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Posts from the ‘American Folklore Society Business’ Category

Don’t Miss the Quilts of Southwest China Exhibition Opening at MMWC

While the coming week will be diverse and full as always, I have one big hope–that many friends, colleagues, campus citizens, and community members will come out for the opening of Quilts of Southwest China. The exhibition opens next Saturday (January 21, 2017) from 2-4 p.m. This is a project that we (a big, bi-national we) have been working on since 2013. If you would like to learn more about the project, you can also come out on Friday at noon for a talk (“Curating Quilts of Southwest China”) by co-curator Lijun Zhang of the Guangxi Museum of Nationalities. (Lijun is also a research associate of the MMWC and an IU Ph.D. graduate).

I give here the invitation (everyone is invited!). Below the invitation, I share some links for more information on the exhibition.

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Read about Quilts of Southwest China in the Bloomington Herald Times.
Read about Quilts of Southwest China on the Art at IU Blog.
Purchase the Quilts of Southwest China catalogue at the MMMWC store or from the IU Press.

See you at the museum!

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

AFS “Folklore and Museums Section” Founded, AFS Members (and Non-Members too) are Welcome to Join

I am happy to note here that the Executive Board of the American Folklore Society has endorsed a proposal put forward by the Folklore and Museum Policy and Practice Working Group to establish a Folklore and Museums section within the society. The section came into existence as of the Executive Board’s November 2014 meeting in Santa Fe. I am very pleased to serve as the new section’s first convener and to invite everyone with an interest in the intersection of museum practice and folklore (/folklife/ethnology) to join the new section.

As noted in the call for members on the AFS website:

the Folklore and Museums Section exists to foster communication and cooperation among museum-oriented folklorists, to advance the contribution of folklore studies scholarship and practice in museum settings, and to articulate museum-oriented folklorists with other colleagues, institutions, and organizations in the museum sector. The section aims, whenever possible, to cooperate with other sections of the American Folklore Society and with peer-organizations in the field.

The public web home for the new section can be found online here: http://www.afsnet.org/?page=MuseumSection and the member’s group space is accessible to members who are logged into the AFS website.

While I am very eager for all interested colleagues to join AFS, I want to note that the AFS has a free “Section Only” membership category by which non-AFS members can sign-up with sections such as the new Folklore and Museums section. This might be of particular value to non-folklorists who wish to keep up with the section’s work. Information on the Sections Only “membership” is available on the Membership Categories page of the AFS website. There is no cost to join the Folklore and Museums section.

The Santa Fe meetings were a great gathering for museum-minded folklorists. I am optimistic that the new section can help make the 2015 meetings even richer for our corner of the field. Thanks to all who have contributed to the momentum behind the new section and to the growth of folklore and museums work.

Sky Above New Mexico Museum of Art

Sky Above New Mexico Museum of Art, November 2014

A Museum-Minded Guide to the 2014 American Folklore Society Meetings

Cross-posted from AFS News.

Folklorists with an interest in museums are feeling quite excited about the upcoming American Folklore Society annual meeting in Santa Fe, New Mexico (November 5-8, 2014). The home to many world-class museums, Santa Fe is always a favorite with museum lovers, whether they are enthusiastic avocational visitors or veteran museum workers. This year, Santa Fe’s wonderful museums compete for our attention with an AFS meeting program that is unusually broad and deep in its engagement with museums as rich sites for collaboration, education, and community empowerment as well as for ethnographic, historical, and comparative research. If your plans are not yet finalized, please consider joining us in Santa Fe.

For those with museum interests, there are too many wonderful panels and presentations to enumerate all of them here. Many material culture panels—covering everything from food ways to architecture—appear throughout the program and will certainly attract the attention of museum-minded folklorists. The same can be said for public folklore programming and other themes of perennial concern. Here I highlight a selection of promising events of likely interest to those eager to learn more about the intersection of folklore studies and museum practices. This account though is just a selection drawn from the larger program and I know that much wonderful work of museum-interest is not flagged here. The Santa Fe program will provide a near infinite number of options for all of us.

Before the meetings even officially open, an abundance of museum-relevant offerings on Wednesday will get us in the mood for a jam-packed program. While the rich set of tour choices have understandably attracted many in the museums crowd, some museum folklorists have understandably been drawn to the “Experiments in Exhibition Workshop” that has been organized by Carrie Hertz and Suzanne Seriff at the Museum of International Folk Art. This innovative hands-on gathering has been sponsored by the Museum of International Folk Art, the AFS Folklore and Museum Policy and Practice Working Group, the Folklore and Education Section, and Local Learning: The National Network for Folk Arts in Education.

