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Value, Ownership, and Cultural Goods: Regina F. Bendix to Deliver 2016 Richard M. Dorson Memorial Lecture

This is the season’s big lecture. With many heritage studies projects underway, it is a perfect time to welcome Regina back to Bloomington. Here are the details:

2016 Richard M. Dorson Memorial Folklore Lecture
Join us for the 6th Annual Richard M. Dorson Memorial Folklore Lecture.

“Value, Ownership, and Cultural Goods”

Regina F. Bendix, University of Gottingen, Germany

Monday, March 21, 2016
6:00-8:00 pm
800 N Indiana Ave

A reception will follow the lecture.

Abstract:

Since the mid-1990s, scholarship on heritage has blossomed – some might say boomed – and brought forth a plethora of new journals and studies in many languages, not least due to the vigorous work and impact of UNESCO’s heritage programs. UNESCO’s work on behalf of “cultural goods” reaches back roughly sixty years and has yielded many policy suggestions, conventions and programs. UNESCO’s activities in turn mobilized other international agencies concerned less with safeguarding valuables and more with ownership and group rights. They point toward ways in which different groups of actors harness the notions of tradition, folklore, culture or heritage to improve their lot on this earth. In their efforts, such groups are likely assisted more by experts in international law and economics than by students of culture.

For scholars in folklore and related fields, at least two tasks present themselves. One entails a continuation of a by now “traditional” task: understanding how excerpts from cultural scholarship, in their transfer and implementation in the public sphere transform, the practices, people and places we tend to study. A second task builds on this first one: we need to find avenues to communicate better with disciplines and practitioners engaged in establishing the legal norms and the economic projections concerning the fate of culture turned resource.

Funding for Collections Research at Indiana University

This wonderful program of the Indiana University Institute for Advanced Study provides support for researchers–including community-based scholars–to study collections held at Indiana University. The Mathers Museum of World Cultures is one of the eligible repositories. Details are available in the request for proposals, which is copied below:

Announcement for distribution:

The Indiana University Institute for Advanced Study is now accepting applications for its 2016 Summer Repository Research Fellowship. In partnership with repositories on the IU Bloomington campus and supported by the Office of the Vice Provost for Research, the program funds a short-term fellowship for a faculty member or community scholar to conduct in-depth research in the collections of one or more of our partner repositories. Applicants from Minority Serving Institutions, community colleges, and source communities are welcome. Preference will be given to applicants who are collaborating with Indiana University Bloomington faculty members.

This initiative is intended to support research in the rich collections of the IU Bloomington campus and to build partnerships between scholars at and beyond IUB.  The fellowship provides funding for travel costs, accommodation, per diem, and a two-week stipend.  Please note: This fellowship is intended to support research in IU Bloomington’s unique collections; the application should focus on materials that cannot be accessed elsewhere.

Summer 2016 partner repositories include the Archives of African American Music and Culture, the Archives of Traditional Music, the Black Film Center/Archive, the Glenn A. Black Laboratory of Archaeology, The IU Art Museum, the IU Herbarium, the IU Libraries, the IU Paleontology Collection, the Jerome Hall Law Library, the Mathers Museum of World Cultures, and the Sinor Research Institute for Inner Asian Studies Central Asian Archives. Applications are due by March 21, 2016. For application materials and additional information, please visit our website at http://ias.indiana.edu/fellows/summer-research-fellowship/ .

CFP: Unfinished Stories: Folklife and Folk Narrative at the Gateway to the Future

Unfinished Stories: Folklife and Folk Narrative at the Gateway to the Future

The 2016 Joint Meeting of the American Folklore Society and the International Society for Folk Narrative Research

October 19-22, 2016

Hyatt Regency Miami, Miami, Florida, USA

The joint meeting of the American Folklore Society (AFS) and the International Society for Folk Narrative Research (ISFNR) will bring together more than 800 US and international specialists in folklore and folklife, folk narrative, popular literature, and related fields to exchange work and ideas and to create and strengthen friendships and working relationships.

