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A Popular ‘40s Map of American Folklore was Destroyed by Fears of Communism 0 J. Fivecoate By Kyle Carsten Wyatt -- “Between 1946 and 1953, the State Department’s Overseas Library Program collected and distributed some 1,744 copies of William Gropper’s America: Its Folklore, a colorful depiction of 61 legends, tall tales, and literary heroes—characters like super-sized cowboy Pecos Bill in New Mexico, steel-driving phenom John Henry in Alabama, and witty trickster Br’er Rabbit in Georgia—superimposed over a familiar projection of the Lower 48. The purchase was part of postwar efforts to disseminate “facts and solidly documented explanations of the United States.” Based on a painting Gropper completed in 1945, the 34-by-23-inch pictorial map was published by Associated American Artists, and sold by mail order—$5.00 unframed, $14.50 mounted—in the New York Times, Life, and other popular publications. An accompanying 16-page brochure told viewers more about Paul Bunyan, Johnny Appleseed, and their folkloric ilk. While the State Department exploited the map’s propaganda potential abroad—its playful characterization of America as a fun-loving, welcoming, and, most important, free land—librarians and teachers took advantage of its educational usefulness at home. Throughout the late ’40s and early ’50s, newspapers from coast to coast ran stories about students studying literature with the help of America: Its Folklore. Municipal libraries even lent framed copies, making it easy for students to show off their newfound knowledge at home. But the cartographic darling fell from grace in the spring of 1953, when attorney Roy Cohn toured State Department libraries around the world as part of his and Senator Joseph McCarthy’s crusade against Communism. Cohn identified William Gropper as one of the “fringe supporters and sympathizers” whose supposedly Communist-directed works had infiltrated the Overseas Library Program. Gropper was promptly subpoenaed to appear before the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations—and earned the dubious distinction of being among the first blacklisted artists in McCarthy-era America.” To read the full article, visit http://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/william-gropper-map-american-folklore?utm_source=facebook.com&utm_medium=atlas-page.   
by J. Fivecoate
Wednesday, March 29, 2017
Zora Neale Hurston's Work Featured on NPR Podcast 0 J. Fivecoate On the episode titled "Badass Ladies in Labs" of the NPR podcast "The Pulse," Zora Neale Hurston and her work are discussed. That particular segment begins around the 3 minute mark.  To listen to the episode, visit http://www.npr.org/podcasts/381443461/the-pulse. 
by J. Fivecoate
Friday, March 24, 2017
AFS Member Hanna Griff-Slevin Featured in New York Jewish Week Article 0 J. Fivecoate “The Jewish people invented the idea of diaspora and have experienced nearly 2,000 years of wandering the globe, refugees and immigrants receiving a dubious welcome almost everywhere. Of course, one result of that history is that the Jews have left behind a lot of literal and metaphorical baggage. The former, mere material goods, can be replaced, but the latter — a rich tapestry of languages, literature, music and other arts — is harder to recover. Hanna Griff-Slevin, the director of cultural programs for the Museum at Eldridge Street, admits that it is the music that speaks to her most vividly, which is probably why for the past five years the museum has been showcasing its wonderfully creative “Lost and Found Music” series. “I remember my grandfather singing zmirot and nigunim when I was a child,” she says. “And as a folklorist I fell in love with the old Yiddish music.” Inevitably, when she came to Eldridge Street, music was in the forefront of her thoughts — especially when she realized that the building’s main performance space was an acoustical gem. “The sound is gorgeous,” she says rapturously. So is the space itself, a 125-year-old synagogue that has undergone extensive restoration in the past decade with impressive results.” To read the full article, visit http://jewishweek.timesofisrael.com/next-gen-players-old-world-music/.   
