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People Are Remembering What Music Is Really For 0 A. Sanchez By Spencer Kornhaber-- "It was getting late on Sunday night. The cheers that wash over New York City at 7 p.m. every day for hospital workers had happened hours before. Inside, I was mainlining an HBO drama about doom and dissolution, as one does during a pandemic. Yet deep in my consciousness, a warm and familiar tune played. Sometimes in our lives / We all have pain … Of course: “Lean on Me” by the recently departed Bill Withers. It got louder. And louder. Turns out it wasn’t coming from my brain. A car outside, with its speakers turned up surely past any legal limit, rolled by with the slowness of an ice-cream truck. Who was driving? No idea. It wasn’t the first time a one-ride parade had bombarded a New York block with some song. But in this instance, it shook up my night, mood-wise. I looked out, I hummed, and I felt fellowship—with whoever was in that car, with the planet’s worth of people mourning Withers, and with the other neighbors on my street no doubt hearing the same thing. It was as close to a concert or club as I’ve come in almost a month. That’s not because of the music’s loudness; it’s because the music felt shared. ..." To continue reading, see: Spencer Kornhaber, "People Are Remembering What Music Is Really For," The Atlantic (April 9, 2020):    
by A. Sanchez
Monday, June 15, 2020
On Remote Fieldwork and “Shifting Gears” 0 A. Sanchez By Michelle Stefano-- "I find inspiration in anthropologist Ulf Hannerz’s characterization of ethnography as ‘the art of the possible’ and take from it the idea of doing the best with what you got. During this time when physical distancing is not only mandatory, but also compassionate, the ways in which we have tended to proceed in setting up and facilitating our fieldwork have been dealt a serious blow. The steps we take to develop relationships with field partners while hanging out, talking, and observing in the field have been disrupted. And opportunities to learn more, interview, and document perspectives, expressions, and stories have become less than ideal. From my couch I recently attended a final class presentation of an undergraduate course in ethnography through an online videoconferencing platform. The course set out in late January to work with food justice organizations in Baltimore and produce a podcast by its end. Students were planning to document related places and conduct in-depth, semi-structured interviews with staff, community leaders, and activists…then, come mid-March, they had to “shift gears,” as the course’s professor aptly put it.[1] And with great agility, the students did just that: they turned the ethnographic lens inward to their own families, homes, and neighborhoods to document the various roles food was playing in and near their lives – from its scarcity in stores, and transforming backyards into gardens, to learning traditional recipes from elders, and eating with distant relatives on religious holidays via Skype." ... To continue reading, see the Folklife Today.    Michelle Stefano, "On Remote Fieldwork and 'Shifting Gears,'” Folklife Today (May 15, 2020):
by A. Sanchez
Friday, May 15, 2020
How the Rich Reacted to the Bubonic Plague Has Eerie Similarities 0 A. Sanchez By Kathyrn McKinley, Professor of English at University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC)-- The coronavirus can infect anyone, but recent reporting has shown your socioeconomic status can play a big role, with a combination of job security, access to health care and mobility widening the gap in infection and mortality rates between rich and poor. The wealthy work remotely and flee to resorts or pastoral second homes, while the urban poor are packed into small apartments and compelled to keep showing up to work. ... To continue reading, see AlterNet.  Kathryn McKinley, "How the rich reacted to the bubonic plague has eerie similarities to today's pandemic," AlterNet (April 18, 2020):
by A. Sanchez
Friday, May 1, 2020
Ian Brodie's Classes on Andrea Kitta's "The Kiss of Death" on YouTube 0 A. Sanchez This video series compiles class lectures by Ian Brodie for his FOLK 2404 Urban Legends course at Cape Breton University. In these lectures, Brodie discusses Andrea Kitta's The Kiss of Death: Contagion, Contamination, and Folklore. View videos on Youtube. 