The meeting will feature a number of plenary lectures as well as panel and forum presentations of work by folklorists and their allies in 14-17 concurrent sessions for four days. In addition, participants may register for workshops and tours that will offer an introduction to some of Miami’s cultures and communities.

Prospective participants may submit proposals for papers, panels, forums, films, and diamond presentations or propose new presentation formats. Proposal submission begins February 1 and ends March 31. Presentations on the theme are encouraged but not required.

Proposals will be reviewed by a committee of ISFNR members and of folklorists who live in the region hosting the meeting. AFS will send notification of acceptance or rejection for the meeting program in early June and post an online preliminary program schedule by July 1.

You can find more information about the meeting, including instructions for submitting proposals, beginning February 1, 2016, at http://www.afsnet.org/?2016AM.

Theme: Unfinished Stories: Folklife and Folk Narrative at the Gateway to the Future

Throughout its history, Florida has served as a sustained point of cultural convergence and exchange. Its tropical climate, burgeoning economy, and geographic proximity to the Caribbean and Latin America have influenced its cultural identity. South Florida was shaped by early migration from the United States and Caribbean Islands, as well as influxes of political refugees during the second half of the 20th century. Miami, known as the “Gateway of the Americas,” is now perceived as one of the largest and most significant Latin American and Caribbean cities. As Miami continues to evolve through cultural synthesis, it serves as a leader in terms of its transnational identity and experiences.

In addition to being termed a “Gateway,” Miami has also been described as a “City of the Future.” As such, it offers inspiration for multiple perspectives on the future development of folk narrative and folklife, both within the region and in larger contexts. Relevant topics include transnational communities, cultural synthesis and creolization, the impact of the digital revolution on folk culture, narratives about land and place, traditional responses to climate change, and much more. Conference participants may reflect on these unfinished stories as they appeared in the past and also consider the future of our fields, including emergent theories, methodologies, and ethics.

The organizing committee invites participants to explore the narrative dimensions of their work, regardless of topic.

Contact info:

Lorraine Walsh Cashman
American Folklore Society
Eigenmann Hall, Indiana University
1900 East Tenth Street
Bloomington, IN 47406
812-856-2422; fax: 812-856-2483
www.afsnet.org
lcashman@indiana.edu

Joanna Ella
Secretary
International Society for Folk Narrative Research
www.isfnr.org
jella@gwdg.de

Active Collections: A Brown Bag Talk with Rainey Tisdale

tisflyer.final[3]

A Study of Direct Author Subvention for Publishing Humanities Books at Two Universities: From Researching and Reporting to Discussing and Implementing

In a long Summer 2015 Roundup I touched quickly on a lot of different recent projects, one of which was work “on a Andrew W. Mellon Foundation-funded research/planning project considering the viability of alternative, sustainable financial models for university press monograph publishing in the humanities and interpretive social sciences.” While there are related projects underway elsewhere (I note here the two most kindred ones, that at Emory University and that undertaken by Ithaka), our effort was undertaken at the University of Michigan and at my home, Indiana University.

Report Cover

Title Page: A Study of Direct Author Subvention for Publishing Humanities Books at Two Universities: A Report to the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation by Indiana University and University of Michigan

The project we were working on will, I am hopeful, continue on into new phases, but it is exciting to have reached a key junction in the road with it. For those interested in the future of book (or long form) publishing in the humanities and social sciences, here are some ways to find out what our efforts were about.

Our report can be found on the University of Michigan’s institutional repository (Deep Blue) or here, in IUScholarWorks. It is titled A Study of Direct Author Subvention for Publishing Humanities Books at Two Universities: A Report to the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation by Indiana University and University of Michigan. Here is the abstract:

This white paper presents recommendations about how a system of monographic publication fully funded by subventions from authors’ parent institutions might function, based on research activities supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation at Indiana University and the University of Michigan. While the contributors present a strong argument for implementing such an “author subvention” system, they describe a number of challenges and potential unintended consequences. Particular issues discussed include how to determine which publishers would be eligible for support, how best to support untenured faculty, and how to avoid disenfranchising scholars at less well-funded institutions.

