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             Guest For TUESDAY FEBRUARY 15 2005                   

                                                 ERIC  MILLER

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                       FOLKLORIST / STORYTELLER

                             VIDEO CONFERENCING ARTIST






Eric Miller
Ph.D. candidate
Graduate Program in Folklore and Folklife
University of Pennsylvania
e-mail:   emiller@sas.upenn.edu
website:  http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/~emiller

Folklore Program
Logan Hall (3rd floor)
249 South 36th St.
Philadelphia, PA  19104      USA

853 Seventh Ave. (Apt. 12-B)
New York, NY  10019      USA


To continue doctoral fieldwork in Tamil Nadu, India, through October 2004.


To help develop the New York City and International Storytelling Institute.


  • Face-to-face storytelling (oral narrative): in conversation, performance, ritual, and other contexts.
  • Storytellers' visual accompaniments.
  • Narrative as presented through various communication technologies.
  • The history and nature of communication technologies (oral, literary, and electronic).
  • Videoconferencing (video-mediated communication): sociological, regulatory, and design issues.
  • Educational uses of technology.
  • Language instruction methodology.
  • Tamil Nadu, south India.



    To, as designer, consultant, and writer, help develop videoconferencing and interactive TV.  To provide people at cafes, nightclubs, and elsewhere with videoconferenced performance and instruction by traditional storytellers from their home locales.


    Currently a Ph.D. candidate, Graduate Program in Folklore and Folklife, University of Pennsylvania.  My dissertation will compare how various types of South Indian storytelling are performed:
    1) face-to-face (in wilderness, villages, and cities),
    2) on state radio and TV, and
    3) via videoconferencing.

    M.A., ’96.  Gallatin School, New York University.
    Self-designed program:  “Face-to-Face Storytelling and Electronic Communication.”  My thesis, “Storytelling Accompanied by Visuals: Then and Now,” surveyed types of visual accompaniments used by face-to-face storytellers and argued that this family can include electronic visual imagery on a large screen.

    B.A., ’84.  Gallatin School, New York University.
    (Swarthmore College, ’75 - ’77; Oberlin College, ’78 - ’80.)  Area of Concentration: Cultural History of Western Civilization.

    Stuyvesant High School, NYC.  ’71 - ’75.


    Ph.D. candidate, Folklore, University of Pennsylvania.
    Relevant courses include:  Ways of Speaking, Performance of Epic (directed reading), Festival/Pageant/Parade, African Folklore, Chinese Folk Performance, Korean Shamanism, Communicating Memory, Media Ritual, Pubic Space, Fieldwork.

    M.A., Gallatin School, NYU
    Relevant courses include:  Ethnographic and Historical Approaches to Storytelling and Training in Storytelling (independent studies) with Laura Simms and Diane Wolkstein; The Social Movement as Performance (Dept. of Performance Studies); Social Issues in Telecommunications (Interactive Telecommunication Program).

    M. A. fieldwork in Tamil Nadu, south India (7/88 - 7/89, 1/90 - 11/90): Studied traditional storytelling techniques in folk and orthodox genres; videotaped performances.  Conducted a cross-media study of the Epic of the Anklet,a central epic of the Tamil people; collected data in the course of a 220-mile walk in the footsteps of Kannagi, the heroine of the story, and visited Muthuvan tribal people in Nilgiri Mountain wilderness (Muthuvans believe that their tribe was founded by Kannagi approx. 1600 years ago).  Rudimentary Tamil language conversational
    and literary ability.

    B.A., Gallatin School, NYU (and Swarthmore and Oberlin Colleges):
    Relevant courses include:  Torah, Hebrew Scripture, New Testament, History of Greece, History of Rome, Ancient Philosophy, Greek Tragedy (in translation), [Shakespeare 1590-1600], The Tempest, Play and Games in Shakespeare’s Plays (independent study),  [Folk Tale, Myth, and Legend], Theories of the Image, Images of the Family, Russian Novels (in translation), James Joyce’ Ulysses, Community and Social Life, Introduction to Teaching, Introduction to Linguistics, and Renaissance to Postmodern Art.