by A. Sanchez
Wednesday, April 8, 2020
Museums Scramble to Document the Pandemic, Even as It Unfolds 0 A. Sanchez By Lisa Abend-- Late Friday evening, Finland’s most populous region cut itself off from the rest of the country. By the time residents of Uusimaa, which includes the capital, Helsinki, and is home to more than half of Finland’s more than 1,300 coronavirus cases, awoke on March 28, roadblocks had been erected along its highways, and the police were out in force to prevent anyone from entering or exiting. This week, those police officers may notice a few observers tracking their efforts. The photographers and interviewers will not necessarily be journalists, but rather employees of the National Museum of Finland, attempting to capture the historic moment in real time. Around the world, the coronavirus outbreak has sent legions of emergency medical and health care workers into overdrive. But it has also meant work for a handful of curators and museum researchers in Europe, charged with tracking the events and implications of the crisis, even as it happens. Most of them do not know exactly how or when their findings will be used, but they are confident that future generations of museum workers — and visitors — will want the information.   ...   To continue reading, see The New York Times.    Lisa Abend, "Museums Scramble to Document the Pandemic, Even as It Unfolds," The New York Times (March 31, 2020):  
by A. Sanchez
Wednesday, April 1, 2020
Crescent City Monsters 0 A. Sanchez Crescent City Monsters is a graphic novel series from Dream Fury Comics publishing company. The story incorporates supernatural elements from different cultures. Along the way, you'll be introduced to monsters and characters inspired from African, European, and Native American myths, folklore, and religion. This blend is what the creators call Creole Magic. For more information, visit Dream Fury Comics.
by A. Sanchez
Wednesday, March 25, 2020
Harriet Tubman: Demon Slayer Comic 0 A. Sanchez Written and created by David Crownson and illustrated by Courtland Ellis, Harriet Tubman: Demon Slayer uses the history of the Moses of the slave era, and the folklore of the people to tell a creative and exciting story.  The first begins when slave owners can’t stop the formidable ninja warrior Harriet Tubman, they call on the help of vampires, werewolves, witches, and demons to stop her. Harriet Tubman must lead a family of slaves to freedom while battling an army of darkness. For more information or to purchase, see Comixology. 
by A. Sanchez
Wednesday, March 25, 2020
PARALLEL NARRATIVES 0 A. Sanchez PARALLEL NARRATIVES is a creative project that merges folk narrative and magic tales with oral history. A new digital storytelling platform for folks to participate remotely has been announced. Looking to delve into the fantastic, the surreal, the folkloric imagination? PARALLEL NARRATIVES invites people to share their life story in magical form. There are various ways to participate: collaborative groups, day-long workshops, remote sessions, or commissioning a custom audio piece. For more information, visit PARALLEL NARRATIVES. 
by A. Sanchez
Tuesday, March 24, 2020
North American Songster 0 A. Sanchez Folk song and ballad scholars have long understood the important role that cheap print (in the form of broadsides, songsters, and so on) played in the creation and dissemination of traditional materials, but we often lack the skills and detailed knowledge to properly assess its scope and impact on our field. With this in mind, you are invited to join North American Songster, a new public discussion list specifically aimed at facilitating communication between those with an interest in cheap print in the USA and Canada. To join, go to JISCMail.   Click on get a new LISTSERV password to set your password and follow instructions.
by A. Sanchez
Tuesday, February 25, 2020
Homo floresiensis and the Myth of the Ebu Gogo 0 A. Sanchez By Paige Madison, writer of Real Clear Science-- "An ancient legend from the Indonesian island of Flores speaks of a mysterious, wild grandmother of the forest who eats everything: the ‘ebu gogo’. According to folklore, such tiny, hairy people as her once roamed the tropical forests alongside modern humans, eating crops and sometimes even human flesh. For decades, ethnographers documented the tale, recording details of the ebu gogo’s mumbling speech to her long, pendulous breasts, all while assuming the story was simply a myth. The legend became viewed in entirely new light, however, when the bones of an equally small, previously unknown species of human relative was discovered deep in a cave on the very same island. The 2004 announcement of a new branch on the human evolutionary tree was astonishing, to say the least. Standing just over a meter tall, the hominin labelled Homo floresiensis had a small brain, the apparent ability to make arduous water crossings, and seemingly honed skills in making stone tools. Much of the species’ anatomy looked primitive, yet evidence for their behavior indicated an advanced, humanlike being. The hominin was so seemingly mythical that the research team drew from J R R Tolkien’s fictional world for its nickname: the hobbit." To continue reading, visit Real Clear Science. 
