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Now is the Time for Submissions for the Chicago Folklore Prize

Monday, January 28, 2013   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Lorraine Cashman
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Now is the time of year when submissions for the Chicago Folklore Prize begin swamping the AFS office, the numerous packages forming precarious stacks that teeter from the corners.  The Prize has named the year’s best book-length work in folklore scholarship since 1904, though AFS took over the administrative responsibility for the prize from the University of Chicago only since 2006.

The Prize originated in 1904, not long after the International Folklore Association, which began life as the Chicago Folklore Society and was headquartered in that city, became defunct. Bill McNeil and Simon Bronner, who have researched the early institutional history of folklore studies in America, have found evidence indicating that at least a portion of the IFA’s remaining funds were used to endow the Chicago Folklore Prize. Until 2006, when co-administration duties were granted to AFS, the prize continued to be administered entirely by various units of the University of Chicago.  Unfortunately, we have not yet located comprehensive records of the prize’s recipients, and can find only a few citations for the period between 1904 and 1998.  AFS would welcome any information its members might have that could help us fill in this information gap.

Each year, we welcome nominations for the prize between January 1st and April 1st. Submissions must be monographs (i.e., not edited volumes, and not reprints) published in the fifteen months before the April 1st deadline (in other words, to be eligible for the 2013 Prize, works must have been published between January 1, 2012, and April 1, 2013). All submissions are judged by a committee of folklore scholars representing  different aspects of the field and who have a variety of specialties and interests, judge all submissions. The committee is asked to interpret "folklore” broadly; as a result, past winners have come from a range of disciplines, including folklore, anthropology, cultural studies, ethnomusicology, literary studies, cultural geography, sociology, and performance studies. 

Typically, submissions for the Chicago Folklore Prize come from publishers; authors who want their work to be considered for the prize should contact their publisher's marketing department to make sure that four copies of the text are sent to the American Folklore Society at the address below.  Submissions received after the deadline will not be considered. Please contact AFS Executive Director Timothy Lloyd at with any questions.

The winner of the Prize receives a modest cash prize and a certificate, and is announced each year at the opening of the AFS annual meeting.

A list of previous winners (since 1998) of this significant award is available by clicking here.  

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