Dr. Burrison's academic interest in folklore evolved during his undergraduate years at Pennsylvania State University, where he published and edited Folkways magazine. He came to Georgia State University in 1966 to develop the folklore curriculum in the Department of English, where he teaches such courses as American Folklore, Georgia Folklife, British Folk Culture, and Irish Folk Culture. From the beginning, his students have had the opportunity to contribute to original research by documenting people's folk traditions. Their projects are housed in the Georgia Folklore Archives.
Dr. Burrison's research has concentrated on the folk culture of the southeastern United States and of the British Isles. His interests include both oral literature and traditional crafts, with a specialization in folk pottery. In addition to his scholarly publications, he has shared what he and his students have discovered through a range of public-sector projects including museum exhibitions and films. In 1996 his permanent exhibition, Shaping Traditions: Folk Arts in a Changing South, opened in the Goizueta Folklife Gallery of the Atlanta History Museum.
Dr. Burrison served on the Folk Arts Panel of the National Endowment for the Arts from 1984 through 1987. In 1987 he received a Georgia Governor's Award in the Humanities. He has worked as a consultant for the Smithsonian Institution and has lectured at the Library of Congress, the Ulster Folk Museum, Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz, Germany, and Peking University in Beijing, China.
Recently, the State of Georgia launched the The New Georgia Encyclopedia, the first online state encyclopedia. You may read his introduction to the Folklife section by clicking here.
Dr. Burrison serves as curator of the Folk Pottery Museum of Northeast Georgia at Sautee Nacoochee Center near Helen, Georgia, opened in 2006.
From Mud to Jug: The Folk Potters and Pottery of Northeast Georgia. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2010 (Georgia Author of the Year Award, Specialty Category, 2011).
Roots of a Region: Southern Folk Culture. University Press of Mississippi (Southern Folklore Series), 2007.
Shaping Traditions: Folk Arts in a Changing South. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2000.
Handed On: Folk Crafts in Southern Life . Atlanta: Atlanta History Center, 1993.
Storytellers: Folktales and Legends from the South. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1989.
Brothers in Clay: The Story of Georgia Folk Pottery. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1983.