by A. Sanchez
Wednesday, February 5, 2020
Charlestown Fiddler Michael Cleveland Overwhelmed by Grammy Win 0 A. Sanchez By Scott Reynolds, writer for WDRB Media-- The shock of winning a Grammy on Sunday night in Los Angeles overwhelmed Charlestown, Indiana, fiddler Michael Cleveland. His album “Tall Fiddler” was named Bluegrass Album of the Year at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. “I had it all planned out—who I was going to thank and in what order," Cleveland told WDRB News. "Man, when you walk up there and they hand you that award, it all goes out the window. “I thanked people who weren’t even on the album. I really did. I thanked one guy, and I thought, 'He didn’t play on that album. He played on the last one.'” Cleveland, 39, started his work on stringed instruments at age 5 at the Kentucky School for the Blind in Louisville. He has been blind since birth. He credits his teacher for helping him with the classical Suzuki method, which focuses on aspects including parent responsibility, loving encouragement and constant repetition, according to the Suzuki Association of the Americas. … To continue reading, visit
by A. Sanchez
Monday, February 3, 2020
TRANSFORMATIONS Blog 0 A. Sanchez TRANSFORMATIONS is a medium through which dedicated and critical anthropologists put their thoughts, experiences, and research insights up for discussion using a full range of digital opportunities including text, images, audio, and video. The writers connect their research with themes of a broad public relevance, while also making the personal and often emotional act of research in social and cultural anthropology accessible to a wider audience. TRANSFORMATIONS aims for a creative, rich and accessible style of writing that is easy to understand, so that it can put people and their life-stories into the spotlight. See new blog posts here. 
by A. Sanchez
Wednesday, January 22, 2020
Preserving Nordic American Churches 0 A. Sanchez By Laurie Sommers, PhD— Partners for Sacred Places is pleased to announce the launch of our new website, Preserving Nordic American Churches. The website focuses on Danish, Finnish, Icelandic, Norwegian, and Swedish heritage churches and is an important expression of Partners’ work to lift the profile of historic sacred places. The project also includes links to painting, textiles, woodwork, food events, festivals, and recipes related to the work of the project. The centerpiece of the website is a searchable database of Nordic heritage churches in the Dakotas, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. We are launching with over 1500 Nordic heritage churches identified during the initial three years of our project. We will update and add information during this project’s second phase. This first-of-its-kind inventory demonstrates the variety of sacred places found across the region and will make it easier for scholars, practitioners, and members of the public to find them, visit them, support them, and preserve them. Additional website links provide context to the database and draw from project research and from Partners’ ongoing work to help congregations of historic sacred places better serve their communities as anchor institutions. We encourage you to use this resource to learn more about some amazing Nordic American churches, and to share this site with others who may be interested, such as congregations and nonprofits caring for these buildings, denominations, ethnic organizations, historic preservation professionals, and individuals interested in the history, architecture, and decorative arts of Nordic heritage churches in these six Upper Midwest states. In addition to our partners in State Historic Preservation Offices, archives, universities, and churches who provided important assistance, we also had folklore colleagues Troyd Geist, Hillary Virtanen, and Janet Gilmore on our advisory group.
by A. Sanchez
Wednesday, January 22, 2020
The Carrie Grover Project 0 A. Sanchez Julie Mainstone Savas, an AFS member, announced her new website: The Carrie Grover Project. By Julie Mainstone Savas-- "This is a free resource to over two hundred English, Irish, Scottish and Welsh folksongs and ballads sung and passed down through generations of Grover's own family. Immersed in traditional music and raised in a large musical family, Grover's collection delivers a broad range of songs Grover learned and sang in rural Nova Scotia in the late 1800s. The songs are available in downloadable pdf form, and the family stories, some dating back to the late 1700s, are presented in a podcast series that shines a light on the lives of very ordinary, hard working people and the music that entertained and sustained them. There is more music yet to be included on this site. Library of Congress recordings (songs and fiddle tunes), and podcasts will continue to be added in the coming weeks, so please come back to hear more."