by J. Fivecoate
Thursday, March 9, 2017
"Who Owns Oral History? A Creative Commons Solution" 0 J. Fivecoate By Jack Dougherty and Candace Simpson -- "Who “owns” oral history? When an oral history narrator shares her story in response to questions posed by an interviewer, and the recording and transcript are deposited in an archive, who holds the rights to these historical source materials? Who decides whether or not they may be shared with the public, quoted in a publication, or uploaded to the web? Who decides whether someone has the right to earn money from including an interview in a commercially distributed book, video, or website? Furthermore, does Creative Commons, a licensing tool developed by the open access movement to protect copyright while increasing public distribution, offer a better solution to these questions than existing oral history protocols? "Oral historians have begun to ask these types of questions as we confront new challenges of doing our work in the Internet era. At a November 2010 planning symposium for the Oral History in the Digital Age project, law and technology professor Sheldon Halpern posed the provocative question: “What do you think you own?” One of the symposium participants, Troy Reeves, reflected on its broad implications for the field. Over a decade ago, when narrators granted an oral history interview and signed a release form, they could assume that the audio/video recording and transcript “would remain under the care and control” of an archive or library, which would hold ownership rights and grant access to the public as it deemed appropriate. But the Web is dramatically revising these assumptions." To read the full article, visit http://ohda.matrix.msu.edu/2012/06/a-creative-commons-solution/. 
by J. Fivecoate
Friday, February 24, 2017
Bill Ferris Receives Mississippi Governor’s Arts Award 0 J. Fivecoate AFS Fellow Bill Ferris was recently awarded a Mississippi Governor’s Arts Award for lifetime achievement. For more information, see http://www.arts.state.ms.us/news/GovArtsAwards-2017Recipients.php. Or visit http://www.afsnet.org/news/news.asp?id=310688&hhSearchTerms=%22bill+and+ferris%22. 
by J. Fivecoate
Friday, February 24, 2017
The Bess Lomax Hawes Collection Now Searchable Online 0 J. Fivecoate The finding aid for the Bess Lomax Hawes Collection, 1894-2009, is now online. The collection can be reached by visiting http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.afc/eadafc.af016012.    Also this calendar year, her digitized manuscript collection is scheduled to be added to a larger online collection of Lomax family papers, which currently number around 300,000 pages. More about that effort at http://blogs.loc.gov/folklife/2017/01/nearly-300000-lomax-documents-now-accessible-online/.   
by J. Fivecoate
Tuesday, February 21, 2017
The North Carolina Folklife Institute Launches New Website and New Projects 0 J. Fivecoate The North Carolina Folklife Institute (NC Folk) is proud to announce the completion of its new website, www.ncfolk.org. Please check out their new home base! NC Folk is also proud to announce the first edition of the Handbook for North Carolina Folk and Traditional Artists, with a model provided by the Nevada Arts Council and with priceless assistance and advice provided by NV Folklife Program Coordinator, Patricia Atkinson. https://www.ncfolk.org/handbook/ They are also pleased to announce the production of our first podcast, Inside NC. Produced by Joseph O'Connell, Inside NC's inaugural season focuses on the culture, community and history of Warren and Halifax Counties in NC. The first episode will be streaming from our website on Wednesday, February 15. https://www.ncfolk.org/podcasts/
by J. Fivecoate
Monday, February 13, 2017
Help Support Film about Folklore Center Legend Izzy Young 0 J. Fivecoate By Rebecca Seeman (Co-Producer, "Folklore Center Blues: The Life of Izzy Young") -- "Folklore Center Blues: The Life of Izzy Young" is a film about the colorful figure who produced the first New York concerts of many of the great icons of the American folk music scene, including Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Emmylou Harris, and Tim Buckley. In the current state of activism and resistance, Tamsin (director and co-producer) and I have been remembering the role folk music played in the protest era of the 1960s, and Izzy's lifelong commitment to peace, progressive politics, and activism. In addition to his work in the political protest climate of the 60s, Izzy has been an active voice for Israeli-Palestinian peace since moving to Sweden in 1973. "Folklore Center Blues: The Life of Izzy Young" includes interviews with many people for whom folk music has been an integral part of their commitment to social justice, not least the late great Pete Seeger and the indefatigable Steve Earle. Other critical voices of the 60s folk music scene that you will see and hear in our film include John Sebastian, David Grisman, Happy Traum, David Bromberg, Stefan Grossman, Jim Kweskin, John Cohen, Sylvia Tyson, and lots more. We are almost mid-way through our 30-day campaign to raise the funds for the edit of our film, and we will need the support of the folk music and folklore communities to be able to complete our project. Please help us bring you this entertaining, important, and timely film! We have lots of great perks for you to choose from. You can see our video in which we tell you about the movie, plus the film trailer, in the link below. For those of you that would like to contribute, but don't want to do so online, just send me an email and we can talk about how to do that. For more information about this project, or to donate, visit https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/folklore-center-blues#/.  
