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AFS Review: News

AFS Explains "What is Folklore?" in Response to Taylor Swift's New Album Release

Friday, July 24, 2020   (1 Comments)
Posted by: Alexandra Sanchez

AFS launched a "What is Folklore?" website and engaged in a social media response to sudden, widespread mainstream interest in the term that broke in response to the announcement of the July 24 release of an album by superstar Taylor Swift entitled "folklore."

Swift, a pop songwriter and performer, announced the surprise release 24 hours in advance of the album that she had worked on during the pandemic. Swift's announcement caused a frenzy on social media with many "Swifties," the thousands of fans of the singer-songwriter, using tags such as #folklore and #folkloreThursday on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter.

Though the term "folklore" immediately trended, many incomplete definitions of folklore began to circulate, disseminated by news outlets such as Refinery 29AFS saw this as an opportunity to promote folklore studies by also using social media and the wider inter-webs. AFS staff and members participated in the immediate social media response, and within days, AFS launched the new website to help educate the general public about the subject and field.

AFS President Norma Cantu states: 

What a gift Taylor Swift has given us with her new release, Folklore! We in the field of folklore know the power that lies in celebrating our traditions, our culture, and the daily ways we express who we are, the folk! Folklore is the knowledge of the folk. As a folklorist and as the current President of our national organization, the American Folklore Society, my goal is to share with those outside of our field, how critical folklore is to our everyday life. I am specifically aware of the impact of our cultural traditions during this time of a global pandemic and of the BLM movement. Our world will never be the same and folklore can be the stabilizing force, the vehicle through which we move through the shift as we enter the future.

AFS encourages its members to use this new website as a resource, not only when "folklore" trends, but whenever there is an opportunity to illustrate to the general public the breadth and depth of traditional expression in communities everywhere.


Stephen C. Siporin says...
Posted Thursday, July 30, 2020
Good work. But I'm curious--what does this album have to do with folklore?

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