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AFS Folklore and Science Section Invites Submissions to Paper Award

Thursday, October 10, 2019   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Alexandra Sanchez

A paper prize with travel support to present at the AFS Annual Meeting is being offered by the Folklore and Science Section to further the section’s stated mission of exploring the relationships among folklore and science, whether those domains are conceived as academic fields, world-views, practices, or discursive framings. The prize of $750 with additional $250 in available travel support will be awarded to the scholarly paper (~20 pages, fully documented) that best explores the intersections of folklore and science. The competition is open to undergraduates, graduate students, and postgraduates at any level. Findings from the winning paper should be presented at the next annual conference of the American Folklore Society.

The Folklore and Science Section and its members are committed to initiating and perpetuating dialogue across various disciplines and traditions, including the academic fields of agriculture, animal behavior, ecology, engineering, history and philosophy of science, information science, medicine, physics, political science, psychology, and public policy, as well as other fields concerned with cognition, physiology, technology, and the health of living systems more generally. The section places experimental science and scientific modeling in conversation with insights offered by its disciplinary orientations toward history, philosophy, rhetoric, phenomenology, performance, ethnography, and applied action, in order to better investigate how folklore and science inform, maintain, contest, and complement each other. The following list suggests the kinds of scholarship that will be considered for the Prize:

  • Articulates the differences and similarities between knowledge marked as folk or as scientific;
  • Encourages transdisciplinary research and the coproduction of knowledge by applying folkloristic theories and methods to scientific problems and by employing scientific theories and methods to understand vernacular culture;
  • Investigates the social relationships constructed by the enterprise of science, including the designation of scientific expertise, especially in relation to gender, class, ethnicity, and region;
  • Examines vernacular adoptions or rejections of science and scientific expertise;
  • Contributes to work that complicates a vision of science as the authoritative word on what can be known, by illuminating the ways that people grant authority to alternate epistemologies and modes of knowledge production;
  • Explores how vernacular/customary perspectives and practices influence the development and communication of scientific knowledge;
  • Examines the experiential realities embedded in verbal expressive forms (e.g., myth, proverb, legend), as well as the ways abstract truths are explored through observation-based metaphor;
  • Advances holistic sustainability science research and participatory action research;
  • Experiments with collaborative, multidisciplinary formations (e.g., “Cultural Ecosystem Services,” “Social-Ecological Systems,” “Environmental Humanities,” “Civic Agriculture”) that explore the human and multispecies dimensions of phenomena long studied in the physical and life sciences;

The deadline for applications is February 1, 2020. To submit, please send (as a single PDF) a cover letter and your paper, attached to an email, to AFS Executive Director Jessica Turner at

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