by A. Sanchez
Wednesday, January 22, 2020
PREEEF Folklore Expeditions/Internships: Call for Particpants 0 J. Rouhier-Willoughby Fieldwork Opportunities in Slavic, Folklore, Ethnomusicology and Cultural Anthropology Scholarship and Internship Deadline Approaching Students and scholars in Slavic studies, folklore, ethnomusicology and cultural anthropology have until January 31, 2020 to apply for scholarships and internships for PREEEF programs in Russia, Siberia and Kazakhstan. The scholarship amount of $2000 supports participation in a folklore-collecting expedition led by a qualified Russian or Kazakh scholar. These expeditions are opportunities to establish international scholarly ties, improve language skills, and learn fieldwork techniques while conducting interviews, making video and audio recordings, serving as audiences and processing collected field materials.  Expedition teams are immersed in local customs, language and food. Fluency in the local language is helpful, but not required. The unpaid internship offers inexpensive housing in Moscow in exchange for 4-6 weeks with the Gorky Institute of World Literature, editing rough English translations of articles by Institute scholars. Interns acquire practical experience in scholarly publishing and receive guidance from IMLI staff for any personal research they wish to carry out in Moscow. Internships are offered only to PREEEF folklore expedition participants. Participation in expeditions is also open to volunteers.  Volunteers pay a fee which covers their accommodations, food and transportation during the expedition, plus a share of the team expenses.  Upcoming Folklore Expeditions: The Funeral of Stroma (rain-making ritual).  Nizhnii-Novgorod oblast. June 8-20           Dr. Yelena Minyonok, Gorky Institute of World Literature Okunevo – place of power (new-age spirituality in a traditional village).  Omsk oblast. July 1-10           Dr. Tatiana Saveljeva, Chelyabinsk State University  Legends, songs and holy springs (Russian folklore).  Altai Republic. July 10-23          Dr. Alevtina Tsvetkova,  Pavlodar State University (Kazakhstan) Where cultures meet  (Russian and Altain folklore).   Altai Republic. July 1-12           Dr. Yelena Minyonok, Gorky Institute of World Literature Manpupuner – Mountain of Idols (ancient site, contemporary beliefs), Sverdlovsk oblast. August 1-8         Dr. Tatiana Saveljeva, Chelyabinsk State University  Russian Old Believer folklore, Honey Savior festival.  East Kazakhstan. August 9-19       Dr. Alevtina Tsvetkova,  Pavlodar State University (Kazakhstan) Settling Siberia - folklore of Ukrainian and Belarusian settlers of Siberia.  Irkutsk oblast. Aug 21–Sep 4     Dr. Yelena Minyonok, Gorky Institute of World Literature Details:   All expeditions sponsored by Partnership for Russian, Eurasian and East European Folklore (PREEEF), formerly known as American Friends of Russian Folklore (AFRF) AFRF/PREEEF is an American 501(c)(3) organization now in its twelfth year supporting research in rural Russia, Eastern Europe, and Central Asia.
by J. Rouhier-Willoughby
Sunday, January 12, 2020
Another Problem with "Paranormal Investigators" 0 A. Sanchez By Stephen Olbrys Gencarella of The Tales They Tale Blog-- "A few weeks ago, my wife and I had the pleasure of meeting Sharon Hill and guiding her and a friend for a hike at Machimoodus State Park. Sharon is a geologist for the state of Pennsylvania—our hike was refreshingly punctuated by pauses to admire geological formations and artesian wells—and a science writer who has made a number of contributions to the public understanding of scientific inquiry and to the defense of critical thinking. Her biography includes an impressive litany of critiques of the paranormal and the pseudoscientific, including podcasts, websites, lectures, and articles in Skeptical Inquirerand other important bricks in the bulwark against unreason. Her recent book, Scientifical Americans: The Culture of Amateur Paranormal Researchers, is essential. I’ll review it on this website in the future, but do your brain a favor and read it today. ..." To continue reading this opinion essay, see The Tales They Tell.  
by A. Sanchez
Wednesday, October 30, 2019
Botanical Folk Medicines 0 A. Sanchez By Gerard Cheshire, Research Associate at the University of Bristol-- "The translation of a Medieval manuscript page has revealed the record of a rare Mediterranean medicinal plant, from Iberia. The plant Atropa baetica, which is now endangered and included on the IUCN Red List, with fewer than 150 specimens remaining.  The manuscript has 128 pages describing medicinal plants from the Mediterranean Basin and its environs, so it should be interesting to those studying botanical medicines of the region. This particular plant's toxins were used for cosmetics applications and as an abortifacient: to induce miscarriage as a form of contraception." Access the translation and additional information by using this link. 
