Butler University Anthropology Professor Dr. Tom Mould has received the 2021 Chicago Folklore Prize, the American Folklore Society announced last week. Awarded for the year’s best book of folklore scholarship, the honor recognizes Mould’s latest book, Overthrowing the Queen: Telling Stories of Welfare in America.

“I am incredibly honored to receive this award,” Mould says. “This was a collaborative effort among community partners, students, aid providers, and most of all aid recipients, who were invaluable at every stage of the process. I share this award with all of them.”

Published in 2020, Overthrowing the Queen examines commonly-held stereotypes about welfare recipients in the United States, highlighting the stories of real people to demonstrate how much reality can differ from the narratives that often inform public policy. 

“My hope is that this book will help reshape not only the conversations happening at the policy level, but also the casual conversations we have with co-workers, family, and friends where we too often and with too little thought repeat damaging, stereotypical stories about people struggling to make ends meet,” Mould says. “We need to question those stories. This book offers overwhelming evidence that the antidote begins by listening to the stories of the men and women who have to balance the brutal stigma of welfare with doing what’s right for their families to survive.”

The Chicago Folklore Prize, offered jointly by the American Folklore Society and the University of Chicago, is the oldest international award recognizing excellence in folklore scholarship. This is the second international book award Overthrowing the Queen has received: Earlier this year, it won the Brian McConnell Book Award for the best book of legend scholarship.

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