The Experiments in Exhibition Workshop is only one of a number of special events connected to our hosts at the Museum of International Folk Art. Kicking off the meeting’s panel sessions on Thursday morning, is a double session on “Pottery of the US South” that will offer a diversity of viewpoints on a topic that is the focus of the museum’s special exhibition of the same name. Those attending the exhibition’s opening later on Thursday may wish to attend one or both of these companion panels [01-01, 02-01].

Also in the first time slot on Thursday is Dress, Culture, and Identity: Museum Collections and Outreach, which has been sponsored by the Folklore and Education Section [01-04]. For those with museum interests, difficult choices or shuttling between rooms will be a welcome challenge throughout the meetings.

Running alongside the second pottery panel in the second slot on Thursday is the first of a series of museum-focused panels organized by the Folklore and Museum Policy and Practice Working Group. Leading off the working group’s series is a forum in which group members will update the membership on its work and solicit questions, concerns, and contributions from the field in anticipation of a final working group white paper and a range of spin off publications—all of which will aim to strengthen understanding of, and opportunities in, museum-based folklore studies [02-04]. The series of panels organized by the working group all aim to facilitate the sharing of innovative case studies and hard won experience throughout, and beyond, the field. Please join the conversation.

After lunch on Thursday, a second working group event will be held—a diamond session on “Current Digital Projects in Ethnographic Museum Contexts” [03-04]. This panel runs concurrently with “Folk Art, Folk Craft I”, which also includes presentations of special relevance to those with museum interests [03-17].

A highpoint of the conference will happen on Thursday evening, from 5:00 to 7:30 p.m. This is when the “Open House on Museum Hill” will be held. All of the Museum of International Folk Art and Museum of Indian Arts and Culture galleries and gift shops will be open and attendees will have the unique opportunity of seeing a performance by the Cibecue Creek Apache Crown Dancers. Check your program for details on other musical and exhibition offerings, as well as shuttle information. There are many great choices lined up and we will also be able to indulge in diverse fare with food trucks providing local and international foods for purchase.

Among the many museum scholars attending AFS for the first time is Aaron Glass of the Bard Graduate Center. On Thursday evening, following the events on Museum Hill, Glass will be screening “In the Land of the Head Hunters: A Newly Restored Version of Edward S. Curtis’s 1914 Silent Film Made with the Kwakwaka’wakw (Kwakiutl) of British Columbia.” This special event should have wide appeal to all who have heard of Curtis’ famous work or who have interests in archives, Native American culture, community collaboration, or visual methods and productions.

Museum-focused panels begin again on Friday with “Movement Creates Museum: Activist Beginnings of Historic Sites of Conscience” [04-01], which runs concurrently with “Archives, Museums, Collections I” [04-08]. These two panels are followed by another museums working group event: “At the Crossroads of Museums and the Marketplace” [05-03].

After lunch on Friday, hard choices continue with “Archives, Museums, and Collections II” [06-03] running concurrently with another panel with much museum content—the diamond session “People and Things: Material Culture Research at the Crossroads” [06-05].

A further museums working group event kicks off Saturday morning: “At the Crossroads of Museums and Communities” [07-01]. This event is followed by “At the Crossroads of Folklore and Museum Education” [08-05], which has been sponsored by the Folklore and Education Section.

In the conference’s final time slot for presentations, museum-relevant papers appear in “The Crossroads Are Owned: Folklore Institutions and the Negotiation of Public and Personal Tradition” [09-07], which runs concurrently with the final event of the museums working group series. It is: “Museums and Intangible Heritage: Connecting the Tangible with the Intangible” [09-16] as well as a panel discussion grounded in the work of the Museum of International Folk Art’s Gallery of Conscience initiative: “Community Crossroads: Integrating Folk Art, Media, and Youth to Impact HIV/AIDS Advocacy” [09-03].