The report was released on the eve of presentations made to the ARL (Association of Research Libraries) Fall Forum 2015, the theme of which was Research Partnerships in Digital Scholarship for the Humanities and Social Sciences. At the Forum, members of the UM/IU and the Emory teams presented our findings/recommendations. For present, the full program is still available online. Here is a description of our panel, which was well-received and interestingly discussed.

The dramatically shifting landscape of scholarly communication and the increasing financial pressure on academic publishing in the humanities have prompted two Andrew W. Mellon Foundation-funded studies to explore the viability of a subvention funding system at three major research universities. Indiana University and the University of Michigan—both with university presses—and Emory University evaluated the implications of an emerging model for humanities publishing in which funds are given by universities and colleges directly to faculty authors to “shop” their academic books among participating non-profit publishers. In this presentation, panelists will discuss what is at stake, the research conducted at each institution, and the recommendations drawn from each study.

The whole Forum was outstanding, with great presentations from all involved. A different sense of the event can be gained by looking at the Storify (tweets) gathered here.

Our work was also recently shared at a meeting of the Chief Academic Officers (Provosts, etc.) at the American Association of Universities (AAU). Reception to these presentations suggests that there is hope for further forward movement in our efforts.

The first major engagement with the report that I have seen online is a essay written for The Scholarly Kitchen by Karin Wulf, a historian very involved in scholarly publishing through her work as Director or the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture at the College of William and Mary. You can find her essay, which devotes significant attention to our report, here.

It has been a privilege to have been a part of the effort described in our report. I am thankful to my colleagues on the project—from whom I learned a tremendous amount. I am also very appreciative of the faculty and administrators at UM and IU who spent time talking with us, sharing their insights on the present and future of humanities and social science publishing. I also feel much appreciation to the Mellon Foundation for its crucial support of both the humanities and the scholarly publishing field.

Call for Applications: Summer Institute in Museum Anthropology

SIMAHere is a call for applications for next year’s Summer Institute in Museum Anthropology, which will be held again at the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, in Washington, DC. I post it here on behalf of SIMA Director Candance Greene. This is a wonderful program that has made a big difference for the training of graduate students for collections research. Note that the program now includes Faculty Fellows as well as graduate student participants.

Dear Colleagues,

We are now recruiting prospective graduate student participants, as well as Faculty Fellows, for the 2016 Summer Institute in Museum Anthropology (SIMA). We hope you will forward this announcement to interested students and colleagues and re-post to relevant lists. SIMA is a graduate student summer training program in museum research methods offered through the Department of Anthropology at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History with major funding from the Cultural Anthropology Program of the National Science Foundation. Summer 2016 dates are June 27-July 22. Student applications are not due until March 1, 2016, but now is the time for students to investigate the program and begin to formulate a research project to propose. Decisions on Faculty Fellows will be made in December.

During four weeks of intensive training in seminars and hands-on workshops in the research collections, students are introduced to the scope of collections and their potential as data. Students become acquainted with strategies for navigating museum systems, learn to select methods to examine and analyze museum specimens, and consider a range of theoretical issues that collections-based research may address. In consultation with faculty, each student carries out preliminary data collection on a topic of their own choice and develops a prospectus for research to be implemented upon return to their home university. Instruction will be provided by Dr. Joshua A. Bell, Dr. Candace Greene and other Smithsonian scholars, plus a series of visiting faculty.

Who should apply?: Graduate students preparing for research careers in cultural anthropology who are interested in using museum collections as a data source. The program is not designed to serve students seeking careers in museum management. Students at both the masters and doctoral level will be considered for acceptance. Students in related interdisciplinary programs (Indigenous Studies, Folklore, etc.) are welcome to apply if the proposed project is anthropological in nature. All U.S. students are eligible for acceptance, even if studying abroad. International students can be considered only if they are enrolled in a university in the U.S. Members of Canadian First Nations are eligible under treaty agreements.

Costs: The program covers students’ tuition and shared housing in local furnished apartments. A stipend will be provided to assist with the cost of food and other local expenses. Participants are individually responsible for the cost of travel to and from Washington, DC.

