radio Campus Lille and taught classical guitar. He published many articles for various publications, such as L’Express du Pacifique (a newspaper formerly published in British-Columbia, Canada), La Tribune (Villeneuve d’Ascq municipal paper), and Blues Magazine. He’s interested in the history of the blues in France and its current scene.
Rachel Garringer (2017) was raised on a sheep farm in southeastern West Virginia. She received a B.A. from Hampshire College in 2007. Since then she has worked as a youth advocate and educator in transitional living shelters, GED classrooms, and rural public schools. In 2013 she founded Country Queers, an ongoing multimedia oral history project documenting the diverse experiences of rural and small town LGBTQI folks in the United States. Her interests are in public folklore, oral history, digital humanities, and rural queer experiences. She is excited to use her time at UNC to transition Country Queers into a more collaborative, accountable, community based project.
Emily Ridder-Beardsley (2017) grew up splitting time between Washington, DC and rural Rappahannock, Virginia. In 2008, she graduated from Sarah Lawrence College with a Liberal Arts degree focused on Art History, concentrating on the Tribal Arts of Africa, Oceania, and The Americas. She worked for several years following graduation in New York City for institutions including the American Museum of Natural History, The Metropolitan Museum of Art and PBS New York. Emily has most recently been working as a curator at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal, Virginia and as a curatorial assistant for Jane Livingston, a freelance curator based in Flint Hill, Virginia. Her work with Ms. Livingston will produce an exhibition focusing on the works of four early African American photographers, including Addison Scurlock, James Van Der Zee, P.H. Polk and L.O. Taylor. She is continuing work on this project as she pursues an M.A. in Folklore and hopes to apply what she learns from the program to similar projects in the future.
Zoe van Buren (2017) grew up in New York City and received her B.A. with honors in Anthropology from Vassar College in 2013. She is interested in public folklore, race and religious experience, material culture, and occupational folklife in the face of gentrification. As an undergraduate, she was active in the Vassar Prison Initiative, did research on African American old-time string bands and local step teams, and worked with Arts Mid Hudson in Poughkeepsie, NY. Since graduating, she has worked with the New Bedford Working Waterfront Festival and Fishing Heritage Center in New Bedford, MA, and the North Carolina Arts Council, where she was the Folklife Intern before beginning at UNC. Folklore helps her to see resilience and beauty in communities big and small. Her other love is wool, and she is a hard-core knitter and hand-spinner.