by A. Sanchez
Monday, October 14, 2019
From the Editor: Friday the 13th and the Harvest Moon 0 A. Sanchez Michelle Karas writes an article about this year's Friday the 13th falling on the day of the Harvest Moon. In this article, she describes the significance of the Harvest Moon to farmers as well as theories, including one quote from Dr. Simon Bronner, a folklorist, to explain the sinister attributes to the number 13 and Fridays that fall on the 13th of a month. Read an excerpt below: By Michelle Karas-- "Friday the 13 is coming. To a calendar near you. This Friday falls on the 13th day of the month—a bad omen, some say. Why is that? To answer that, we’ll need to revisit the Last Supper. There were 13 guests: Jesus and his 12 apostles, the Bible states. This portentous gathering took place on a Thursday—later renamed Maundy or “Holy” Thursday. The day after the Last Supper, a Friday that would later become known as Good Friday, was the day Jesus was crucified. From those origins comes the notion that having 13 dinner guests is an unlucky number, and one that foreshadows death—especially on a Friday. Dr. Simon Bronner, distinguished professor emeritus of American Studies and Folklore at Penn State Harrisburg, told Time magazine in 2017 that “There’s a grain of truth to [the Last Supper theory], but the problem is that there is not much of a connection to the modern belief. “It may be a case of religious folklore that rose to explain a belief. Psychologists treat [the fear of Friday the 13th] as real, but my sense is that… it’s something to blame. I think it was a constructed belief.” ..." To continue reading, see Pike Peak Courier. Michelle Karas. “From the Editor: Friday the 13th and the Harvest Moon.” Pike Peak Courier. (September 11, 2019). <>  
by A. Sanchez
Friday, September 13, 2019
A Lost Work by Langston Hughes Examines the Harsh Life on the Chain Gang 0 A. Sanchez Steven Hoelscher writes about a recently rediscovered essay by Langston Hughes. In this article, he writes about Hughes' travels with Zora Neale Hurston in which an event of that trip provided the inspiration for this essay. This article also features the essay itself. Here is an excerpt from this article: "It’s not every daythat you come across an extraordinary unknown work by one of the nation’s greatest writers. But buried in an unrelated archive I recently discovered a searing essay condemning racism in America by Langston Hughes—the moving account, published in its original form here for the first time, of an escaped prisoner he met while traveling with Zora Neale Hurston. In the summer of 1927, Hughes lit out for the American South to learn more about the region that loomed large in his literary imagination. After giving a poetry reading at Fisk University in Nashville, Hughes journeyed by train through Louisiana and Mississippi before disembarking in Mobile, Alabama. There, to his surprise, he ran into Hurston, his friend and fellow author. Described by Yuval Taylor in his new book Zora and Langston as “one of the more fortuitous meetings in American literary history,” the encounter brought together two leading lights of the Harlem Renaissance. On the spot, the pair decided to drive back to New York City together in Hurston’s small Nash coupe. ..." Continue reading about Hughes’ lost work by using this link.   Steven Hoelscher. “A Lost Work by Langston Hughes Examines the Harsh Lief on the Chain Gang.” Smithsonian Magazine. (July 2019). <>
by A. Sanchez
Thursday, August 15, 2019
Interview with Anna Fariello, Author of “Craft & Community: JCCFS 1925–1945 0 A. Sanchez Cory Marie Podielski sits down for an interview with Anne Fariello, the author to a newly published book Craft & Community: John C. Campbell Folk School 1925-1945. In this interview, both women discuss Fariello’s interest in women in the craft revival that later directed her attention on the John C. Campbell Folklore School and her special project in organizing the Folk School archives among other topics such as Fariello’s Lifetime Achievement Award from the Southern Highland Craft Guild, her first published book Objects and Meanings, and where her initial interest in crafts stems from.   Here is an excerpt from the interview: “CP: Why did women play a large role in the craft revival? How has the role of women in craft changed since the days of Olive Dame Campbell? AF: Women played a major role in the craft revival; in fact, one might say it was a women’s movement. Up through the late 19th century, higher education for women was limited. Those who attended college, after graduation, found themselves closed out of professional occupations. Some of the more adventurous among them struck out on their own, leaving the comforts of their upbringing to settle among poorer peoples and, inadvertently, making professionally rewarding work for themselves. Appalachia is relatively close to northeastern cities and became a kind of “mission field” for those wanting to participate in what was then called the “uplift” movement. From my reading of their writings and diaries, however, I think that their purpose changed from an outward focus to the effect the work was having on themselves. Marguerite Butler is a good example. I think that her initial reason for moving to Kentucky was to work with the underprivileged but, once she got into the work, she felt personally empowered. No one really cared about these small rural communities; here, women could move into leadership roles and make their own decisions. This was not true of their home communities, in which they had responsibilities governed by propriety. …”   Check out the full interview by Cory Marie Podielski along with pictures from the archives by using this link. Podielski, Cory Marie. “Interview with Anna Fariello, Author of ‘Craft & Community: JCCFS 1925-1945.’” John C. Campbell Folk School. (July 24, 2019). <>  
by A. Sanchez
Tuesday, August 13, 2019

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