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Lisa Gabbert
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LISA GABBERT, Assistant Professor, Folklore and American Studies, Department of English; Associate Director, Folklore Program, Utah State University

Combined PhD Folklore & American Studies, Indiana University; MA Folklore & Mythology, UCLA; AB English Literature, Georgetown University. Member of AFS since 1993. Research interests: festival and play, landscape and place, and medical folklore. Teaching experience: Folklore and American Studies courses at Indiana University-Bloomington, IUPUI, and Utah State University. Public sector experience: intern, advisory, and paid positions with the Idaho Commission on the Arts, Traditional Arts Indiana, and the Utah Arts Council, and museum and public programming experience as the local organizer for the Utah showing of the Weavings of War, Fabrics of Memory exhibit. Publications: "For the Good of the Community”: Identity, Conflict and Change in a Western Winter Carnival (Utah State University Press, 2011); Special Issue of Western Folklore: Space, Place, Emergence (2007) edited with Dr. Paul Jordan-Smith; Folklore and Folk Arts in Idaho: An Educational Resource Guide (1997); Festivals! USA, a series of six non-fiction children’s books (Rosen Publishing Group, 1999); numerous academic essays in major journals, book chapters, and encyclopedia articles. Service: book review editor for Western Folklore; Administrative Vice-President, Western States Folklore Society; Secretary-Treasurer, Folklore Society of Utah; Folk Arts Panel Advisory member, Utah Arts Council; Advisory Board Member, Americana: The Journal of American Popular Culture; AFS Organizing Committee member (Boise); AFS Membership Committee member; Convener, AFS Women’s Section; Veterans History Project interviewing workshop leader. Awards: College Humanist of the Year, Utah State University (2010); Human Ties award, Utah Humanities Council (2008).

This is an exciting time to be a folklorist and a member of AFS. Digitization has revitalized archival use, electronic databases have widened the accessibility of folklore scholarship, and the ready availability of new media allow for the development of programming and products for diverse audiences that would have been impossible even ten years ago. The Open Folklore project, which offers open-access to a range of folkloristic work, is a recent example of new opportunities available. AFS also has been steadily increasing its presence in the international realm and in public policy. As a board member, I would support this work in order to keep AFS moving in these productive directions. At the same time, older issues—also important—remain: increasing the participation and visibility of women and minorities in the society, membership retention, and finding new means of financial support are areas in which there is still work to be done. A formal, organization-wide mentorship system available to everyone at all career levels and career types would resolve some of the diversity issues; models for such a system can be found in other scholarly societies. Additionally, undergraduate research is becoming increasingly important; finding ways to encourage more undergraduate participation at AFS and in folklore studies generally would contribute to our overall disciplinary health. Finally, we should look at professional and political societies that are successful in influencing policy decisions, such as the American Medical Association, for models on how to further the important work currently being done. As a member of the Executive Board, I would actively work towards these goals.

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American Folklore SocietySister Society: SIEF
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