The latest episode of WFIU’s program Artworks does a great job of introducing the work of two of my IU Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology colleagues. Kate Horigan discusses so-called urban legends, the subject of one of her current courses. On the occasion of Traditional Arts Indiana being recognized with a Governor’s Arts Award, Jon Kay describes its many projects around the state of Indiana. No point of my writing about it, when the great show is there ready for you to listen to. Find it here:
Posts from the ‘Ethnomusicology’ Category
During 2013, I will have the honor of editing the Journal of Folklore Research. I will be serving for a year as Interim Editor, bridging Moria Marsh’s editorship and the anticipated service of an outstanding departmental colleague who will be away from campus next year. The opportunity is a valuable one and the time is most auspicious, as 2013 will see the publication of the journal’s 50th volume.
With roots that go back to 1942 and a number of earlier publications, the journal that we now know as JFR was founded in 1964 as the Journal of the Folklore Institute. The journal’s name was changed to its current form in 1983. Long published by Indiana University’s Folklore Institute (which would later become the Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology), the journal has been published in its current period in a partnership between the Department and the Indiana University Press. Today the journal is prominently included and heavily used in key services such as JSTOR and Project Muse. It has long maintained a distinctive and international voice in folklore studies and ethnology and has benefitted from a global community of supporters, led by its team of corresponding editors. In keeping with the mandate of its departmental home, the journal has welcomed work by ethnomusicologists throughout its history.
I have learned much shadowing the journal’s able staff throughout the fall and, while Moria begins enjoying life after editing, I will enjoy continuing, in the year ahead, alongside Managing Editor Danille Christensen and Editorial Assistant Miriam Woods. In my preliminary work, I have already learned a tremendous amount about the fields in which JFR publishes. I look forward to the work, and the year, ahead.
Thanks to everyone who has made JFR a success over the past five decades.
Having been asked to do so, I am happy to share news that the Smithsonian Institution is seeking applications for the position of Director of the Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage. This is an important and exciting post. See the details below:
The Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, Smithsonian Institution, is accepting applications and nominations for a Director. The Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage is responsible for planning, developing, and managing programs which have as their major objectives the research, documentation, presentation and conservation of living traditional and grassroots folk cultures of the United States and of other countries. The director is responsible for the administrative direction and management of all Center program activities including the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections, exhibitions, symposia, scholarly research, cultural heritage policy, educational projects and all media, as well as the participation of other Smithsonian museums and programs in national celebration events and National Mall events. The Director represents, at national and international levels, Smithsonian concerns relating to the understanding of the cultural representation of living heritage, as well as public sector folklore, and policies related to them. The Director will have a proven track record of leadership, management and fundraising skills to run a unique multi-disciplinary cultural organization. The successful applicant must have a degree in a relevant field, management level experience in public programming, and have earned a presence in the scholarly and/or cultural community. The Smithsonian offers a competitive salary commensurate with experience and a comprehensive benefit plan including a lucrative, fully vested retirement program with TIAA- CREF. For detailed information on the position, qualifications and application instructions, go to http://www.sihr.si.edu/jobs.cfm and scroll to position announcement EX-13-01. We are only accepting online applications for this position. For questions or additional information, contact Tom Lawrence, 202-633-6319 or firstname.lastname@example.org. The Smithsonian Institution is an Equal Opportunity Employer.
The diversity of materials used by Native peoples in the Americas to make hand rattles is pretty staggering. Among the farming peoples of the Southwest, Plains, Northeast and Southeast, gourds are one important material used for this purpose. Having the same basic form as gourd rattles, but unique to some Southeastern Indian peoples, are rattles, such as this Florida Seminole example, made from coconuts. William C. Sturtevant provided the coconut used here to Jack Motlow, from whom he commissioned it for $2.00 in 1951. This Florida Seminole example is made exactly like those used among the Southeastern peoples in Oklahoma, including among the Yuchi. (I commissioned Yuchi examples for the Gilcrease Museum in Tulsa during the later 1990s.) Such rattles are called “gourds” in English in Oklahoma and are particularly suited to the outdoor dances of the region. Such rattles are loud and thus sound great when used, as they most often are, outside, in open spaces. (The holes drilled in the coconut amplify the rattle’s sound.)