Among the special features of the Santa Fe meetings will be the presence of many first-time attendees who are museum colleagues from China and the United States. Their attendance follows from the work of the joint China Folklore Society-American Folklore Society project focused on folklore and intangible cultural heritage (ICH). The current, second phase of this Luce Foundation-funded effort is focused on museums and ICH policies in both countries. For those interested in learning more about the current “Intangible Cultural Heritage and Ethnographic Museum Practice” project as well as the broader “China-US Folklore and Intangible Cultural Heritage Project” can find details on the AFS website.

As suggested above, this year’s museums-rich program has also attracted first-time attendees and guests from neighboring fields sharing our museum interests, including cultural anthropology and Native American studies. I would like to encourage all AFS regulars to welcome and connect with these many new AFS meeting participants. As always, AFS will also attract many students. This year will provide them with an unusually rich opportunity to learn about museum-based folklore practice and to engage with colleagues, projects, institutions, and ideas in the wider museum field.

Thanks to all who have worked hard to assemble such a rich set of events and scholarly presentations for the Santa Fe meetings.

Another World is Possible: Open Folklore as Library-Scholarly Society Partnership

Preface

In the wake of the SOPA/PIPA protests, debate over the Research Works Act, the growing boycott of Elsevier by scholars in many fields, and more local discussions of the ways that various scholarly societies in my own fields of interest (anthropology, folklore studies) responded to the recent call by the [U.S.] White House Office of Science and Technology Policy for comment on public access to federally funded research, there is a great deal of additional attention being given to the changing nature of the scholarly communications (publishing) system and our hopes for its future.

One key issue centers on scholarly society publishing programs and how they can best be advanced in the present and into the future. At the 2011 American Anthropological Association meetings I spoke in two different contexts about these issues. I have shared here previously my remarks to the “Future of AAA Publishing” event (Jackson 2011b; for context, see Nichols and Schmid 2011 and Brown 2011). That presentation was on “Green Open Access Practices.”

I also spoke in the Digital Anthropologies: Projects and Projections panel organized by Mike and Kim Fortun and sponsored by the Society for Cultural Anthropology. In that event (which has been well documented by Daniel Lende (2011), my goal was to describe the Open Folklore project as both a broader community effort and as a specific digital platform, so as to illustrate a more general point about the fruitful possibilities that can come from direct partnerships between libraries and the library community and scholarly societies.

Libraries and scholarly societies now have a customer-to-business relationship and it is one that is growing ever more strained as commercial publishers become central partners in many scholarly society publishing programs. I evoked the alter-globalization motto Another World is Possible in my title because I wanted to suggest that the course that we are on is not the only one available to us. I believe, on the basis of a lot of time spent over the past five years with university librarians around the Midwestern U.S., that the research library community would much rather work with scholarly societies collaboratively in the shared real and digital spaces in which scholars and librarians (and students) already labor together rather than engage antagonistically in a neoliberal marketplace that has been shaped by the business practices pioneered by firms such as Elsevier, Springer and (yes) Wiley-Blackwell. Open Folklore is just one of many university-scholarly society partnerships that are exploring how to make this alternative framework real.

I should have just shared my presentation at the time of the AAA meetings, but I had hope that I could quickly work on it some more before getting it into wider circulation. Time has not been available for that work, but the current interest in these issues suggests that I might now have an interested audience and a second chance to share it below in the form that I presented it in Montreal.

My remarks below should not be taken as an official statement of the Open Folklore project team, the Indiana University Libraries, or the American Folklore Society. They reflect my own experience with these issues, although they of course also draw upon the rich experiences that I have had partnering with talented, committed colleagues working toward the goal of achieving Open Folklore’s aspirations. The paper below has been edited lightly just to recontextualize the language for a reader not at the original panel (meaning simple removal of language like, “so and so will probably speak later this morning about…”). I wish to take this opportunity to especially thank Mike and Kim Fortun for their remarkable service to the field as editors of Cultural Anthropology and as organizers of the Digital Anthropology event.

 

Another World is Possible: Open Folklore as Library-Scholarly Society Partnership

Jason Baird Jackson

Indiana University

Building upon shared values, facing common problems, and recognizing new opportunities, partnerships linking scholars, scholarly societies, and research libraries are a particularly hopeful development in the changing scholarly communication system. In my remarks, and as an example of current possibilities, I will quickly describe the Open Folklore project and situate it in the context of the serials crisis, the corporate enclosure of society journal programs, the erosion of the university press system, the development of open source software for scholarly communication, and the rise of the open access movement as a progressive response to these changes. For those wanting basic information on using Open Folklore associated resources in your research and teaching, I urge you to visit the Open Folklore Portal site online and to consult the instructional screencasts that my collaborators and I have shared there, and on YouTube.

