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Get to Know the Faculty: Dr. Gregory Hansen


Gregory Hansen’s love of all things that make up heritage comes through in this week’s “Get to Know.” And yes, to no one’s surprise, the faculty advisor of the Scarlet Chess Club’s favorite hobby is chess.

Gregory Hansen

Gregory Hansen

Place of birth?
Saskatechewan, Canada
My wife, Betsy, and I have a dog named “Roadie.”
Why did you choose A-State?
A-State has given me opportunities to teach a range of classes, including folklore, literature, and cultural anthropology. The doctoral studies program in Heritage Studies also has always matched my interest connecting academic subjects with public presentations of history and culture.
Your philosophy on education in seven words:
Learn to unlearn your learning – stay curious.
Who was your favorite teacher (and why)?
Henry Glassie. He has an amazing knowledge of our field of study, and he emphasizes the process of teaching to engage students in learning.
What’s the value of a university education?
More than any other institution, a university can open up new ways of knowing the world while it also helps us to refine what we already know.
My hobby is...
What makes chess fascinating?
The game is always full of challenges, surprises, and often even a sense of humor.
My passion is...
If you could teach another field, which one and why?
Linguistics. I’m fascinated by language and its connections to so many seemingly diverse fields.
In college, I was known for...
being one of the few Penn Staters to pick up a minor in Folklore Studies.
What is the one thing I’ve learned I’d tell my college self...
It’s really worthwhile to go to college and not really know what you want to be when you grow up. Use the time to explore a range of interests, and recognize that it’s okay if you graduate without a clear idea of your life’s career.
What music is playing in your car?
New Grass Revivals’ “Barren County”
What is the one thing you wish you could teach everyone about your field?
Folklore is a subtle but incredibly vibrant element of our lives.
My favorite motion picture is...
“Harold and Maude.”
The last book I read for fun was...
E. L. Doctorow’s Waterworks.
My favorite trip was...
a trip to Derry, Ireland, for the North Atlantic Fiddlers’ Convention.
If I could travel anywhere it would be...
Four people I’d take to coffee...
Richard Bauman, Noam Chomsky, Bela Fleck and Leslie Marmon Silko – they’d have a spirited conversation.
The best advice I ever received was...
if someone offers you a free lunch, and no strings are attached, take it.
My pro sports team is...
the New York Yankees.
My favorite meal is...
spicy curry.
A perfect day is...
“Wherever you are, you’re there.”
My spirit cartoon character is...
Opus the Penguin
What I like about Jonesboro is...
there’s a generosity in our community that can be really inspiring.
Cats or dogs?
E-book or hardback?
Beach or mountains?
Dinner or supper?
I wish I could...
swim faster.
Only my friends know I...
prefer to be called “Gregory.”
My favorite saying is...
“When in Rome, do as the Greeks.”