This example is #301 in the William C. Sturtevant Collection, Department of Anthropology, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution.
(Re)Framing & (Un)Mapping
The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH
February 17-18, 2012
Keynote address by
Dr. Michael Ann Williams
(Western Kentucky University)
We are happy to announce the 5th annual collaborative conference between The Ohio State University Folklore Student Association and the Folklore & Ethnomusicology Student Associations at Indiana University. This conference aims to create a space for graduate and undergraduate students to share their research in folklore, ethnomusicology, cultural studies, material culture, performance studies, and related disciplines connected to the study of academic and vernacular interpretation(s) of everyday life.
In “A Theory of Play and Fantasy” (1955), Gregory Bateson makes reference to an Andaman Island peace-making ceremony in which participants strike one another to enact, then dispel their anger. Investigating the fine line between play and aggression, Bateson writes, “(t)he discrimination between map and territory is always liable to break down, and the ritual blows of peace-making are always liable to be mistaken for the ‘real’ blows of combat.” Bateson’s example leads us to think about the “maps” that organize our interpretations of cultural “territories”: systems of meaning, practices of communication, and theoretical and ideological frames. Inspired by Bateson’s seminal text, this year’s conference seeks to explore the following questions and themes:
- What devices do folklorists and ethnomusicologists use to (re)frame and (un)map? How are these concepts used to decontextualize, entextualize, and recontextualize?
- How do ideological frames and maps translate to concrete realities, and vice versa?
- What effect do frames and maps have on folk groups, music and culture?
- What are the politics of mapping? How do previously unmappable things become mappable? How do things fall off the map? How do frames and maps work as boundaries that define what lies within and without, sameness and difference?
- How have concepts of performance, play, ritual and literal frames affected theory and practice in folklore and ethnomusicology?
- How have frames and maps guided thinking about space, place, land(scape), region and nation-state, and how have the latter complicated our understanding of the former?
- In what other ways does current research engage with (re)framing and (un)mapping?
*We also welcome submissions on other topics.
The conference will have four opportunities for participation: 20-minute paper presentations, a poster session, 10-minute experimental panels for works-in-progress, and a discussion forum for all attendees. We will be accepting 250-word abstracts for all presentation formats, apart from the forum.
Abstracts must be submitted by November 18, 2011. Please email submissions to email@example.com.
Register for this event for free at
http://osuiu2012conference.eventbrite.com/. For more information on the details of the conference visit http://cfs.osu.edu/fsa/studentconference in the coming months.
Center for Folklore Studies
Ohio State University
308 Dulles Hall
230 W. 17th Avenue
Columbus, OH 43210-1340
Visit the website at http://cfs.osu.edu/fsa/studentconference
An exciting development in the Open Folklore project is the inclusion of the AFS Ethnographic Thesaurus within the Open Folklore portal. This great advance was announced on the AFS website and at the Open Folklore portal. The ET is a valuable resource for folklore studies, ethnomusicology, cultural anthropology, and other ethnographic disciplines. Thanks to everyone at AFS, LoC, and IU who worked to make this next phase of both projects possible.
Just got back from the Khaira Arby concert here in Colorado Springs. The students in my Introduction to Folklife course went with me. It was awesome. It was great in an everyday sense and also in a “great to go along with my course” sense. She is awesome, has a great band, and is really fun to watch and to listen to. Because of rain earlier today the concert had to move inside (it was going to be on the lawn on campus here) but the hall was comfortable and it worked out and sounded great. I am not an expert in the music of Mali (or anyplace), but I like Ali Farka Touré’s music and I guess that is a start. Khaira Arby and her band are in the same basic territory. The main difference is that she and her band rock more and her voice is an amazing, expressive instrument. Her band is extremely talented and they came off as a very well rehearsed unit. Really great.
