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Posts from the ‘Conferences’ Category

Open Research and Learning: Collaboration, Connections, and Communities

I am very happy to be again visiting the University of Minnesota in the Twin Cities. Over the weekend, I participated in a wonderful conference on the “Anthropology of Performance” organized by the industrious undergraduate students in the Department of Anthropology here. The conference included work in all four of anthropology’s four sub-fields, plus folklore studies and social psychology. The student presentations were outstanding. The number of soon to finish students reporting on nearly complete senior theses was amazing and the quality of their research and presentations was very impressive. Congratulations to the students and to the faculty and advisers who are supporting them.

Today I get to reconnect with my friends at the library here. I will be participating in a very promising event on “Open Research and Learning: Collaboration, Connections, and Communities.” The event includes an amazing group of people. David Ernst, Director of Academic Technology in the UM College of Education and Human Development will discuss open textbooks. Astronomer Lucy Fortson will discuss open data, and University of Minnesota Press Director Doug Armato will discuss open publishing projects at the press. Copyright librarian Nancy Sims–whom you should certainly be following on Twitter (@CopyrightLibn)–will be the moderator. I will be talking about the ways that open access projects foster richer forms of scholarly collaboration. I am really looking forward to it and I am thankful that the kind invitation from the anthropology students has allowed me to reconnect with the scholarly communications community at Minnesota. Thank you to all of the faculty and researchers who have signed up for today’s event. Information on the event is online here.

Stuff to Check Out: Digital Return, Open Access, Annotum, Anthropology Report

There is a lot going on these days. Here are a few things I am taking note of. I hope to check these projects and tools out more carefully soon.

The upcoming Digital Return workshop being organized by Kim Christen, Josh Bell and Mark Turin.

Peter Suber’s forthcoming book Open Access to be published in March by MIT Press.

The Annotum theme for WordPress–a means for building more journal functionality into WordPress and sites.

Anthropology Report, recently launched by Jason Antrosio

Open Access Discussions at #AAA2011 and @savageminds

One last thanks to Ryan Anderson for his interview with me on open access issues. The final third was published today on Savage Minds. I hope that it proves useful to someone. The timing of the interview is great because I will be party to a couple discussions of scholarly communications issues at the American Anthropological Association meetings, which have already begun in Montreal.

In the session Digital Anthropology: Projects and Projections, I will be discussing library-scholarly society partnerships on the basis of my work with colleagues on the Open Folklore project. This panel is packed with wonderful colleagues and great projects. Thanks go to Mike Fortun for organizing it. It happens Sunday morning.

On Friday I will be part of a forum on The Future of AAA Publishing. I thank the AAA leadership for the invitation to participate in this gathering.

For everyone going to #AAA2011, have a great meeting.

A Day of Pre- Pre-conference Activities at #AFS11

Today, out of town folklorists started appearing around Bloomington for a series of events designed to rally the local troops and welcome the earliest of the visitors coming to Bloomington for the American Folklore Society meetings. I spent the early afternoon in a fruitful Open Folklore planning meeting, but my colleagues welcomed Dr. Fekade Azeze, Associate Associate Professor of Ethiopian Literature and Folklore, and Coordinator of the Folklore Graduate Programme, at Addis Adeba University in Ethiopia. USC Folklorist Tok Thompson moderated a discussion with Dr. Azeze at midday and then he delivered a lecture on customary dispute resolution in the afternoon. I made it to the talk and it was very stimulating material. Dr. Azeze described the customary legal system of two of the largest Ethiopian peoples and situated these practices in the contemporary context, describing efforts to study such systems as a means of indigenizing the national legal system, which is largely founded on non-Eithiopian principles and practices.

Immediately after the lecture, there was an opening reception for the Faces of Fieldwork exhibition curated by Pravina Shukla, Michael Lee, and Carrie Hertz and on exhibition at the Mathers Museum. The portrait photographs submitted by the contributing ethnographers were stunning, the exhibition was well mounted by the Mathers staff, and the reception was a nice opportunity to experience the exhibition and welcome guests to town for the meetings.

I had to get home for family responsibilities, by a departmental reception for early-arriving alumni (Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology) was held. I am sure that a good time was had by all.

Tomorrow things begin in earnest, with pre-conference tours both on-campus (IU research collections and archives) and off (Southern Indiana regional sights focusing on the limestone industry). The meeting will open formally tomorrow night, with the highlight being Henry Glassie’s plenary lecture and a big welcoming reception. I will spend the day in an AFS board meeting.

Safe travels and welcome!

On Making Conference Programs and Reports Back to 1889 Freely Accessible Online

Earlier I posted about the recent news from the Open Folklore project. One piece of the larger story was the news that the American Folklore Society, in partnership with the IU Bloomington Libraries, has made a nearly complete set of AFS conference programs and conference reports available for free online. These documents provide information on the annual meetings of the AFS going back to the society’s founding.  There are still a few missing items to be found and added to the collection, but its almost all there and this is an important accomplishment. These documents are can be found via Open Folklore search and browsed in IUScholarWorks Repository.

Most importantly, these documents are a valuable resource to scholars. They are key historical documents, but they are also invaluable to those who need to know who studied what when?