By way of introduction, I can note that OF is a joint project of the American Folklore Society and the Indiana University Bloomington (IUB) Libraries. The two lead partners share as desire to make more reliable folklore scholarship—in many genres—discoverable and freely available online.  The Open Folklore team is doing this work but so are many colleagues in many places. Consulting the Open Folklore website, which I will come to in a moment, provides an eye-opening and encouraging sense of the OA work that a wide and deep network of folklorists have already been pursuing. Launched in 2010, the project has grown rapidly and made significant progress in its efforts to foster and encourage the development of an interconnected and interoperable, but also distributed and low-cost, system of open access projects and resources.

The Open Folklore project is more than its associated portal site. The project is pursuing educational projects aimed at educating scholars about open access issues. Importantly, it is also working with rights holders and publishing partners to encourage the pursuit of sustainable open access projects that comply with the basic technical standards already extant in the broader scholarly communications community. Read more

The American Folklore Society Expresses Support for Public Access to Federally Funded Peer-Reviewed Research #RWA @whitehouseostp

Bad news abounds, but from the good news file comes today’s release of a letter sent by the President of the American Folklore Society, Diane Goldstein, on behalf of the society. (Diane is also my colleague here at Indiana University). The letter was a response to the recent Request for Information issued by the Office of Science and Technology Policy (part of the executive branch of the U.S. government charged with advising the president). The RFI focused on “Public Access to Peer-­Reviewed Scholarly Publications Resulting From Federally Funded Research.”

In the American Folklore Society’s response to the RFI, the society did two things of note. The AFS pointed to, and endorsed the careful and valuable submission that had already been made by the Association for Computers and the Humanities. In addition to supporting public access policies, the ACH statement (and by extension the AFS view) stresses the need for research policy makers working on this (and neighboring issues) to keep humanities research in mind as part of the larger (and relevant) research landscape.

The other theme brought out in the AFS statement is that the society has committed itself to sustainably pursuing public access goals as exemplified by its adoption of an author agreement for the Journal of American Folklore that is consistent with green open access practices (including repository deposit of the publisher’s final version) as well as its work (with the IU Libraries) on the Open Folklore project.

On a day in which SOPA and PIPA were prominent points of discussion, in a moment in which there are powerful interests also pushing the terrible Research Works Act, and on the day that the Supreme Court handed down a decision that signs off on a law that allows works to be taken out of the public domain and moved back into copyrighted status, I am proud to be a member of the AFS Executive Board working with colleagues who share a commitment finding pathways forward toward the full realization of open access scholarly communication in the public interest. Thank you to the Association for Computers and the Humanities for its leadership and for drafting an excellent position statement. Thank you to the White House for soliciting input on this vital public issue.

When the Association for Computers and the Humanities website comes out from under today’s SOPA blackout status, readers should be able to consult the ACH response to the RFI there. If you are in a hurry, the AFS website presents it alongside the AFS letter as a downloadable PDF.  See here: http://www.afsnet.org/news/81409/AFS-Advocates-for-the-Humanities-in-Federal-Research-Policy.htm

Open Access Interview Part Two @savageminds

Thanks again to Ryan Anderson for working with me on an interview exploring the basic issues relating to open access in anthropology and folklore. The second part of three has now been published on Savage Minds. As always I appreciate Savage Minds for hosting such considerations of these issues.

Remembering Kara Bayless (1982-2010)

The wonderful memorial statements authored by American Folklore Society members and read publicly at the opening ceremonies of the 2011 AFS meetings are now online on the AFS website. Among them is a beautifully written statement about Kara Bayless an amazing Oklahoman, folklorist, and doctoral student in my home department. A star student, Kara was enrolled in my seminar at the time of her tragic passing last year during the 2010 AFS meetings. She is so missed by her many friends and colleagues.

Also remembered at the meetings, with statements now on the website were three distinguished elders in the field. Stetson Kennedy (1916-2011), Roger E. Mitchell (1925-2011) and Kathryn Tucker Windham (1918-2011).