by J. Fivecoate
Thursday, February 9, 2017
ASIL Hosts Online Briefings on Trump Administration and International Law 0 J. Fivecoate The American Society of International Law—one of AFS’s sister societies in the American Council of Learned Societies—has begun an online briefing series on “International Law and the Trump Administration.” These are free events, with a one-step registration process (http://www.asil.org/100days) designed to encourage broad participation by both the press and the public. Our hope is to provide accurate, unbiased information (a.k.a. “facts”) to help inform the debate around such issues as climate change, torture, and the role of international institutions. The initial webcast, “The Future of International Agreements,” took place on February 1. It featured Catherine Amirfar, Partner at Debevoise & Plimpton LLP, former Counselor on International Law to the Legal Adviser at the US Department of State and John B. Bellinger, III, Partner at Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP, former Legal Adviser, US Department of State. Michael Goldhaber, who served for 16 years as senior international correspondent for The American Lawyer, served as moderator.  Part two of this series, titled The United Nations and the Trump Administration, will take place on Thursday, February 23, 2017 from 11:30am to 12:30pm EST/8:30am to 9:30am PST. For more information, visit https://www.asil.org/100days.  
by J. Fivecoate
Thursday, February 2, 2017
CBU Professor Ian Brodie Interviewed about Folk and Culture Online Course 0 J. Fivecoate What makes a food traditional? Can you change the ingredients? These are among the topics being discussed in a Folk and Culture course offered at CBU. The course is open and online. Professor Ian Brodie discusses food as tradition in an interview on Mainstreet Cape Breton.  To listen to the interview and to learn more, visit http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-scotia/programs/mainstreetcapebreton/cbu-professor-ian-brodie-folk-and-culture-online-course-1.3942744.
by J. Fivecoate
Wednesday, January 25, 2017
Nearly 300,000 Lomax Documents Now Accessible Online 0 J. Fivecoate By Todd Harvey (Curator, Alan Lomax Collection, American Folklife Center) -- Fans of folk music fire up your browsers! The second—and largest—phase of the Lomax family papers has just gone online at this link. This set of manuscripts joins ca. 25,000 items that went online last fall. Researchers now have access to nearly 300,000 manuscript pages that chronicle the work of one of the most important families in American folk music. Through correspondence, field work, research documents, indexes, and writings, the Lomax family papers span the entire 20th century and provide unique insight into American vernacular music. Consistent with Alan Lomax’s “cultural equity” mantra, the collections also document language, storytelling, dance, and music of nearly 800 culture groups from around the world. To read the full post and learn more, visit http://blogs.loc.gov/folklife/2017/01/nearly-300000-lomax-documents-now-accessible-online/.    
by J. Fivecoate
Wednesday, January 25, 2017
NEA Video Explains How They Support Folk and Traditional Arts in America 0 J. Fivecoate "Learn how the National Endowment for the Arts supports and celebrates the folk and traditional arts in America in this motion graphic. Voiced by Carolyn Mazloomi, 2014 NEA National Heritage Fellow" To watch the video, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4NiPrrBBCJA&feature=share&app=desktop. 
by J. Fivecoate
Friday, January 13, 2017
Folklorist Bob Fulcher Mentioned in Oak Ridge Today Article 0 J. Fivecoate "A Clinton folklorist was was one of 10 people to be presented with a 2017 Governor’s Arts Award, Tennessee’s highest honor in the arts. Folklorist Bob Fulcher of Clinton won a Folklife Heritage Award. He is the first folklorist to receive the Tennessee Folklife Heritage Award. Fulcher is the park manager of the Cumberland Trail State Scenic Trail. Among the distinguished artists honored are Kallen Esperian, Amy Grant, and Vince Gill, a press release said. The awards were announced Thursday by Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam and First Lady Crissy Haslam." To read the full article, visit http://oakridgetoday.com/2016/12/22/clinton-man-receives-folklife-heritage-award-distinguished-artists-honored-include-vince-gill-amy-grant/.  
