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Joe Goodwin
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Joe Goodwin recently retired as assistant director of the Ball State University Career Center.

Education and Accomplishments: Joseph P. Goodwin earned a BA in English at the University of Alabama and an MA and a PhD in folklore at Indiana University. He has been a member of the AFS Executive Board, the board of the National Association for Job-Search Training, the Assembly of the Midwest Association of Colleges and Employers, and the Ball State University Senate. He has been editor of the journal of the International Society for Contemporary Legend Research and was Linda Dégh’s graduate assistant, which included being assistant editor of Indiana Folklore. He is the author of numerous journal articles and encyclopedia entries as well as More Man than You’ll Ever Be: Gay Folklore and Acculturation in Middle America (Indiana University Press, 1989). He was a member of the editorial board of the Qualia Encyclopedia of Gay People and has been a manuscript reviewer of books for several presses. Several years ago Qualia honored Polly Stewart and Joe by creating the “PoJo” awards for students’ research on Gay folklore. He was cofounder of the AFS LGBTQA Section, which he served as convenor or co-convenor for many years, and is also a member of the Women’s Folklore Section; the Politics, Folklore, and Social Justice Section; the Independent Folklorists Section; and the Newfolk Section. He was the second male croned by the Women’s Section. He recently retired as assistant director emeritus of the Ball State Career Center after 23 years, during which time he wrote a careers column for the AFS Newsletter.

Question: What is the greatest challenge or opportunity facing the field of folklore studies and how, as a Nominating Committee member, would you respond to it?

Response: I believe our field’s greatest challenge is employment for folklorists. My years of work in career planning and development can help our members learn to apply their skills beyond the academy. For example, I’ve long been the career coach for social workers and teachers, which could be valuable to folklorists seeking employment outside of or within a limited university job market. Folklore helps us understand cultural issues and human behavior in ways that we can contribute to many fields. It is important that we remember our history, that we be able to explain to others what folklore is and what folklorists do, and that we never forget our ethical responsibilities to the tradition bearers and their communities with whom we work. Part of that commitment is being able to identify our specialized skills and knowing how we can use them to benefit those who share their cultures with us. As one who bridges women’s, academic, public, independent, and LGBTQ folklore, I would seek to close the gaps among these communities. I bring experience as an educator, which can contribute to these efforts, as can my extensive background in editing and publishing. I hope to help our members understand the logistical and financial problems of last-minute venue changes for our meetings and the educational value of addressing political and social issues as we did in Denver in 1975 and Eugene in 1982.

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American Folklore SocietySister Society: SIEF
Eigenmann Hall, Indiana University, 1900 East Tenth Street, Bloomington IN 47406 USA
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