Michael Owen Jones

Michael Owen Jones

Professor Emeritus


Michael Owen Jones was a founding member of World Arts & Cultures in 1973. He has conducted fieldwork in Western Canada and the Maritimes as well as Appalachia, the Great Plains, and Southern California. An author of some 230 works, he is also general editor of the Folk Art and Artists Series, University Press of Mississippi, which has published 22 volumes. He has received funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Skaggs Foundation, Canadian Museum of Civilization, National Institutes of Health, and other agencies. He is former president of the California Folklore Society and former member of the American Folklore Society Executive Board as well as the California Council for the Humanities, and recently elected as president of the American Folklore Society. He is a Woodrow Wilson Fellow as well as a Fellow of the (link: https://www.afsnet.org/ text: American Folklore Society), the Finnish Academy of Sciences and Letters, and the Society for Applied Anthropology. He has been a professor of folklore at UCLA since 1968. Ph.D., Folklore and American Studies, Indiana University; M.A., Folklore, Indiana University; B.A., History, Art and International Relations, University of Kansas.

Among his publications are Why Faith Healing? (1972); The Hand Made Object and Its Maker (1975); People Studying People: The Human Element in Field Work (1980; co-authored); Foodways and Eating Habits (1981; co-edited); The World of the Kalevala (1987; edited); Exploring Folk Art (1987; reprinted 1991); Inside Organizations (1988; co-edited); Craftsman of the Cumberlands (1989); Putting Folklore to Use (1994; edited); Folkloristics: An Introduction (1995; co-authored); and Studying Organizational Symbolism (1996).

His current research focuses on African American storefront churches in Los Angeles and on Latino folk medicine in L.A. (funded by National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine).


Culture and Performance (Folklore, Visual Arts, Folk Medicine, and Film and Folklore).

Creative Practice & Research

Research interests include folk art and aesthetics, folk medicine, vernacular religion, food customs and symbolism, applied folklore, folklore film and photography, occupational traditions, and organizational culture and symbolism.