Jess Lamar Reece Holler is an obnoxiously proud native of Columbus, Ohio. She's a 2nd-ish year graduate student in the Department of English at the University of Pennsylvania; and a Masters' student in the Department of Folk Studies & Anthropology (Public Sector-track) at Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green. She is interested in the history, rhetorics and practices of U.S. sustainable agriculture, environment and cultural conservation across the last century; and intersecting discourses of place, food and health. In her print cultural work, Jess mostly works on "print agricultures" -- popular reading and grassroots agricultural, conservation and environmental movements from 1930-1980s, with a special emphasis on the 1940s and 1950s. Her archival work is especially focused on periodicals, print ephemera, fanmail, conference programs and curriculum bulletins, with the occasional 4-H youth novel thrown in.
Her folkloristic work takes up vernacular and popular beliefscapes around ecology, agriculture, food systems and the land, their popular and mediated imaginations, and their translations into on-farm technologies. She is also interested in vernacular cultures of historic preservation and "critical nostalgias"; ethnographic approaches to historical material and the intersections between public history and public folklore practice; and folklore and politics and the history of applied folklore practice, especially as it pertains to the contemporary food justice movement. Jess is also (too naively?!) excited about bridging the worlds of folkloristic and literary studies method -- both through public humanities productions and reception studies work -- and thinking about vernacular approaches to, uses and receptions of, and performances and inflections of popular print cultural texts. She's excited about advocating for a consideration of a wider range of narrative, material and belief genres in literary studies; and about ethnographic approaches to vernacular reading communities.
Jess also works as a public-sector and applied folklorist and historian around the history of agriculture, environmentalism and conservation; and has moonlighted on arrangement and digitization projects at several archives. She is currently completing an oral history project on the Christian-Trigg Farms Project -- a Resettlement Administration agriculture community built in Christian County, Kentucky, in 1936 -- through a grant from the Kentucky Oral History Commission; and, under the guidance of Dr. Michael Ann Williams at WKU, has worked with the National Register of Historic Places to recognize the history of the same. This fall, Jess is serving as the Ohio History Connection's oral history intern for the Standing Together Veterans' History project, working with veterans in the landscape of post-9/11 service. Jess is currently also working with the Ohio History Connection in Columbus to process, arrange and digitize the papers of mid-century soil conservation organization the Friends of the Land; and she had the honor of serving as Malabar Farm State Park's first Museum and Archives Intern in Summer 2015. Other research interests include the history of folk studies, environmental history, cultural conservation, regionalism and regionalist performance, American vernacular music, radio studies, Totoros, all kinds of soup, Taylor Swift, and really good dogs. Namely Isaly Caledonia, who is the best dog. (This has been confirmed by many humans, only some of whom are my mom.)
Jess is a 2015-2016 fellow with the Penn Program in the Environmental Humanities, where all sorts of amazing stuff is frequently afoot.
This is Jess's shortest profile yet and maybe somebody will buy her ice cream now!