SIMA dates for 2016: June 27 – July 22
Application deadline – March 1, 2016

NEW opportunity for faculty: We are now also offering fellowships for faculty to develop courses in museum anthropology. Interested faculty members should see the information included on the SIMA website.

I will be at the AAA meetings in Denver from November 18-22 and would be glad to discuss and answer any questions about the program. Email me at greenec@si.edu if you would like to schedule time to meet.

Want to discuss a project proposal? We’d love to hear from you. Email SIMA@si.edu
For more information and to apply, please visit http://anthropology.si.edu/summerinstitute/

Regards,

Candace Greene

Working Wood: Oak-Rod Baskets in Indiana [Exhibition, Presentation @ MMWC]

The final exhibition of the three basketry exhibitions that the Mathers Museum of World Cultures (MMWC) is presenting as part of Themester opened this week. Like the first of the three to open (Willow Work: Viki Graber, Basketmaker), this one was also curated by MMWC Curator of Folklife and Cultural Heritage Jon Kay as an outgrowth of his research on Indiana folklife pursued as the Director of Traditional Arts Indiana. Later in this post, I will share information on a great upcoming event connected with the exhibition, but first a description:

Working Wood: Oak-Rod Baskets in Indiana presents the work of the Hovis and Bohall families of Brown County, Indiana, who made distinctive white-oak baskets for their neighbors to carry everyday items and to gather corn. However, by the 1930s, the interest of urban tourists transformed these sturdy workbaskets into desirable souvenirs and art objects. In recent years, these baskets have come to be called “Brown County” and “Bohall” baskets, perhaps because of the great number of baskets made by the Bohall family in Brown county during the 1920s and 1930s. Nevertheless, the history of this craft is more complex these names reveal. Using artifacts and historic photographs, this exhibit explores the shifts in the uses and meanings of these baskets as they changed from obsolete, agricultural implements, into a tourist commodity. Using the lens of work, this exhibition tells the story of these oak-rod baskets and the people who made and used them, and how local makers strived to find a new audience for their old craft, and how ultimately the lure of steady work in the city contributed to the end of this tradition. Sponsored by Fall 2015 Themester @Work: The Nature of Labor on a Changing Planet, the exhibit will be on display at the museum through February 7, 2016.

It is great to now see all three basketry exhibitions open and staged in adjacent galleries. (Putting Baskets to Work in Southwestern China is the other one–I curated it with Lijun Zhang, Curator of Folklife and Cultural Heritage at the Guangxi Museum of Nationalities). Together they are one outgrowth of a broader focus at present on basketry research at MMWC. I’ll discuss some other aspects of this work in later posts. (Our Themester series echos the College’s theme. Our work is together grouped as @Work with Basketry on a Changing Planet).

A chance to learn more about the work of the basketmakers explored in Working Wood: Oak-Rod Baskets in Indiana is upcoming this Friday at the MMWC. Jon will present a talk titled “The Last Basketmaker: Indiana’s Oak-Rod Baskets and Their Makers” (Friday, September 11; 4 to 5 p.m.). Here is our description of the event:

The Bohall and Hovis families of Brown County made oak-rod baskets for their neighbors to gather produce and carry everyday items. While these workbaskets were essential for subsistence farming, industrialization and changes in agricultural practices threatened the continuation of this craft. and by the 1980s, the weaving of oak-rod baskets had ended in Indiana. In a lecture filled with historic photographs, Jon Kay, Director of Traditional Arts Indiana and Curator of Folklife and Cultural Heritage at the MMWC, unravels the story of these baskets and explores the global forces that brought this distinctive Indiana tradition to an end. The lecture, sponsored by Fall 2015 Themester @Work: The Nature of Labor on a Changing Planet, is free and open to the public.

Friday afternoon will be a great time to see the exhibitions and then hear and see Jon’s talk. I hope that you can make it.

The front of the At Work with Basketry on a Changing Planet postcard.

The front of the At Work with Basketry on a Changing Planet postcard.

