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Dr. Elisha Oliver
Interim Executive Director

Dr. Elisha Oliver, often called Dr. E. by her university students, is a bio-cultural anthropologist and folklorist, who specializes in visual ethnography. Elisha is also an interdisciplinary artist who centers her multiethnic heritage in her work.

Elisha identifies as a Texas girl with Oklahoma roots. She was born at Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma City and spent her formative years in rural Oklahoma. Elisha's family later moved to Dallas, Texas.

Elisha completed her undergraduate work at the University of North Texas and earned her MA and PhD in anthropology from the University of Oklahoma. Her doctoral research explored the intersections of space and place, storytelling, health, and traditional healing.

Elisha came to Texas Folklife in 2022 with a wealth of nonprofit management and program development experience. She has worked with nonprofit organizations who center Arts & Culture, Health & Wellness, and Community in their work.

Elisha is a member of the American Anthropological Association where she co-chairs the Complementary Alternative Medicine section. She was the 2018 Zora Neale Hurston award recipient, Summer 2022 Wenner-Gren Public Scholar Fellow, and 2022-2023 Antiquarian Booksellers Association Mentee. Elisha is a member of The American Folklore Society, the Society for Ethnomusicology, and the Modern Language Association. Elisha’s photography, pottery, and mixed media works of art have been exhibited in galleries across the United States. She is currently completing two novels: The Land as Medicine: Stories from the Folk Healer and Take the Chance: The Other Bonnie and Clyde Story.