Jerrilyn McGregory, a professor of English at Florida State University, recently received the 2022 Chicago Folklore Prize, which is presented by the American Folklore Society to the author of the best book-length work of folklore scholarship for the year. The award, first presented in 1904, is the oldest international award recognizing excellence in folklore scholarship.
Professor McGregory was honored for her book One Grand Noise: Boxing Day in the Anglicized Caribbean World (University Press of Mississippi, 2021).
Most people know Boxing Day as a British holiday celebrated annually on December 26. However, Boxing Day arguably holds its greatest significance in the Anglicized Caribbean world, or ACW, which encompasses the Bahamas, Belize, Bermuda, St. Croix, and St. Kitts. ACW Boxing Day traditions vary from region to region, but they usually involve parades and gatherings where people wear ornate traditional festival clothing, dance, and create music. One Grand Noise chronicles ACW Boxing Day festival and performative events that have been under-documented and places them in historical context. Professor McGregory’s book centers itself around investigating and exploring what celebrating traditions rooted in past colonization mean to people living in formerly colonized, now independent, places.
“This publication constitutes the first comprehensive monograph about Boxing Day from its inception into the 21st century,” Professor McGregory said. “Many consider globalization to be a process of homogenization or Americanization by which the world becomes increasingly uniform, but this study speaks to transnational cultural flows among Caribbean isles.”
Dr. McGregory joined the faculty at Florida State University in 1993. She is a graduate of Illinois Wesleyan University, where she majored in English. She earned a master’s degree in English at Purdue University, a master’s degree in Africana studies from Cornell University, and a Ph.D. in folklore and folklife from the University of Pennsylvania.