    New York University, School of Continuing and Professional Studies.
    Instructor.  Spring ’02.  Course: Storytelling.

    Fordham University, English Dept., Lincoln Center campus.
    Adjunct Assistant Professor, Fall ’01 - Spring '02.  Courses: Basic Writing, Composition and Rhetoric, Introduction to Literature.

    St. John's University, Division of Humanities, Staten Island campus.
    Adjunct Assistant Professor, Fall ’96 - Summer ’98.  Courses: Expository Writing (twice), Writing About Literature (twice), The Modern Short Story (twice), American Drama, The Folk Tale (independent study), Introduction to Speech Communication.

    University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia:
    Spring ’99: WATU (Writing Across the University) teaching assistant, for Prof. Roger Abrahams, Folklore of the African Diaspora.

    Fall ’98: WATU teaching assistant, for Prof. Franklin Southworth, Male-Female Communication, East and West.


    University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia:
    Fall ’99 - Spring ’01: Research assistant to Prof. Roger Abrahams, director,
    Center for Folklore and Ethnography.
    Fall ’98 - Spring ’01: Assistant to Jay Treat, director, Instructional Computing, School of Arts and Sciences.


    Co-president/founder, Eric & Co. Video.  ’83 - present.
    Documentation of performances and production of multimedia events.  Offering video projection and videoconferencing, with multiple electronic painting and typing devices, and fonts in various languages.  Clients include the Jewish Theological Seminary, Rod Rogers Dance Co., NY Theatre of the Deaf, and the Pan-Asian Repertory Theatre (NYC).  One service offered by Eric & Co. is  the “Video-Projection Dance Party” -- as people dance, they can see their video images and computer-generated imagery on a large screen.  (I am very interested in developing ways of using technology in the teaching process.)

    Assistant to Laura Simms.  ’85 - ’88, ’95 - ’96.
    Ms. Simms, an internationally acclaimed storyteller and educator, is a leader of the modern revival of storytelling.  My duties included managing mailing lists; assisting with publicity, advertisements, and grant applications; and giving feedback regarding manuscripts and performances.  I acted as liaison for the “1995 Month of International Storytelling in New York,” assisting storytellers from England, France, Iran, Africa, and the USA.

    Writer for Lydia Joel.  ’87 - ’88.
    Ms. Joel, formerly editor-in-chief of Dance Magazineand chair of the Dance Dept. of NYC’s Performing Arts High School, hired me to write a screenplay based on her research.  Project title: “Catherine de Medici, Italian Queen of France, and the Beginnings of Ballet.”


  • American Folklore Society.
  • Conference on Religion in South Asia.
  • National Storytelling Association, Jonesborough, TN.
  • Interactive Performance Group, New York University.
  • NY New Media Association.



    “The Public Sphere, Folklore, and Interactive 
    Telecommunication in Rural India,” in Folklore, the Public Sphere, and Civil Society, M.D. Muthukumaraswamy, ed., New Delhi and Chennai: Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts and National Folklore Support Centre, in press (2004).

    Changing Tribal Life: A Socio-Philosophical 
    Perspective (Book Review),” Indian Folklore Research Journal, Vol. 1, No. 3 (2003): 113-118.

    “Child’s Play, Language Teaching and Learning, and
    Videoconferencing,” Madhyam: Issues in Culture, 
    Communication, and Development, Vol. 18, No. 2
    (October 2003): 13-19.

    “New Millennium Telling,”  Storytelling Magazine,7/96.
    A  report on the Storytelling for the New Millennium Conference held in Kauai, Hawaii, which concerned applications of new media, including two for face-to-face storytellers: the use of electronic images/sounds in accompaniment of storytelling performances, and storytelling through videoconferencing.

    “Amiga Multimedia Computers in South India.”
    Newsletter of the NY Amiga Users Group,1/96 (Part I), 3/96 (Part II).
    Regarding my use of a computer in south India for electronic painting at multimedia events, and Tamils' uses of similar computers.

    “Tamil Nadu’s Epic of the Anklet:Ancient Story and Modern Identity.”
    Self-published booklet, Madras/Chennai, ’91.


