Dorothy Noyes, Professor, Departments of English and Comparative Studies, The Center for Folklore Studies, The Mershon Center for International Security Studies, The Ohio State University
BA Indiana 1983; PhD Penn 1992. Researcher, Philadelphia Folklore Project, 1987-1989. Author, Uses of Tradition: Arts of Italian Americans in Philadelphia (PFP 1989); Fire in the Plaça: Catalan Festival Politics After Franco (Penn 2003); Humble Theory: Folklore's Grasp on Social Life (Indiana 2016); Sustaining Interdisciplinary Collaboration: A Guide for the Academy (with Regina F. Bendix and Kilian Bizer, Illinois in press). Director, OSU Center for Folklore Studies 2005-2014; established Graduate Interdisciplinary Specialization in Folklore. AFS past: Fellow since 2005; Executive Board; Chair, International Committee; Chair, Teagle Lay and Expert Knowledge Working Group. SIEF Executive Board; created H-Folk listserv; Göttingen Interdisciplinary Working Group in Cultural Property; mentor, Folklore Studies in a Multicultural World.
Democracy and the planet are both deeply compromised. AFS can do consequential work in the world, recruit a committed, diverse next generation, and expand our job opportunities if we can figure out how to scale up our deep experience with communities in order to make common cause for the platforms that sustain us all. There are two interlocking tasks, each building on AFS research and policy initiatives of recent years. First, to synthesize the field's accumulated learning on vernacular strategies, with their potential and limitations. Of special interest: bricolage and stewardship of limited resources; coexistence (and resistance thereto) in tight quarters; the relationship of common sense to common sensing. Second, to leverage our diversity of stances by fostering constant conversations on these matters among archivist-curators, public practitioners, academics, and not least community members. Much can be done through our existing venues, but we might also apply for grants to develop a model for such collaborations, creating incidental material opportunities: research positions for junior folklorists, sabbaticals for public and independent folklorists, training sessions in public communication for talky academics (ahem). Identifying our best opportunities for intersecting with community initiatives, big-data social scientists, the policy world, and the media, we would bring in interdisciplinary collaborators and community partners for follow-up phases geared to specific applications. Some of these might be international, others highly local: we should experiment with different scales. AFS has done much lately to make us more than the sum of our parts; the world these days demands it.