Publication Date


Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Dr. Michael Ann Williams (Director), Dr. Erika Brady, Dr. John Dorst, Dr. Timothy Evans

Degree Program

Department of Folk Studies and Anthropology

Degree Type

Master of Arts in Folk Studies


This work is about objects and their makers, their relationship, and the negotiation between tradition and innovation in the creation of things. I explore the relationship between tradition, innovation, and technology as it pertains to the creation, perception, and interaction with acoustic steel string guitars and ethnographies. First, I focus on the works of two Nashville based guitar makers, Grant and Cory Batson. I investigate the ways in which the Batsons critically evaluate traditional construction techniques and design features as they create their instruments, looking at their theories of tone production, methods of construction, and their perceptions and uses of various media within their guitars. Secondly, I recruit the Batsons’ theories, methods, and revisions of tradition as a metaphor to discuss the traditional ways of constructing ethnographic representations. Through this work, I argue for the craftsmanship of more responsive ethnographic things which take into account not only theoretical, but also methodological and media eclecticism.


Ethnomusicology | Folklore