Research Unplugged to explore college traditions as rites of passage

November 05, 2012

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Research Unplugged continues its line-up of lively community discussions with a presentation on Nov. 8 by Simon Bronner, who will discuss "Campus Traditions: Folklore from the Old-Time College to the Modern University."

Bronner, Distinguished Professor of American Studies and Folklore and chair of the American Studies program at Penn State Harrisburg, is the author or editor of more than 30 books on American folklore and tradition.

His recent book, Campus Traditions: Folklore from the Old-Time College to the Modern Mega-University, examines student traditions in college culture, including hazing, cheating, drugs and alcohol abuse, sports and extreme college rivalries, and sexuality, and tracks their changes over time.

"In a society such as the United States, which has an absence of rituals to enter adulthood, campuses often take the role of providing a location for rites of passage, even though they are rarely prepared for this task," Bronner said. He added that college traditions are often a way for students "to work through tough issues of their age, environment and sexuality."

Research Unplugged events are held each Thursday from 12:15 to 1:15 p.m. in the Downsbrough Community Room of Schlow Centre Region Library, on Allen Street in downtown State College.

The programs are free and open to the public, with complimentary light refreshments available, and limited free parking at Schlow Library starting at 11:45 a.m.

Visit to see a complete list of this season's speakers and topics.

  • IMAGE: Penn State

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated November 12, 2012