The concert was a perfect compliment to a film that I showed in my class. It is a documentary on the adobe architecture of Mali called Heavenly Mud. I love to teach vernacular architecture with this film but one of its fringe benefits is that it has great music in its soundtrack. Khaira Arby is from the region near Timbuktu and her music is recognizably akin to the music in the film (which shows in detail the remarkable architecture of both Timbuktu and the equally amazing city of Djenné) This provided a point of contact between the class and the concert. On top of that, yesterday and today our focus has been music. What could be better?
Her MySpace page suggests that this was her last concert in the U.S. Her next stop is the U.K. for three shows, then two in Belgium, then one in Poland (at the Africa Museum!). Hopefully some of my friends and readers will have a chance to see her. She and her band would be great at the Lotus Festival in Bloomington one of these years.
Someone needs to make a English wikipedia page for her!
Here is a music video that shows her singing and the architecture around Timbuktu.
Here is NPR coverage of Khaira Arby. http://www.npr.org/artists/134000718/khaira-arby
It is funny to see online that she is represented on her tour by Rock Paper Scissors, the world music agency headquartered in Bloomington. Maybe the bodes well for a Lotus visit?
I am super pleased to learn that Kimberly Marshall, an excellent anthropologist, ethnomusicologist, folklorist and Native studies scholar with whom I work at Indiana University Bloomington has just accepted a position as Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of Oklahoma. Kimberly is presently finalizing a dissertation for the IU Departments of Anthropology and of Folklore and Ethnomusicology that focuses on music and cultural performance in the context of contemporary Navajo Christian communities. She is a great fit for Oklahoma and she is joining a vital anthropology department with great students and colleagues, as well as a deep history of important work across her many fields. Congratulations Kim! Congratulations Oklahoma!
This is a second in a series of postings describing things that can already be done with folklore studies scholarship that has been made available through the efforts of the Indiana University Bloomington Libraries. These various projects are being brought together in the Open Folklore project. While it will soon provide a portal to this diverse range of this content at http://www.openfolklore.org/, a great deal of content has already been made available. The first post described accessing folklore books via the Hathi Trust Digital Library. This post explains accessing several bundles of materials via the IUScholarWorks Repository.
IUScholarWorks Repository is a DSpace-based institutional repository for Indiana University Bloomington. Folklore studies materials that have been incorporated within it include the following items and groups of items. While I could describe how to access these materials, it will be easiest for new users to just click the links given and explore the repository.
The journal Folklore and Folk Music Archivist (1958-1968) can be accessed here:
[As discussed here previously] a range of reports, monographs and working papers published by The Fund for Folk Culture can be accessed here:
The back files of the journal New Directions in Folklore (1997-2003) can be found here:
Newly added, and of special interest, are several special publications issued by the American Folklore Society, including the book 100 Years of American Folklore Studies: A Conceptual History edited by WIlliam M. Clements and published by the Society during its centennial year, 1988. These materials can be found here:
The motherlode of folklore scholarship in IUScholarWorks Repository are the back files of the journal Folklore Forum. Published since 1968, forty years of journal content (1968-2008), constituting 1314 items, is available here:
Folklore Forum is a publication of Trickster Press, the student-run publishing house in Indiana’s Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology. Trickster continues to publish Folklore Forum as a gold open access journal (see here). In addition to making its back files available in IUScholarWorks Repository, the Trickster Press team, working with the IUB Libraries has also made available content from the Folklore Forum Bibliographic and Special Series (87 items), which can be found here:
Books from the Folklore Forum Monograph Series, can be found here:
In addition to these Folklore Forum-related materials, Trickster Press has also opened four of its out of print book titles. These are:
Log Buildings in Southern Indiana by Warren Roberts (1996) available here:
Folklore on Two Continents: Essays in Honor of Linda Degh edited by Carl Lindahl and Nikolai Burlakoff (1980) available here:
Fields of Folklore: Essays in Honor of Kenneth S. Goldstein edited by Roger D. Abrahams (1995) available here:
and The Old Traditional Way of Life: Essays in Honor of Warren E. Roberts edited by Robert E. Walls, George H. Schoemaker, Jennifer Livesay, and Laura Dassow Walls (1989) available here:
In classic institutional repository mode, various materials produced in IUB’s Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology are also available in IUScholarWorks Repository. These materials, which include conference proceedings, post prints, MA theses, sound recordings, and syllabi can be found here:
This heterogeneous corpus of folklore scholarship is continuing to grow and it is anticipated that the Open Folklore portal will make consulting it easier in the years ahead. In the meantime, there is plenty for the early adopters to read, study and enjoy.