    “The Performance Tradition of Villupattu in Rural and Urban Contexts.”  8/16/00.
    Dept. of Tamil Literature, University of Madras (Tamil Nadu, south India).

    “Storytelling in Different Cultures.”  8/10/00.
    Dept. of Indian Music, School of Fine and Performing Arts, University of Madras.

    “The In-Performance Identification Process.”  10/27/00.
    American Folklore Society, Columbus, Ohio (annual meeting).

    “Videoconferencing for Folklorists.”  10/21/99.
    American Folklore Society, Memphis, Tennessee (annual meeting).
    This paper discussed videoconferencing as a means of study (“ethnographic videoconferencing”), and as an object of study.  A colleague in NY attended by videoconference.


    “Videoconferencing with Indigenous Peoples.”
    Penn Folklore Graduate-Student Sponsored Videoconference Series, 2001-2.
    Please see  http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/videoconference/series/2.html  .
    Technology: Tamberg, over ISDN lines; with simultaneous Realplayer audio-video webcast. 

    Penn Folklore Graduate-Student Sponsored Videoconference Series, 2000-1.
    Please see  http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/videoconference/series .
    Technology: Tamberg, over ISDN lines; with simultaneous Realplayer audio-video webcast. 

    “Nine Songs, a Story, and a Little Talk.”  4/20/99, 4/21/99, 4/26/99
    Between myself at Penn in Philadelphia and a colleague in NYC (I was at a different location on the Penn campus for each of the three events).  We demonstrated and discussed video-mediated singing and storytelling.
    Technology: “Videophones” (made by 8x8, inc.), over a regular telephone line.

    “A Reading of and Discussion about Alice Walker’s ‘Everyday Use.’”  6/14/98.
    I was teaching a course, The Modern Short Story,on St. John’s U.’s Staten Island campus: a guest scholar in Manhattan co-led one session.
    Technology: “Videophones,” over a regular telephone line.

    “Two Suriname Tales.”  4/29/98.
    Between myself at Penn’s Folklore Dept. in Philadelphia and a colleague in NYC.  We demonstrated and discussed video-mediated storytelling.
    Technology: “Videophones,” over a regular telephone line.

    “YouthCaN (Youth in Communications and Networking) ’98.”  4/23/98.
    Sponsored by NYC’s American Museum of Natural History, NYU’s School of Education, etc.  800 junior and senior high school students at the AMNH conversed with students in Troy, Alabama.  A skit was performed (regarding environmental concerns) with actors in both locations; the scene painter was in Alabama.  I served as a technology and drama coordinator.
    Technology:  “Videophones,” over a regular telephone line.

    “YouthCaN ’97.”  5/15/97.
    The distant students were in Austin, Texas.
    Technology: PictureTel, over ISDN lines.

    “Use of Electronic Technology in the Theatre Classroom.”  4/14/97.
    Guest lecture/demonstration by Dr. Stephen Schrum, Dept. of Educational Theatre, Penn. State U. (Hazleton).  Dr. Schrum was on St. John's U.’s Staten Island campus; acting as his assistant, I conversed with him from St. John's U.’s Queens campus.
    Technology: Sony, over ISDN lines.

    “A Videoconference about Cassandra.”  11/23/96.
    Between NYU's Interactive Performance Group and students at York U., Canada.
    Technology: PictureTel, over ISDN lines.


    I was born in midtown Manhattan, NYC, where I was raised by my parents: Lydia Joel (editor-in-chief, Dance Magazine,’56 - ’70; chair of the Dance Dept., Performing Arts High School, ’72 - ’84), and Edwin Miller (entertainment editor, Seventeen Magazine,’46 - ’88).

    References available upon request.




    Tuesday Febraury 15, 2005

     /  10:30 - 11:30 AM  / (NYC Time)

    Channel 34 of the Time/Warner &Channel 107 of the RCN 
    Cable Television Systems in Manhattan, New York.

    The Program can now be viewed on the internet at the time of cable casting at: 


    NOTE: You must adjust viewing to reflect NYC time & click on channel 34 at site

                                        241 West 36th StreetNew York,N.Y. 10018 Phone: 212-695-6351 E-Mail: HHC@NYC.RR.COM


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