Roger Abrahams retired in 2002 as the Rosen Professor of Humanities. He received his Ph.D. in English from the University of Pennsylvania in 1961 and taught for many years at the University of Texas and the Claremont Colleges before returning to Penn in 1985. He was the author of a book on African-American men's poetry, Deep Down in the Jungle. He helped to create the field of modern folklore study, specifically the performance-theory style of research, which moved to study folklore not as isolated texts but as expressive events. In 2005, Abrahams was awarded the Kenneth Goldstein Award for Lifetime Academic Leadership by the American Folklore Society.