Dr Thomas McKean

Dr Thomas McKean
PhD, University of Edinburgh (1993); AB, Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH (1983)

Lecturer

Overview
Dr Thomas McKean
Dr Thomas McKean

Contact Details

Telephone
work +44 (0)1224 273882
work +44 (0)1224 272996
Fax
fax +44(0)1224 272728
Email
Address
The University of Aberdeen The Elphinstone Institute MacRobert Building King's College Aberdeen AB24 5UA

Biography

I am a folklorist specializing in Scots and Gaelic song, along with custom and belief, and fieldwork methodology. Of particular interest is the relationship of traditional practices to the individual, the role of creativity in tradition, and in how singers acquire and adapt new and old material to their own circumstances.

As part of the James Madison Carpenter Project team, I have been working with cylinder and disc recordings of North-East singers made between 1929 and 1935, leading towards publication of a critical edition of the collection. The project has been funded by the British Academy and the National Endowment for the Humanities under the auspices of the American Folklore Society, and in association with the Library of Congress, Washington, DC (www.abdn.ac.uk/elphinstone/carpenter).

My postgraduate teaching includes Custom and Belief, Scots and Gaelic Song, along with Fieldwork and Archiving methodology. I have organized a number of conferences, including the 1999 and 2007 Kommission für Volksdichtung ballad conference.

In 1993, I established the North East Folklore Archive at Mintlaw, Aberdeenshire as part of my work as Traditional Music Resident for Banff and Buchan District Council (now Aberdeeenshire), 1993-1996. The archive has continued to develop under the direction of Gavin Sutherland and much of my fieldwork material is now available on the web at the Banff and Buchan Collection.

Research

Current Research

Current research includes:

  • Scotland's fire festivals, particularly the burning of the Clavie in Burghead, Moray;
  • creativity within traditional forms
  • New England vernacular architecture;
  • the effects of field collection in the North East;
  • macaronic song traditions;
  • the relationship of memory and song in west coast Gaelic communities. 
Publications

Publications 

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  • Hip-Hop Ballads Made Anew on the Streets of Aberdeen

    McKean, T.

    Street Music and Narrative Traditions. Sergio, B., Luisa, D. G., Thomas A., M. (eds.). Museo Pasqualino, pp. 227-244, 18 pages

    Chapters in Books, Reports and Conference Proceedings: Chapters

  • Street Music and Narrative Traditions

    McKean, T., Del Giudice, L. (ed.)

    Museo Internazionale delle Marionette, Palermo, Italy. 200 pages

    Books and Reports: Books

  • That Night in Caperquin: The Agency of Memory in 'The Lass of Roch Royal'

    McKean, T.

    Contributions to Conferences: Papers

  • Building Boats, Building Social Resilience

    McKean, T.

    Contributions to Conferences: Papers

  • Oil Wives

    McKean, T.

    Contributions to Conferences: Papers

  • Old Hands + New Hands + Healthy Minds = Happy Men

    McKean, T.

    Contributions to Conferences: Papers

  • Singing Families of Aberdeenshire: Context, Structure and Meaning

    McKean, T. A.

    Ritsumeikan Studies in Language and Culture, vol. 28, no. 1, pp. 59-78

    Contributions to Journals: Articles

  • Born in a Bow Tent: An Ambiguous Symbol of Scottish Traveller Identity

    McKean, T.

    Contributions to Conferences: Papers

  • Stories beyond the Text: Contextualizing Narratives and 'The Jolly Beggar'

    McKean, T. A.

    Narrative Cultures, vol. 2, no. 2, pp. 208-226)

    Contributions to Journals: Articles

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