by J. Fivecoate
Friday, January 13, 2017
Introducing HP_folk, A New Listserv for Folklore and Historic Preservation 0 J. Fivecoate The AFS Working Group on Folklore and Historic Preservation invites all those interested to join their new Google group, to connect a cross-disciplinary community of individuals interested in the integration of folklore methodology in historic preservation. If you'd like to become part of this network, please contact Laurie Sommers at folklaurie@gmail.com.     
by J. Fivecoate
Wednesday, November 30, 2016
"Did a Silent Film About a Train Really Cause Audiences to Stampede?" 0 J. Fivecoate "If you’re at all interested in the history of cinema, you’ve probably heard some version of the story about the train film that sent an audience running. According to the tale, as the silent black-and-white image of a moving locomotive filled a movie screen in Paris, the people in the cinema thought it was going to drive right into them. They panicked, and bolted for the back of the theater. While this story is often taken as fact, it turns out that this theatrical panic is likely no more than a sturdy urban legend—and probably already was even when the film was still in the theater. The myth of the runaway movie train surrounds a short 1896 film called L’Arrivée d’un train en gare de La Ciotat, or Arrival of a Train at La Ciotat. The 50-second-long silent film was created by Auguste and Louis Lumière, a pioneering set of brothers who were among the very first people to create moving pictures. Many of the brothers’ early works were barely classifiable as movies even at the time, mostly being short snippets of a scene. “This film is memorable among all the other 1,400 one-minute films (they were called ‘views’ at that time, like ‘living’ picture post cards—single-shot films without any editing), which are listed in the Lumière film catalogue,” says Martin Loiperdinger, a film scholar at the University of Trier, Germany. Loiperdinger is the author of maybe the preeminent piece of writing regarding the myth of La Ciotat, calling the film and its attendant popularity, “Cinema’s Founding Myth.” In the piece he points out that there is no hard evidence that the famed audience stampede ever occurred." To read the full article, visit http://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/did-a-silent-film-about-a-train-really-cause-audiences-to-stampede?  
by J. Fivecoate
Tuesday, November 29, 2016
Barre Toelken's Lifetime Achievement Award Featured in HJ News 0 J. Fivecoate "Having received the Paredes Prize in 2007 and the Kenneth Goldstein Award for Lifetime Academic Leadership in 2011, Toelken is the only person ever to receive three major American Folklore Society awards, according to the organization’s executive director, Timothy Lloyd. Williams and Lynne McNeill, a USU English professor who was, like Williams, a student of Toelken’s, wrote a letter to AFS nominating him for the Lifetime Achievement Award. “We’re tempted to keep this letter of nomination extremely short and simply say, ‘It’s Barre Toelken!’” McNeill and Williams wrote in the nomination letter. Williams explained in an interview the first sentence of the letter pretty much sums up Toelken’s impact on folklore. “It goes with out saying. His name speaks for itself,” Williams said. Toelken’s contributions to the study and teaching of folklore are numerous. His publication, “Dynamics of Folklore,” a widely praised introduction to the subject, is a standard text used in many classrooms. Aside from that, Toelken has 76 book-length publications and over 50 peer-reviewed articles to his name. Toelken was also “very instrumental in building” the USU folklore program and “bringing it to national recognition,” as its director from 1985-2003, Williams said, by securing funding and bringing respected scholars into the program." To read the full article, visit http://news.hjnews.com/logan_hj/connections-with-each-other-barre-toelken-receives-folklore-lifetime-achievement/article_0fd4e11b-a300-5e7e-a493-907d82a14afc.html. 
by J. Fivecoate
Thursday, November 3, 2016
Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage's Artisan Initiative 0 J. Fivecoate "A large part of our mission is to increase the visibility and vitality of culture bearers, artists, and traditions to promote cultural expression as essential to human well-being and community health. In an effort to champion cultural vitality and sustainability, we work with individuals and communities to preserve and elevate cultural practices, including those that improve and sustain local economies. We recognize artisans as critically important partners in this work. Historically, artisans have also worked as designers, creating products based on local aesthetic and sociocultural requirements of their client. Rapid changes brought on by urbanization and globalization have largely isolated artisans, as local clients turn toward cheaper, foreign-made alternatives. Often, artisans lack knowledge of and access to unknown urban and foreign niche markets. This isolation has contributed to the loss of traditional knowledge as artisans turn to agriculture and other trades to earn a living. Further, as young people flock to urban centers in search of new opportunity, artisans are less likely to continue the long tradition of passing on this knowledge through family or apprenticeship. Traditions passed down and evolved over thousands of years can be lost in the length of one generation. The Smithsonian Artisan Initiative (SAI) is dedicated to building the sustainability of these traditions. The program brings together community-driven research and documentation, product development, enterprise training, world-class design development, and a suite of tools artisans can use to unlock access to both local and international markets. SAI aims to reposition artisans as leaders of the creative economy by providing the knowledge, skills, and support necessary to revive and sustain their communities’ craft traditions." For more information, visit http://www.folklife.si.edu/cultural-sustainability/smithsonian-artisan-initiative/smithsonian.   
