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2015 Honor, Award and Prize Recipients

American Folklore Society Honors

The following individuals received AFS lifetime achievement prizes for 2015:

  • Simon Bronner (Pennsylvania State University) received the AFS Kenneth Goldstein Award for Lifetime Academic Leadership, recognizing outstanding abilities and achievement by a living scholar in academic leadership relating to folklore
  • Elaine Lawless (University of Missouri) and Elliott Oring (California State University, Los Angeles, retired) received the AFS Lifetime Scholarly Achievement Award, given every year for outstanding accomplishments over a career of scholarship.
  • Charles Briggs (University of California, Berkeley) received the Américo Paredes Prize, recognizing excellence in integrating scholarship and engagement with the people and communities one studies.
  • Maida Owens (Louisiana Division of the Arts) received the Benjamin A. Botkin Prize for lifetime achievement in public folklore.

Jack Zipes (University of Minnesota, emeritus) received the Chicago Folklore Prize, given to the best folklore book of the year, for Grimm Legacies: The Magic Spell of the Grimms' Folk and Fairy Tales (Princeton University Press, 2014).

Rebecca Panovka (Harvard University) received the Zora Neale Hurston Prize for the best student work in any medium on African American folklore for her paper "The Literary Afterlife of African American Folklore."

The Fellows of the American Folklore Society named two new members: Marsha MacDowell (Michigan State University) and Elizabeth (Libby) Tucker (State University of New York, Binghamton)

Section Prizes

The Children's Folklore Section awards the Aesop Prize and Aesop Accolades each year to English-language fiction and nonfiction books for children and young adults. The 2015 Aesop Prize went to Rick Riordan for Percy Jackson’s Greek Heroes and Margi Preus for West of the Moon.

The 2015 Aesop Accolades went to:

  • Stephanie Shaw, The Legend of the Beaver's Tale
  • Gangu Bai, Tree Matters
  • Jim Aylesworth, My Grandfather's Coat

The Folk Arts Section awards the Warren E. Roberts Prize for the best undergraduate or graduate student paper on any aspect of folk art or material culture. The 2015 prize was awarded to Sidney Varajon (Western Kentucky University) for "'House of No Mo' Bats': Family Narrative and Architecture at the Neshoba County Fair."

The Folk Belief and Religious Folklife Section presented its 2015 William A. Wilson Undergraduate Student Paper Prize to Kylie Schroeder (Utah State University) for "Madison Ghost Walks: Supernatural Tourism in Wisconsin’s Capitol City." The section also presented its 2015 Don Yoder Graduate Student Prize to Lydia Bringerud (Memorial University of Newfoundland) for "Cleanliness is Next to Godliness: Eastern Orthodox Women and Proximity to the Sacrament."

The Folklore and Education Section awards the Dorothy Howard Prize to individuals and organizations whose work effectively encourages K–12 educators or students to use or study folklore and folkloristic approaches in all educational environments. The prize went to the Folk Arts-Cultural Treasures Charter School and the Philadelphia Folklore Project for the folk arts education curriculum entitled "A Teachers' Guide to a Whole-School Folk Arts Residency: Tibetan Sand Mandala Artist Losang Samten."

The Foodways Section awarded the 2015 Sue Samuelson Award for Foodways Scholarship to the best student paper on food and foodways. First place was awarded to Eric César Morales (Indiana University) for "Fire, Food, and Earth: The Tahitian ‘Ahima’a." Second place went to Christina Gooch (University of Oregon) for "A Road to Identity: The New Mexico Chile.” Honorable Mention went to Alicia Kristen (University of Oregon) for "Going for Doughboys in Little Rhody: Class, Place, and Nostalgia.”

The Independent Folklorists' Section and the Public Programs Section have awarded a travel stipend to Maria Angelica Rodriguez who traveled from Bogota, Colombia to present her documentary film La Viega Guardia about the salsa dance movement in Cali, Colombia. 

The Independent Folklorists' Section and the Women's Section have awarded a travel stipend to Joan Saverino of Philidelphia, PA, who presented her paper entitled "The Intimacy or Bread Making and the Social Space of the Bake Oven from Calabria, Italy to Appalachia."

The Music and Song Section reinstated the Bertrand Bronson prize this year, which was awarded to Traci Langworthy (Pennsylvania State University) for "The "Mournful” Ballad of James Bird: From Wartime Poetry to Peacetime Nostalgia."

The New Directions in Folklore Section awards the Bill Ellis Prize to the best graduate student essay that combines research and analysis on folklore, broadly construed, and digital culture, popular culture, or new media. This year’s prize was presented to Andrew Peck (University of Wisconsin, Madison) for "At the Modems of Madness: The Slender Man, Ostension, and the Digital Age."

The Nordic-Baltic Section awards the Boreal Prize for an outstanding article-length student essay on a folklore topic having to do with Northern Europe and/or the diasporas of its various peoples. The 2015 prize went to Amber Rose (University of Wisconsin–Madison) for "The Legend of the Witch in Scandinavia: Confessionalism, Gender, and Mediating Culture."

The Transnational Asia/Pacific Section awards the Jonathan T.Y. Yeh Memorial Student Prize to the best undergraduate or graduate student paper that contributes to Asian or Asian American folklore studies through research and analysis. This year's prize was awarded to Kati Fitzgerald (The Ohio State University) for "Nangsa Ohbum and Lama Shakya Gyaltsen as Manifestations of Chakrasamvara and Vajravarahi." 

The Women's Section has awarded its Elli Köngäs-Maranda Professional Prize for outstanding work on women's traditional, vernacular, and local culture and/or work on feminist theory and folklore to Kimberly J. Lau (University of California, Santa Cruz) for Erotic Infidelities: Love and Enchantment in Angela Carter’s The Bloody Chamber. Honorable mention went to Tyina Steptoe (University of Arizona) for "'Jody’s Got Your Girl and Gone': Gender, Folklore, and the Black Working Class." The Elli Köngäs-Maranda Student Prize went to Sallie Anna Steiner (University of Wisconsin, Madison) for "Woven Identities: The Making and Marketing of a Heritage Art in Jølster, Norway." 


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American Folklore SocietySister Society: SIEF
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