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AFS Seeks Current or Recent Graduate Student Applicants for China-Japan-US Summer Folklore Institute

Friday, April 14, 2017   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Tim Lloyd
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American Folklore Society • China Folklore Society • Folklore Society of Japan 2017 Summer Institute on Folklore and Intangible Cultural Heritage

Topic: Continuity and Change in Rural Folk Traditions

Pending final approval from the Inner Mongolia Provincial Ministry of Education, the American Folklore Society invites applications from US graduate students and recent MAs or PhDs in folklore studies for a summer 2017 folklore-studies institute in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region of the People’s Republic of China.

The Institute, made possible by the generous support of the Henry Luce Foundation and of a number of local sponsors in China, will focus on case studies of continuity and change in rural traditions (including rural traditions transported to new homes by migrants and refugees) in China, Japan, and the US, and will also provide an introduction to the history of folklore studies in each country. Students and faculty will divide their time among class presentations, field visits, and informal discussions.

Dates and Places: July 15-27, 2017 (travel days July 13-14 and 28), Hailar Urban District, Hulun Buir region, and Evenki Autonomous Banner, Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, People’s Republic of China. The Institute is expected to include two days of orientation in Beijing, six days of classroom activities and discussions at Hailar College, and five days of field experiences in rural agricultural areas of the Hulun Buir region and the Evenki Autonomous Banner.

Faculty: Three Chinese faculty, two Japanese, and three Americans will participate.

Students: The China Folklore Society and Folklore Society of Japan are selecting students from those two countries. AFS will accept three current US graduate students or recent MAs or PhDs (in the last two years) in folklore studies. US participants must be AFS members, must already have valid passports with at least one year of remaining validity, and will need to obtain China visas (with AFS assistance).

Purposes, Requirements, and Expectations: The purposes of the Institute are to provide focused classroom and field learning experiences on the Institute topic; to educate early-career folklore studies professionals about folklore and ICH scholarship and public practice as it is carried out in China, Japan, and the US; and to build relationships and networks (guanxi in Chinese) among folklorists in those three countries. No grades or academic credit will be given, but you will be expected to participate actively in presentations, discussions, and field activities; to work in a small group with other students and faculty on a presentation to be made on the last day of the Institute; and to submit a written evaluative report within one month of the Institute.

If you are accepted, AFS will give you background information and recommendations about culturally appropriate professional and personal behavior in China. We will expect you to follow those recommendations, as a way to learn through experience in the local culture, to support the AFS-CFS-FSJ partnership, and to exhibit respect and appreciation for our hosts, all of which will help you build guanxi. 

Language: English will be the primary language for the Institute, and all students should be proficient English speakers and listeners. Faculty presentation Power Points will include translations into Chinese, English, and Japanese, and translators will be present to assist with all Institute communications.

Cost: Support from the Henry Luce Foundation and from various sources in China will cover students’ international and domestic travel, hotel, meal, visa, and local transportation costs. Other personal expenses will be the responsibility of each student.

Health, Well-Being, and Dietary Considerations: This will be an intensive, immersive experience, and may not be right for every individual. In order to be able to participate fully in the Institute, you must be able to take part in long days of work, to climb frequent stairs, and to walk a mile on uneven ground without difficulty. We will not always be near specialized medical facilities, so if you have a chronic condition that may require rapid medical attention, this may not be the program for you. We are likely to be visiting farms, where you are likely to come into contact with (or at least to be near) farm animals. You should be prepared to use squat toilets. You should be an adventurous eater, open to new culinary experiences and with few dietary restrictions. In particular, meat and a wide variety of dairy products are very prevalent in the Mongolian diet. We cannot guarantee that your food will never have been in contact with meat products, nuts, or nut products. Ritualized social drinking of strong alcohol is part of the Chinese cultural experience. Although there are culturally appropriate and respectful ways of declining invitations to join in these rituals, you should be aware that our hosts will encourage you to take part, and that doing so is another way to build guanxi.

To Apply: Send a letter outlining your relevant background and interests and describing why you want to take part in the Institute, and a current CV, to AFS Executive Director Dr. Timothy Lloyd at no later than May 14, 2017. Have questions? Use that same email address. We will announce acceptances at the end of May.

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American Folklore SocietySister Society: SIEF
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