Putting Baskets to Work in Southwestern China || 百工之篮 | 中国西南篮子展

Putting Baskets to Work in Southwestern ChinaI am very enthusiastic about the fact that the second of the Mathers Museum of World Culture‘s three Themester 2015 exhibitions about basketry opens tomorrow (September 1, 2015). It is titled Putting Baskets to Work in Southwestern China (百工之篮 | 中国西南篮子展) and I co-curated it with Dr. Lijun Zhang of the Guangxi Museum of Nationalities. As always, the MMWC staff has worked hard to bring the script and objects and images to life and to get the word out. Support for the exhibition project has come from Themester, a project of the IU College of Arts and Sciences. The exhibition, like its two companions, relates to the 2015 theme @Work: The Nature of Labor on a Changing Planet. In the case of the MMWC exhibitions, grouped together as @Work with Basketry on a Changing Planet, we are looking at the changing story of baskets made and used for work and the story of the changing work of making baskets.

The baskets featured in the exhibition were collected for the museum by me during trips made to Southwestern China as a participant in the American Folklore Society‘s China-US Folklore and Intangible Cultural Heritage Project, specifically its current phase focused on Intangible Cultural Heritage and Ethnographic Museum Practice. (For funders of the ICH project, see here).

I hope that many visitors will get a chance to stop by the museum and see the exhibition. It has been a lot of fun to learn about the rich basket culture of Southwestern China and to find ways to share a bit of it with museum guests, including the students participating in Themester programming.

Vernacular Culture in Hands and Minds (The New Basketry Video)

The best places to preserve worthwhile vernacular cultural knowledge is in the hands and minds of talented and engaged people who carry it forward, making it their own and handing it on to still more people. Viki Graber of Goshen, Indiana comes from a long line of willow basketmakers. She has not only preserved the traditions of her family, she has built upon them in ways that curator Jon Kay has explored in the MMWC exhibition Willow Work: Viki Graber, Basketmaker. With Viki, Jon made a short documentary film showing steps that Viki uses in the production of a bail-handled work basket. Check it out on YouTube.

This basket is of the basic workbasket type that Viki learned from her father. If you visit the exhibition, you will see the great diversity of complex forms that Viki now creates.

Hopefully the film will inspire you to see the exhibition (through December 20, 2015) at the Mathers Museum of World Cultures, to learn more about Viki’s basketwork, and to carry on or document the cultural practices of your family, community, or heritage. If you share a passion for vernacular culture—follow the Mathers Museum of World Cultures and Traditional Arts Indiana on social media or sign up for the museum’s email list.

Don’t Miss Viki Graber’s Artist in Residence Visit to the Mathers Museum of World Cultures, Exhibition Opening

It will be a great semester at the Mathers Museum of World Cultures. The first of our three At Work with Basketry on a Changing Planet exhibitions has already opened. Willow Work: Viki Graber, Basketmaker opened on August 18, but it is just getting started. This coming week will feature Viki Graber visiting the museum and demonstrating her work as Artist in Residence. Come meet her and see her work 11 am-2 pm on Wednesday (26th), Thursday (27th) or Friday (28th). On Wednesday the 26th at 4:30, we’ll formally open the exhibition with a reception. Everyone is welcome!!!!!

See the whole fall lineup below. The front and back of our postcard here are jpg files. If you have difficulty reading them, full details are on the museum website. Learn more about Viki Graber’s work on her website and Facebook page.

Putting Baskets to Work in Southwest China will open September 1st. Working Wood: Oak Rod Baskets in Indiana will open on September 8. (The photograph on the postcard, showing Bruce Hovis making an oak rod basket, relates to this final exhibition of the three part series.)

The exhibitions and associated programs have been supported by the 2015 Themester program of the College of Arts and Sciences, Indiana University. (The Themester theme for this year is @Work: The Nature of Labor on a Changing Planet.)

The front of the At Work with Basketry on a Changing Planet postcard.

The front of the At Work with Basketry on a Changing Planet postcard.

The back of the At Work with Basketry on a Changing Planet postcard.

The back of the At Work with Basketry on a Changing Planet postcard.

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