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AFS Review: Notes

AFS Cultural Diversity Committee Celebrates Milestone at 2019 Annual Meeting

Saturday, September 28, 2019   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Lorraine Cashman

Join AFS as we commemorate the 25th anniversary of the founding of the Cultural Diversity Committee. As a standing committee of the Board, the CDC has been engaged in promoting diversity, inclusion, and equity concerns across the academic, community and national fronts. The work of the CDC is critical as we continue to engage with local communities and shift the social justice lens inward to address questions about race and systemic privilege within our own Society. In Baltimore, the CDC will recognize the groundwork of the past 25 years and look forward to continued strengthening of the diversity and vibrancy of AFS.

The CDC is sponsoring the following sessions and events at this year’s annual meeting:

Notable Folklorists of Color: Remembering Our Ancestral LegaciesAn Exhibition Marking  the 25th Anniversary of the Cultural Diversity Committee. Wed., 2:00 pm–Sat., 12:00 pm, Atrium, 2nd floor

On the 25th anniversary of the Cultural Diversity Committee, AFS highlights 25 scholars of color, "ancestors" whose significant contributions expanded research in folkloristics and laid a foundation for folkloristic work by people of color in communities of color. 

Welcome Reception and Recognition of 25 Years of Cultural Diversity Efforts. Cash bar. Wed., 6:30–8:30 pm, Atrium, 2nd floor

Join us for this annual celebration of old friends and newcomers. This year we also honor the work of those who founded and have served on AFS cultural diversity initiatives. Music by Prem Raja Mahat and his Nepalese Orchestra.

Celebration: Dance Party with Junious Brickhouse and Friends. Cash bar. Wed., 9:00–11:00 pm, Harborview, 2nd floor

What are we celebrating? Baltimore, our annual gathering, new attendees, and the 25th anniversary of the launch of the Diversity Task Force. Join Junious Brickhouse, local community artist, activist, and member of the AFS Baltimore local planning committee, as he puts together an opening night dance party. We’ve got a way to go, but a lot to celebrate.

01-03 Object Lessons for Teaching Intersectionality and Folklore. Thu., 8:00–10:00 am, Constellation D, 2nd floor

This forum explores ways that intersectionality—the idea that systems of oppression based on race, gender, class, and other marginalized identities are interconnected and better addressed together—can enhance analysis and interpretation of the particular cultural and social forms scrutinized by folklorists. Meant to serve as an invitation to pedagogical possibilities, the forum provides five “object lessons” for teaching folklore and intersectionality, followed by discussion and audience participation aimed at formulating additional lessons.

02-03 Centering Our Praxis in Community Restoration: The Critical Work of Community Scholars, Activists, and Public Folklorists of Color on Cultivating, Healing, and Revitalization of Communities of Color through Folklore and Community Arts
Thu., 10:15 am–12:15 pm, Constellation D, 2nd floor

Within communities of color in cities such as Baltimore, many community scholars/activists and some public folklorists of color center their work in restoring and revitalizing the communities in which they work and live. Grounding their work in the rich traditional knowledges of these often ignored and maligned communities, these folklorists and community scholars/activists of color intentionally implement the power of traditional knowledges to mitigate and repair the impacts of histories of trauma, erasure, neglect, and oppression. Presenting folklorists implementing restorative and healing praxis through storytelling, visual arts/material culture, performance and worldviews, this session will examine the significance of this work.

03-03 Black Storytelling and Cultural Preservation: The Legacy of Mama Linda Goss
Thu., 2:00–4:00 pm, Constellation D, 2nd floor

This forum will focus on the impact and legacy of Master Storyteller Linda Goss, aka Mama Linda, an elder and visionary in the tradition of storytelling and a pioneer in Black storytelling. The inestimable work Linda Goss has done to pave the way for future storytellers solidifies her place in the hearts and minds of national and international storytellers and the general public, who continue to be uplifted by her work on and off the stage. Forum participants include Caroliese Frink Reed, Karen “Queen Nur” Abdul-Malik, Saundra Gilliard, Janice Curtis Greene, and Linda Goss.

05-04 Hidden Everywhere: Disability in Folklore. Fri., 10:15 am–12:15 pm, Columbia, 2nd floor

This forum will be an opportunity to circulate ideas about disability in the field of folklore. Participants include individuals for whom disability is a prime focus of their work, or it is woven into their life’s experience, or they stumbled into disability stories via fieldwork on a completely different topic. Disability communities offer ways of knowing, engaging, and understanding the world that can provide new insights and questions for folklore. Participants will discuss assumptions that go into the study and framing of folklore about bodies. The panel will touch on fieldwork ethics and relationships, language and communication, ways of processing information, and the nature of performance.

AFS Cultural Diversity Committee Brown Bag Welcome Lunch. All are welcome, Fri., 12:45–1:45 pm, Columbia, 2nd floor

Take the opportunity to meet members of the Cultural Diversity Committee; learn more about the issues they are currently addressing; add your voice and join the conversation about what we can all do collectively to reimagine a more inclusive folklore theory, practice, and Society for the 21st century.

06-04 African American Dollmaking and Puppetry: Renegotiating Identity, Restoring Community. Fri., 2:00–4:00 pm, Columbia, 2nd floor

African American artisans utilize ancient skills and innovative technologies to create dolls and puppets that are both whimsical and starkly serious. Their creations—incorporating clay, textiles, wood, glass, and found objects—embrace the somber reality of African American experiences and optimism for a boundless future. Working alone and in communities these artisans create dolls and puppets that articulate Black beauty, strength, style, spirituality, and truth. Their works, embodying older traditions and innovative vocabularies for storytelling, are designed to amuse, educate, and heal.

07-04 Cultural Diversity Committee: Retrospective at 25 Years. Sat., 8:00–10:00 am, Columbia, 2nd floor

A retrospective offers a chance to look back and consider struggles and accomplishments. As the American Folklore Society commemorates twenty-five years of the Cultural Diversity Committee, this forum offers an opportunity for reflection and dialogue with the folklorists that formulated the critical questions around culture, diversity, and inclusivity. This work centered and formalized the work of a committee to seek the answers and solutions for a more representative AFS.

08-04 The Future of the Cultural Diversity of the American Folklore Society. Sat., 10:15 am–12:15 pm, Columbia, 2nd floor

Building a diverse and inclusive folklore society and profession is a long-term commitment requiring institutional support, widespread buy-in, and inclusive methodologies, theories, and praxis. Our panelists reflect on the current state as well as the future of cultural diversity and inclusion in AFS and the field of folklore; specifically, our panelists consider the critical work that the Cultural Diversity Committee has been engaged in. What are current and anticipated future challenges to opening AFS and folkloristics to more expansive and deeper inclusion? Panelists will discuss recent and forthcoming projects, publications, and collaborations that may be pointing us in new directions.

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