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Tom Green

Tom GreenTom Green, Associate Professor, Anthropology Department and Religious Studies Program, Texas A&M University (1978-present)

Education and Accomplishments: PhD, Anthropology/Folklore (1974), M.A. English (1969), B.A., English (1967) University of Texas. Previous positions: English, University of Delaware; Anthropology, Idaho State University. Teaching Fields: Method and theory, narrative, festival, drama, martial culture, Native North America, African-America. Current field research: Vernacular martial arts (African America, Northern China). Public sector: "World Combat Games” (SportAccord International), Texas Education Agency, Southwest Educational Development Laboratories, Director, First State Folk Festival (Delaware). Service to AFS: Film Review Editor, Journal of American Folklore; Editor, Folk Drama Issue, JAF; Program Co-Chair.  Awards: Distinguished Achievement in Teaching (1990, 2009); Best Reference Source 1997, Outstanding Academic Book 1998, Outstanding Reference Source (1999, 2002). Selected Books: Martial Arts of the World: An Encyclopedia of History and Innovation (2010). The Greenwood Library of World Folktales (2008), Martial Arts in the Modern World (2003). Folklore: An Encyclopedia of Beliefs, Customs, Tales, Music, and Art (1997); 80+ shorter pieces in publications including JAF, JFR, Genre, Semiotica, Western Folklore.

Statement: Today, folklore, among other disciplines in the humanities and arts, and their manifestations in the public sector, is challenged to demonstrate relevance. As budgets tighten, academic programs and public agencies that cannot justify their budget lines are consolidated, cannibalized, or eliminated. In order to address these continuing issues, if elected to the Executive Board, I would maintain a focus on three core values of the Society: eclecticism, internationalism, and advocacy. As a Society we must make clear the ways in which our disciplinary eclecticism allows us to offer unique solutions to cultural conundrums. In anthropology, English, history, and performance studies, folklorists are equally at ease with the quantitative and the qualitative. We can bring the methods of social science to address humanistic concerns. In my own case, I collaborate with colleagues in anthropology and literary criticism, scholars who label themselves sport sociologists, kinesiologists, cultural geographers, and historians. As much as possible, I have attempted to form these associations (whether as co-author, editorial board member, or program committee member) with European, Latin American, and Asian colleagues. AFS initiatives such as its China-US programs require us to support international cooperation and to extend such joint endeavors. In the area of advocacy, long before the term Intangible Cultural Heritage was coined, Ben Botkin advocated the documentation of folklore "to let the people speak in their own voice.” In an era when agencies, even the National Endowment for the Arts, that support the traditional arts are threatened by funding cuts, it is imperative that the Society stands fast in its advocacy for the folk, their arts and those institutions in the academic and public sectors that seek to interpret and preserve traditional heritage.

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