Learn about their lives and work here: http://www.afsnet.org/?InMemorium

AFS Releases Lay and Expert Knowledge Project Reports #oaweek

In time for Open Access Week, the American Folklore Society and the Center for Folklore Studies at The Ohio State University have just made available a collection of reports and working papers derived from the Society’s project on Lay and Expert Knowledge in a Complex Society. This two-year project was funded by the Teagle Foundation as part of its “Big Questions and the Disciplines” program and focused examined undergraduate teaching of folklore in the contemporary world.

These materials are available now as volume 2 of the series Working Papers of the Center for Folklore Studies under the editorship of PIs Dorothy Noyes and Timothy Lloyd. This working paper series is made available through the OSU KnowledgeBank (the OSU institutional repository) and are harvested for search (OAI-PMH interoperability!) through the Open Folklore portal.

It has been an honor to participate in this project and I am super happy that first rate open access strategies are being used to make the work more accessible.

On the Harvesting of Low Hanging Fruit #oaweek

In disciplinary contexts, community discussions of open access and related issues in scholarly communications often get bogged down and then stall out. The reasons for this seem to me to be many. For example, participants rooted in their own particular discipline often guess about the meanings attached to key terms rather than finding, and then working from, common definitions established outside their own fields. Similarly, they often approach the various issues as if their subject area was the first, or only, field confronting these issues. In this spirit, considerable effort is then devoted to reinventing the wheel. Beyond the simple fact that the issues are really complicated and can be approached from a large number of perspectives, another problem stems from an all or nothing sensibility. The largest or most intractable problem is often quickly put on the table for consideration and proceeds to becomes a conversation stopper.

Its this last dynamic that I would like to briefly address. Put simply, we do not have to solve the most difficult problems first. Instead, we can search out and harvest the low hanging fruit. Low hanging fruit is easy and inexpensive to gather. Gathering it, we learn and gain experiences (and buy time) that will allow us, eventually, to tackle bigger challenges on the basis of experience gained and lessons learned. When we spend little or no time/money pursuing the smaller, easier prospects, we put less at risk and we can afford to learn from our mistakes. A single fall out of the top of a tree can be catastrophic. Standing on the ground, we can usually stumble and fall countless times without doing ourselves any great harm.

It is in the spirit of making progress in the harvesting of low hanging fruit–wherein significant good can be done in an easy and inexpensive way–that I recently suggested a way in which the conference programs and abstracts of the American Anthropological Association could be made freely available online to all interested users as part of the HathiTrust Digital Library. My recent suggestion of this strategy was offered as small part of an important discussion of the future of the AAA publishing program that was begun on the AAA weblog. It can be found there attached to the first of two posts by Michael F. Brown. The first (on which I commented) can be found here and a second post, dealing with the expense picture for the total AAA publishing program, is here.

Starting with the easier and less risky tasks is also the strategy underpinning the American Folklore Society/Indiana University Bloomington Libraries’ joint project called Open Folklore. Now entering its second year, most of the progress that the project has made so far could be understood as gathering low hanging fruit. What is exciting is that if enough such modest efforts are pursued concurrently, they add up to results that are definitely not a small matter.

Readers interested in looking at the basket into which a large amount of low hanging fruit has been gathered, can consult the project reports of the Open Folklore project. Over the course of three narrative accounts–the first offered at launch, the second offered at the six month mark, and the most recent at the twelve month point–a large diversity of open access accomplishments are described. In and of themselves, each represents a relatively modest resource and a readily accomplished task. Taken together, they represent significant progress towards the goal of making folklore studies a more accessible discipline. No make-or-break revenue streams were harmed in the making of the Open Folklore portal and the work that has been accomplished is as robustly and professionally preserved as is possible in the year 2011.

Like all scholarly societies confronting these questions, the AFS faces giant uncertainties in the years and decades ahead. There are many questions that will eventually need to be faced. For instance, will it ever be possible to make The Journal of American Folklore accessible in a gold OA fashion? Probably, but the pathway to getting there is hardly clear and, for the present, solving the riddles of revenue, expense and organizational sustainability in that context is too big a task. My argument is that there are other ways to make steady progress that do not require us to take on excessive risk or to immediately untie the tightest, most complicated knots.

I encourage interested anthropologists to join the conversation that Michael F. Brown is hosting at the AAA weblog. Folklorists with thoughts on the future of scholarly communications in our field are invited to comment here or to write to me privately.

This post reflects my own thinking on the questions that it addresses and should not be read as an official statement by any of the organizations or projects with which I am associated.

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