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Deutsch, James

Curator of Folklife and Popular Culture

Occupational folklife; veterans of World War II; pandemic folklore; American film and mass media.

Geographic Focus

Professional Biography

  • James Deutsch is a curator and editor at the Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage at the Smithsonian Institution. Since 2003, he has helped plan and develop public programs on California, China, Hungary, Peace Corps, Apollo Theater, Circus Arts, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Mekong River, U.S. Forest Service, World War II, Silk Road, and White House workers. In addition, he serves as an adjunct professor—teaching courses on American film history and folklore—in the American Studies Department at George Washington University. Deutsch has also taught American Studies classes at universities in Armenia, Belarus, Bulgaria, Germany, Kyrgyzstan, Norway, Poland, and Turkey. Overall, he has held more than 60 different jobs, including: newspaper reporter, librarian, park ranger/forest ranger, census enumerator, and monorail operator at Walt Disney World.