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Highlights from #AFS68: The View from #AFS11

The last time AFS met in Bloomington was 1968. Studying the program for that meeting (which is now freely accessible in IUScholarWorks Repository and discoverable in Open Folklore Search), is very interesting. I cannot resist noting some highlights.

At that meeting, Bess Lomax Hawes showed her new film on the rhyming games of African American girls, Pizza Pizza Daddy-o. This is one of my absolute favorites and can be watched today online via FolkStreams.

Pizza Pizza Daddy-o was shown are the opening act for Richard Dorson’s AFS Presidential Address. The keynote was published under the same title that it had in the program “A Theory for American Folklore Reviewed.” This address was published in the Journal of American Folklore, where it can be found today via JSTOR.

With so many folklorists doing digital and computational work, it is interesting to note that one presentation on the program treated “The Use of a Computer in a Belief Collection.” That paper was by Samuel J. Sackett  then of Fort Hays Kansas State College. That paper also went on to be published, in this instance in Western Folklore, where it can also be found via JSTOR. Think about it.  Folklorists were doing computational work in the 1960s and presenting it at their meetings! Folklorists are digital humanities pioneers.

The program included many well-known names presenting on work that would go on to become canonical. Michael Owen Jones talked about Appalachian chairmaking, Richard Bauman theorized folklore and community, Kenny Goldstein spoke on the study of singer repertoires, Roger Welsch addressed on Nebraska architecture, Barre Toelken examined metaphor, Joann Kealiinohomoku explored Hopi arts, Dan Ben-Amos lectured on storytelling, William Wilson pursued Finnish nationalism, while Peter Furst looked at Huichol mythology, William Bascom tackled African Cinderellas, Daniel Crowley addressed diffusionist studies of African expressive culture, and Jan Brunvand treated Mormon jokes. It is exciting to think that so many of these scholars will have the opportunity to return, after the passage of 43 years, to Bloomington for another AFS meeting.

I will be 85 in 2054, so I guess that there is bit of a chance that I might also get to see a second AFS meeting in Bloomington. Whether meetings as we know them will exist then, is a topic for another post.



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