Beyond their documentary value, the folklorists and ethnologists involved in the AFS should be proud of this accomplishment. Through collaborative partnerships and the deployment of some elbow grease, another worthy open access milestone has been met. Such efforts require labor and in-kind support, but they do not require a major grant, custom digital infrastructures, and outsourced service providers.



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.



Peace, War, Folklore: Themester + #AFS11

Soon a large group of folklorists, from the U.S. and from many countries, will be visiting my adopted home town of Bloomington, Indiana. The 2011 American Folklore Society meetings are returning to Indiana University for the first time since 1968. There is much history that could be recounted, but it seems very salient that 1968 is a year famous for its protests and revolutions. 2011 is shaping up as a revolutionary year as well. This convergence relates to the conference theme (which was chosen well over a year ago)–Peace, War, Folklore.

How did the conference planners come to select this theme? Its a timely one and, as the program it prompted shows, a fruitful one. The immediate inspiration came from a desire to tie in to a semester-long program at Indiana University (organized by the College of Arts and Sciences) called Themester. As the name suggests, a themester is a semester theme that provides a basis for campus-wide activities, courses, and programs. At IU the Themesters happen during fall semesters. The theme for 2011 is Making War, Making Peace.

It is exciting that the AFS meetings can stand out as one of the big Themester events for 2011. The Themester program maintains a blog and the two most recent posts are by members of the AFS planning committee. In his post, conference chair Michael Dylan Foster explains the conference theme in light of folkloristics on the one hand and Themester on the other. In a second post, Jon Kay, Director of Traditional Arts Indiana and a member of the conference committee describes a TAI-organized, Themester-supported exhibition on the art of Gustav Potthoff, a man who paints to preserve and convey personal memories of the horrors of war and the prisoner-of-war experience based on his internment during World War II, during which he was among those forced to build the notorious “bridge over the River Kwai.”

To learn more about Themester at IU, see the program website. Thanks go to the Themester leadership for its engagement with the 2011 AFS meetings. (Public conference events relating to the Themester are listed here.)

Streaming Video from #AFS11: Attend a Folklore Meeting Online!

Let the #AFS11 posts begin. The 2011 American Folklore Society meetings will be held here in Bloomington on the campus of Indiana University. This is the 1st time since 1968 that the meetings have been held on a college campus (that 1968 meeting was also here at IU). It may be a record meeting in terms of attendance and many innovative program items are going to be debuted. The first of these to mention, and the one of greatest potential interest to those who cannot attend, is the news that selected portions of the meeting will be accessible online via streaming video. In the remainder of this post (below the fold, so to speak) I will share the details. Highlights include the Opening Plenary Address by Henry Glassie  (“War, Peace, and the Folklorist’s Mission”), The Francis Lee Utley Memorial Lecture of the AFS Fellows by Margaret Mills “Achieving the Human: Strategic Essentialism and the Problematics of Communicating across Cultures in Traumatic Times”, and the AFS Presidential Address by C. Kurt Dewhurst “Museums and Folkloristics: Folklorists’ Legacy and Future in Museum Theory and Practice.” This is just a portion of the events that are scheduled to be streamed. Learn the details on how to do it and what is going to be accessible below. (The first two of these three major addresses relate to the conference theme–Peace, War, Folklore. This theme was chosen to articulate with the IU “Themester” theme of Making War, Making Peace. The full conference program is freely accessible here. It contains abstracts for all events.) Read more

Digital Humanities, Digital Culture Studies, and Computational Folklore at #AFS11

Dan Cohen recently wrote with enthusiasm about this year’s American Historical Association’s meetings being an inflection point in which digital humanities work in history has finally shown up on the meeting program in a significant way. (For DH at the MLA, see Ryan Cordell here.) Because it has been a steady presence for many years, the 2011 American Folklore Society meetings do not represent such a breakthrough moment, but such work is very much present on this year’s program. Importantly, such work is taking special advantage of the new poster exhibition and diamond (slide-driven, quick) formats. There are digital humanities presentations scattered throughout the program but here are some all-digital gatherings at #afs11:

  • Poster Exhibition: Folklore Studies and the Digital Humanities
  • Workshop: Introduction to Digital Audio Field Recording
  • Workshop: Preparing and Preserving Digital Folklife Fieldwork Materials
  • Author Meets Critics: Robert Glenn Howard’s Digital Jesus: The Making of a New Christian Fundamentalist Community on the Internet
  • Workshop: Learning with Librarians I: An Introduction to Copyright and Intellectual Property/ An Introduction to Open Folklore
  • Workshop: Learning with Librarians II: An Introduction to Digital Humanities and Online Information Resources
  • Diamond Session: Digital and Computational Approaches to Folklore I
  • Diamond Session: Digital and Computational Approaches to Folklore II
  • Paper Panel:  Media Culture and Multimodality in the Play and Games of Schoolchildren in the New Media Age

The entire conference program, with abstracts, is available form the AFS website, here:

PS/Update:  Here is one that I missed:

  • Paper Panel: Mediated Affiliations and the Electronic Vernacular

5th IU-OSU Folklore and Ethnomusicology Student Conference: (Re)Framing & (Un)Mapping

(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

Register for this event for free at For more information on the details of the conference visit in the coming months.

Center for Folklore Studies
Ohio State University
308 Dulles Hall
230 W. 17th Avenue
Columbus, OH 43210-1340
Phone: 614-688-3639
Fax: 614-292-1599
Visit the website at

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