by J. Fivecoate
Thursday, November 3, 2016
Slenderman on The Folklore Podcast: He’s the “Face” of Online Bullying 0 J. Fivecoate "For those interested in the more intellectual aspects of ghosts and monsters, I recommend checking out The Folklore Podcast hosted by Mark Norman. The first episode is on Slenderman, a topic I’ve been interested in even before the “Slenderman stabbings” brought the legend into so many peoples’ consciousness. Norman’s guest for this episode was Dr. Andrea Kitta who had some intriguing ideas about what this particular monster represents."  To read the full article and access the podcast, visit https://idoubtit.wordpress.com/2016/10/02/slenderman-on-the-folklore-podcast-hes-the-face-of-online-bullying/.   
by J. Fivecoate
Wednesday, October 26, 2016
Folklorist K. Brandon Barker's Research Featured in Scientific American 0 J. Fivecoate By  Susana Martinez-Conde, Stephen L. Macknik (Scientific American)  "Just as brothers Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm—recognized by some academics as the first folklorists—collected children's tales in 19th-century Germany, Barker and Rice have been compiling contemporary folk illusions in the U.S. Their collection is expanding through the painstaking process of recording children's reports and adult recollections and making direct observations of kids' interactions. Barker and Rice's future research plans include documenting folk illusions from non-Western cultures. So far Barker and Rice have identified more than 70 types of folk illusions, starting with games such as “steal your nose” among toddlers and progressing to more sophisticated tricks throughout the school years into adulthood. Their categorization makes it clear that age affects the games we play. And this observation in turn offers a fascinating window into the brain's perceptions and thinking processes during development." To learn more, read the full article at https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/discover-the-science-of-school-yard-illusions/.   
by J. Fivecoate
Thursday, October 6, 2016
"Clownology 101: Your Resident Folklorist Weighs In" 0 J. Fivecoate By Russel Frank  Everywhere I look, I see creepy clowns. Except I’m not actually seeing them. No one is. Well, there may have been a sighting or two. Mostly, though, there have been rumors and false reports. The New York Times reports that there have been “12 arrests in multiple states,” but the only clowns who have drawn the attention of law enforcement so far have been the kind who think it’s funny to waste the cops’ time by calling in hoaxes or staging pranks.   Consistencies across all these supposed sightings strongly suggest that we are in the realm of the urban legend or the copycat enactment of an urban legend: The clowns are usually seen on the edge of a forest or stepping out from behind a tree or a bush. Many of them are carrying machetes or kitchen knives. Many are chasing or trying to lure children, sometimes with candy. (Note the similarity to familiar scare stories around booby-trapped Halloween candy – most of which, like the clown stories, are also groundless.) What worries police in our trigger-happy land is not that one of these costumed creepos will commit an evil deed but that some harmless clown-costumed copycat is going to spook the wrong person and get himself killed. As you’ve probably heard by now, Penn State had its own clown-less incident on Monday night. While sensible sorts were asleep in their beds, hundreds of students, some armed with baseball bats, hockey sticks, tennis rackets and golf clubs (clowns, apparently, are vulnerable to sports equipment), according to Onward State, heeded a social media summons to a clown hunt. They came up empty. What is this madness about? As a certified member of the tiny band of eccentrics who have earned graduate degrees in the scholarly study of folklore, I’m glad you asked. To read the full article, visit http://www.statecollege.com/news/columns/clownology-101-your-resident-folklorist-weighs-in,1469389/. 
by J. Fivecoate
Thursday, October 6, 2016

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