The 2014 Annual Meeting for First-time International Attendees
Tuesday, October 28, 2014
Posted by: Lorraine Cashman
Dylan Foster (Indiana University) -- On behalf of the
Committee on International Issues, I want to extend a sincere welcome to those
of you coming to AFS from outside the U.S., and especially those of you
attending for the first time. Below are some brief thoughts to help you
navigate the meeting and the program.
The AFS meeting
is a friendly gathering. The atmosphere is generally informal and welcoming,
and even if you are attending for the first time (and even if this is your
first time in the U.S.), you should not hesitate to introduce yourself to people.
AFS is a relatively small gathering and it is easy to meet senior scholars,
members of the AFS Board, Fellows, and others who have been involved with these
meetings for a long time. You will be sure to find new colleagues with similar
interests. At AFS, strangers do not remain strangers for long.
At the panels
and meetings during the day, participants are eager to exchange ideas and will
be particularly interested in learning about the state of folkloristics in
other countries. There are also a lot of opportunities outside the formal
sessions and during the evenings to meet and chat with new friends and
colleagues. In past years, many international participants have commented to me
that they were surprised how much fun AFS was. They marveled at how relaxed
people are and how they seem to truly enjoy spending time with each other. Don’t
be surprised, for example, to see musical jam sessions breaking out in the
hotel lobby in the evenings! And, of course, feel free to join in.
In recent years
AFS has made a concerted effort to expand its own international horizons,
welcoming more and more scholars from abroad and developing formal initiatives
with folklore societies around the world. Many sessions at the 2014 meeting reflect
issues in other countries, and you will find an increasing focus on global concerns
of all sorts. There are numerous
sections and special interest groups within AFS, many of which focus on
specific geographic regions. These include the African Section; British Folk
Studies Section; Folklore Latino, Latinoamericano, y Caribeño Section;
Mediterranean Section; Nordic-Baltic Section; and the Transnational
Asia/Pacific Section. These sections always welcome new members, so just check
the Program for specific section meeting times and join in the conversation.
year there are also several events we hope that you, as an international
participant, will join in. The first one is called the World Café and occurs on Wednesday,
4:30-6:00 PM in Lamy. The AFS Committee on International Issues organized
this for the first time last year. It was a great success, so we are doing it
again this year. The World Café is participatory and
open to everybody. It consists of a series of structured, small-group conversations designed to
bring to the surface our collective wisdom concerning the promises and challenges
of working internationally. It is a chance to garner a comparative perspective
on folklore and folkloristics, and on our projects as scholars in a global
community. We especially encourage members who are traveling to AFS from
outside the U.S. to attend, but we hope to get as many participants as
possible—anybody interested in connecting with folklorists and the folklore
enterprises of other places. Please come share your ideas.
Another important event is the Executive Board Welcome Breakfast for First Time Attendees, International
Participants, and Stipend Recipients, held Thursday,
7:00—8:00 AM in the lobby. This is a great opportunity to meet the people
who put the meeting together, to meet Board members, to get a brief orientation
to the rest of the meeting, and to have a free breakfast!
all sorts of other opportunities throughout the meeting. If you are a student,
for example, there is a Fellows Reception for Students on Friday evening, 6:00-7:30 PM (in Sweeney
C)—an excellent chance to talk one-on-one with senior scholars. And we also
encourage you all to attend the Opening Ceremonies on Wednesday evening
and the Candidates' Forum and Business Meeting on Saturday.
Safe travels and we look forward to seeing you in Santa Fe.