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Carl Lindahl

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Carl Lindahl is a Fellow of the American Folklore Society, a Fulbright Distinguished Scholar, a Folklore Fellow of the Finnish Academy of Sciences, and an internationally recognized authority in folk narrative, medieval folklore, folktales and legends, festivals and celebrations, folklore fieldwork, traditional healing strategies, and ways in which folk cultures seek and exercise covert power. Among the folk cultures he has explored are French Americans (Cajun, Creole, and Caribbean) and the regional cultures of Texas, Appalachia, and the Ozarks

Lindahl’s Swapping Stories: Folktales from Louisiana (1997) was named the Louisiana Humanities Book of the Year by the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities. He has received the Alcée Fortier Award from the American Folklore society, and has won a University of Houston Teaching Excellence Award. Among his books are Cajun Mardi Gras Masks (1997), American Folktales from the Collections of the Library of Congress (2004), and Second Line Rescue: Improvised Responses to Katrina and Rita (2013).

He currently serves on the editorial boards of Fabula: Journal of Folktale Studies (Göttingen, Germany) and Folk Life (Belfast, Northern Ireland) as well as the advisory board of the Folklife and Traditional Arts program of Houston Arts Alliance.

In 2005 he founded Surviving Katrina and Rita in Houston [SKRH], the world's first project in which disaster survivors have taken the lead in documenting fellow survivors' experience of disaster. He continues to co-direct SKRH, which has received worldwide recognition for its role in aiding survivors overcome the traumatic effects of hurricanes. In 2014 he convened a Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Conference bringing together ethnographers, disaster survivors, and public health specialists from seven countries to strategize ways in which to help survivors draw upon their traditional knowledge to become more active agents in their own recovery. The conference culminated with the formation of the International Commission for Survivor-Centered Disaster Recovery, of which he is the founding organizer. Also in 2014 he began working with Haitians to create Sivivan pou Sivivan (Survivor to Survivor), a pilot program based on the model of SKRH, in which Haitian earthquake survivors interview one another. Lindahl is working to make Sivivan pou Sivivan a self-sustaining, entirely Haitian-run and Haitian-staffed program.


  • Ph.D., Indiana University
  • M.A., Indiana University
  • B.A., Harvard University

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Research Interests

Folk narrative, American folktale, Cajun and Appalachian folk culture, medieval folklore

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