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Women's Section

The Women's Section was convened more than 25 years ago as folklorists (primarily women) felt the need to meet other feminists, and to address the lack of serious study of women's issues in the field of folklore. Thanks to the work of these first section members, and those that have followed, feminist contributions to the study of folklore are no longer rare nor overlooked. With more than 200 section members, the Women's Section is a substantial force in the American Folklore Society.

See Bibiography: Essential Texts for Women's Folklore Studies, a wiki page built by members of this section.

Croning Rituals

In addition to providing a forum for the discussion of women’s issues, the Women’s Section also has sponsored periodic cronings of women members of the Society when they reach the age of 50, holding croning ceremonies every few years at Section meetings. The structure of these ceremonies has varied from time to time and involved elaborate costuming, ritual, joking, and singing. Thus, in addition to its other functions, the Section has provided a playful way of celebrating how women age and of celebrating senior women in the Society, while also making the point that folklorists recognize the great importance of coming-of-age rituals. The next croning is scheduled for 2016.

Polly Stewart Student Travel Stipend

Each year, the Women's Section awards a travel stipend to one or more students to attend the American Folklore Society meeting. If enough qualified applications are received, the Section awards a First Place Prize of $500 and a Second Place Prize of $300 in the hopes of facilitating participation in the annual meeting by emerging scholars who show promise of furthering the study of women’s folklore, gender issues in folklore, and/or feminist approaches to the study of folklore. The award supports travel costs (transportation, meeting registration, lodging and/or per diem expenses) for students or recent graduates who are members of the AFS Women’s Section and who plan to attend the annual meeting and present her/his work.

The deadline for submission via email is midnight, June 25. The recipient is announced in late July. Recipients are required to attend the business meeting of the Women’s Section during the AFS conference, where they are acknowledged and asked to briefly describe their participation.

Elli Köngäs-Maranda Prize

Each year, the Women’s Section of the American Folklore Society awards two prizes in honor of pioneering scholar Elli Köngäs-Maranda. The prizes recognize superior work on women’s traditional, vernacular, or local culture and/or feminist theory and folklore. The content of the nominations must focus on some aspect of women's folklore. See past recipients.

EKM Student Prize

  • for an undergraduate or graduate student paper (up to 30 pages in length)
  • entrants must either be currently enrolled in a degree program as of the submission deadline or have been enrolled within the previous academic year
  • carries an award of $100
  • submission deadline October 1
  • may be submitted as either hard copy or (preferably) e-mail attachment

EKM Professional/Non-Student Prize

  • eligible work includes: publications, films, videos, exhibitions or exhibition catalogues, or sound recordings
  • materials should have been published/produced no more than two years prior to the submission deadline
  • carries an award of $250
  • submission deadline (postmarked) July 31
  • please submit three copies of books, videos, etc.

Awards will be announced at the annual meeting of the American Folklore Society. Prize recipients need not be members of the Society.

Women's Section Quilt Women’s Section Quilt

This quilt was made to benefit the Elli Kongas-Maranda Prize, 1993 – 1995.

Members of the Women's Section made the blocks.

The quilt was designed and pieced by Laurel Horton and Jane Przybysz, and quilted by the Fairview United Methodist Church Quilters of Camden, Arkansas.

Women’s Section Contact Information:

Senior Convener: Kerry Kaleba

Junior Convener: Ruth Olson

Email Distribution List Administrator: Elizabeth Adams

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American Folklore SocietySister Society: SIEF
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