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Fall Conference #3: American Folklore Society

A couple of days after returning from Oklahoma, I turned around and headed out again to the Annual Meeting of the American Folklore Society.  Three main tasks filled my time during these meetings.  As was the case when I went to the American Anthropological Association meetings as a society editor, my AFS meetings are now mainly composed of business meetings taking place within the time and space of the scholarly meeting.  I saw very few scholarly presentations and I ate all of my lunches out of boxes inside the conference hotel, but the meeting was really productive from a work point of view.  The domains of my activity were focused on:  (1) the AFS Executive Board (of which I am a member), (2) the Teagle Foundation funded “Big Questions and the Disciplines” project on improving undergraduate instruction in folklore studies and (3) the launch of the Open Folklore portal site.

It is a honor to represent the AFS membership as a member of the society’s board. The crux of the story from my perspective as a board member is that the society and thus the board are in the midst of a very very busy and very positive time.  The broader context of our work as scholars in North America and in the United States is troubling, but our society has never been stronger. At the meetings, we heard an abundance of good news from the field, recognized many excellent people and projects with well deserved awards, and pushed forward on a number of initiatives. The Teagle grant project is one of these and Open Folklore is another, but great progress is being made on many fronts. I am thankful for all of the people who are helping the society thrive.

As a participant in the Teagle project, I had the pleasure of participating in a lively and rich panel discussion and then a working lunch meeting in which we reviewed our work of the past year and planned for further efforts in the year ahead. I am learning from all of the project’s participants and am especially grateful to Dorothy Noyes and Tim Lloyd for leading our efforts.

I have discussed the Open Folklore project and the portal launch in previous posts. I’ll just note again here how exciting I think that this project is and how appreciative I am for the chance to participate in it.  I had planned on discussing the Southeastern Native American Collections Project as part of an experimental panel in which colleagues and I were trying out a seven minute-twenty-one slide speed format panel. As the conference approached, I proposed a change in which I would present on Open Folklore instead.  The slides are available here and I hope to work up an audio slidecast very soon.  The experimental panel was a big success and we are planning to include the format in the 2011 AFS meetings in Bloomington.

Thanks to everyone who worked to make the Nashville meetings a success.

 

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