Thanks to all who have worked to make these resources openly available. Thanks as well to the many people who have expressed support for the Open Folklore project.
More excellent news from the effort to make more of the scholarly literature in (and beyond) folklore studies freely available. This account comes from Simon Bronner (re-posted from his H-FOLK announcement), who led the effort to open up the three important titles discussed here. This effort was done in collaboration with the IUScholarWorks project in the context of broader efforts undertaken with the American Folklore Society. (More about these soon.)
The only point I would add to Simon’s account is that the content will not cease being available in Hathi Trust when it also becomes accessible via Google Books. This is reassuring and useful in a number of ways, including the fact that Hathi Trust is a major digital library managed in the public interest by a large and growing consortium of libraries and universities. Indiana University is a leading partner in it. Thus this content (and so much else from the digitization of the important IU Folklore Collection) is not solely being stewarded–and made useful and accessible online–by a corporation whose time horizons and motivations are understandably different from scholarly ones. That said, Google has been an invaluable partner by providing the digitization (or digital creation) of these resources and it will be very useful to be able to search and use such content in two contexts, each with different sets of digital tools and built for different purposes. Thanks go to Simon and the relevant scholarly organizations/communities for the years of effort that went into these titles and for the work of making them available to the world. Folklore studies is stronger for these efforts.
Penn State Harrisburg, which features a doctoral program in American Studies with a folk cultural area of study, in cooperation with Indiana University ScholarWorks and Google is happy to report the availability online of back issues for three important journals in folklore studies: Folklore Historian, Jewish Folklore and Ethnology Review, and Keystone Folklore. The material is available at no cost in HathiTrust Digital Library at the moment until it migrates to Google Books (where it will still be available gratis). All the material is viewable as full-text with the exception of some issues of Keystone Folklore Quarterly, which are at present have limited search functionality.
The URLs are:
Keystone Folklore Quarterly:
(Keystone Folklore was the publication of the Pennsylvania Folklore Society and featured important early works in folklife and material culture, public folklore, and ethnic-urban folklore, many produced by students at the folklore and folklife program at the University of Pennsylvania).
Jewish Folklore and Ethnology Review:
Jewish Folklore and Ethnology Newsletter:
(Jewish Folklore and Ethnology Review was the publication of the Jewish Folklore and Ethnology section of the American Folklore Society, before the establishment of the Jewish Cultural Studies series published by Littman. It featured many special-themed issues, including Yiddish folklore, material culture, folk dance, foodways, pilgrimage, Israeli ethnography, folk literature, and Jews in the Heartland).
(Folklore Historian is the still active publication of the History and Folklore Section of the American Folklore Society. Back issues feature essays on the history of folklore studies globally as well as studies incorporating or reflecting on historical methodologies; special issues include “Theorizing Folklore,” “Symposium on the Contributions of Francis James Child to Folklore Studies,” “Martha Beckwith: The First American Chair of Folklore Studies.”
Other folklore, ethnology, and ethnomusicology titles that have been made available through the work of the IUScholarWorks project include: the Folklore Forum backfiles (see new content here), New Directions in Folklore, and the Folklore and Folk Music Archivist. In addition, IUScholarWorks Journals publishes (with its partners) the titles Museum Anthropology Review, Anthropology of East Europe Review, and the Inter-American Journal of Education for Democracy.