Joy Fraser


Research areas: folk literature; foodways; folk drama; cultural tourism

Joy Fraser’s primary research activity focuses on cultural representations of Scottishness, especially the Scottish diet. She is completing her first book manuscript, Addressing the Haggis: Culture and Contestation in the Making of Scotland’s National Dish, which traces the cultural history of haggis as a contested symbol of Scottish nationality from the mid-1700s onwards. Drawing on a range of evidence from Scotland, England, and Scotland’s global diaspora—including cookbooks, satirical prints, travelogues, vernacular poetry, and folk customs—the book explores how competing cultural depictions of haggis reflect a transnational debate about what it means to be Scottish that continues to this day.

She is also working on a project investigating the violence associated with the custom of Christmas mumming in nineteenth-century Newfoundland, based on records of criminal trials, local press coverage, legislative proceedings, and other archival material. The project examines what these sources reveal about the nature of local mumming practices, the relationships among participants, the motivations underlying the violent incidents, and the responses of the authorities and contemporary commentators. It situates the controversy surrounding Christmas mumming in the context of the turbulent sociopolitical climate of Newfoundland in the mid-1800s.

Dr. Fraser is president of the Folklore Studies Association of Canada.


Recent Publications

With Christine Knight. “Signifying Poverty, Class, and Nation through Scottish Foods: From Haggis to Deep-Fried Mars Bars.” In The Emergence of National Food: The Dynamics of Food and Nationalism, ed. Atsuko Ichijo, Venetia Johannes, and Ronald Ranta, 73–84. London: Bloomsbury, 2019.

“Mummers on Trial: Mumming, Violence and the Law in Conception Bay and St. John’s,

Newfoundland, 1831–1863.” Shima: The International Journal of Research into Island Cultures 3, no. 2 (2009): 70–88.

“Performing Tradition and Ethnicity at the Newfoundland St. Andrew’s Society Burns

Supper.” Ethnologies 30, no. 2 (2008): 181–200.

“A Study of Scottish Gaelic Versions of ‘Snow-White.’” Scottish Studies 34 (2006): 60–76.

“‘Gie her a Haggis!’: Haggis as Food, Legend and Popular Culture.” Contemporary Legend n.s. 6 (2003): 1–43.