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AFS Review: Notes

AFS President's Welcome to 2019 AFS Annual Meeting

Wednesday, October 9, 2019   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Lorraine Cashman

Dear colleagues,

We are thrilled to welcome you to our 131st Annual Meeting with a program that exemplifies our meeting theme, “Community Driven.”

We are proud to be assembling in Baltimore, a city of lively communities working to craft a common future with the tools of tradition, and we are honored  by the participation of colleagues from the Baltimore area  who will share their work and reflections from years of local engagement. Be sure to see the Welcome from the Local Planning Committee for a preview of the rich program of sessions and events that explore and celebrate this work.

This year marks an important Society celebration: that of the 25th anniversary of the Cultural Diversity Task Force that grew into our current, standing Cultural Diversity Committee. We invite you all to attend the reception immediately after the Opening Ceremony on Wednesday, as well as the seven CDC-sponsored meeting sessions. These revisit the struggles, accomplishments, and ongoing challenges of seeking diversity and inclusivity within the Society, the field, and beyond as well as modelling current strategies for pedagogy and activist praxis.

In keeping with the meeting theme, this year's sessions are heavily focused on the conduct of community dialogues with cultural and academic institutions; sessions integrate reflective, ethical, and practical concerns in a range of important milieux. The centrality of these longstanding folkloristic concerns to the humanities as a whole is highlighted by our Thursday plenary. We are delighted to welcome Jon Parrish Peede, Chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities, who will address " Fostering Driven Communities: Engaging the Public through Cultural Heritage and Traditional Knowledge."

A range of sessions responded to a call for ideas that would cut across subfields and bring new interlocutors together: I call your attention to "Precarity and the Study of Folklore" (3-04), "Generation and Migration: Young Adults in Transit" (2-07), and "Myths as Stories" (6-03). Emerging specializations are represented in the new Folklore and Science section and disciplinary reconfigurations are examined in the Fellows forum "Folklore's Animal, Vegetal, and Mineral Turns: Twenty Questions for Our Field" (4-03, 5-03). “Hidden Everywhere: Disability in Folklore” (05-04) explores how disability communities offer ways of knowing, engaging, and understanding the world that can provide new insights and questions for folklore. With new interlocutors and topics come new conversational frameworks: a first-time "Festival of Ideas" to encourage free-flowing exchanges and a new "Sounding Board" session format that creates space to solicit feedback on work in progress.

Our last Baltimore meeting (my first), in 1986, featured the transformative "Folklore and Feminism" panels. This year we acknowledge one of the key movers in that transition with two sessions in honor of Beverly Stoeltje (2-09 and 3-09). We listen to Peggy Bulger and Olivia Cadaval reflect on their contributions to the field (06-03 and 8-03); we welcome Ruth Finnegan and David Hufford back for invited lectures; we honor Pete Seeger's centenary; we present Dan Ben-Amos with a Festschrift; and, reminding us of the internationalist commitments of the field, we pay homage to Jim Bailey's role in post-Soviet cultural bridge-building (9-14).   

Balancing our attention to our elders, we welcome a large contingent of newcomers: about a third of attendees are first-time attendees from across Maryland and the country, new grad students, new international participants, and professionals from neighboring fields who can bring fresh perspectives to our ongoing conversations. We are especially pleased to welcome three former interns from our DC folklife agencies, whose attendance has been facilitated through an initiative of Past President Kay Turner.

And if this overwhelming energy demands release, for the first time we offer daily Recess! Thanks to all of who have contributed so much good will and ingenuity to weave this meeting together: we will see you very soon!

Dorothy Noyes

President, The American Folklore Society


The following events are sponsored by the American Folklore Society:

Plenary sessions

  • Opening Ceremony. Wed., 5:00–6:00 pm, Constellation A/B, 2nd floor
  • Candidates’ Forum, Thursday, October 17, 4:15 pm–5:00 pm, Constellation A/B, 2nd floor
  • AFS Award Ceremony, Thu., 5:00–5:30 pm, Constellation A/B, 2nd floor
  • Plenary Address: Jon Parrish Peede, Chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Thu., 5:30–6:00 pm, Constellation A/B, 2nd floor
  • Time of Remembrance. Sat., 4:15–4:45 pm, Constellation A/B, 2nd floor
  • AFS Business Meeting. Sat., 4:45–5:45 pm, Constellation A/B, 2nd floor
  • Presidential Lecture. Sat., 6:00–7:00 pm, Constellation A/B, 2nd floor

New this year

  • Exhibit: Notable Folklorists of Color—Remembering Ancestral Legacies of the Cultural Diversity Committee on its 25th Anniversary. Wed., 2:00 pm–Sat., 12:00 pm, Atrium, 2nd floor
  • Get to Know AFS and the Annual Meeting. Harborview, 2nd floor
  • Executive Board’s Coffee with First-Time Attendees. Fri., 7:15–8:30 am, Pisces, 15th floor

Receptions and social events

  • Welcome Reception and Recognition of 25 Years of Cultural Diversity Efforts. Cash bar. Wed., 6:30–8:30 pm, Atrium, 2nd floor
  • Celebration: Dance Party with Junious Brickhouse and Friends. Cash bar. Wed., 9:00–11:00 pm, Harborview, 2nd floor
  • Legacy Council. For invited participants only, Thu., 12:15–1:45 pm, Pisces, 15th floor

Information sessions

  • Executive Director’s Breakfast with Section Conveners. For invited participants only. Thu., 7:00–8:00 am, Pisces, 15th floor
  • Ask about Grants. Thu., 11:30 am–4:00 pm; Fri., 1:00–4:00 pm; Constellation Foyer, 2nd floor
  • Ask about SIEF. Thu. and Fri., 2:00–3:00 pm, Constellation E/F, 2nd floor
  • Workshop: Crowd-Sourced and Community Driven—An AFS Wikipedia Edit-a-thon. Fri., 12:30–1:45 pm, President, 1st floor


  • 01-15 Diamond Session: Material Culture and Heritage Studies in Northern Guangxi, China: Ethnographic Reports from the China-U.S. Folklore and Intangible Cultural Heritage Project. Thu., 8:00–10:00 am, President, 1st floor
  • 02-14 Grant Workshop for Folklorists and Public Folklore Programs. Thu., 10:15 am–12:15 pm, Conway, 1st floor
  • 06-03 A Conversation with Olivia Cadaval. Fri., 2:00–4:00 pm, Constellation D, 2nd floor
  • 08-03 A Conversation with Peggy Bulger. Sat., 10:15 am–12:15 pm, Constellation D, 2nd floor
  • 09-03 #MeToo, Take Two. Sat., 2:00–4:00 pm, Constellation D, 2nd floor







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