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Mieder Awarded AFS Lifetime Scholarly Achievement Award

Friday, November 9, 2012   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Lorraine Cashman
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Wolfgang Mieder accepts the 2012 Lifetime Achievement Award We are pleased to announce that the 2012 recipient of the American Folklore Society Lifetime Achievement Award is Wolfgang Mieder.

Professor of German at the University of Vermont, Dr. Mieder is Mr. Proverb to many of us, having edited the journal Proverbium since 1984 and having authored such books as:

  • Proverbs are Never Out of Season (Oxford University Press, 1993)
  • The Politics of Proverbs (University of Wisconsin Press, 1997)
  • The Proverbial Abraham Lincoln (Peter Lang, 2000)
  • Proverbs: A Handbook (Greenwood Press, 2004)
  • Proverbs are the Best Policy: Folk Wisdom and American Politics (Utah State University Press, 2005)
  • Proverbs Speak Louder than Words (Peter Lang, 2008)
  • Yes We Can: Barack Obama’s Proverbial Rhetoric (Peter Lang, 2009)

But of course Wolfgang is no less accomplished in his research into folk speech and folk narrative, conversational genres, and poetry. In addition he has written several indispensible reference works and bibliographies, and contributed significantly to the intellectual history of international folklore studies.

Altogether, Wolfgang is remarkably and singularly prolific—in English and German—having authored or edited over 200 books, 450 articles, 120 reviews and having delivered over 325 invited addresses worldwide.

While the numbers are extraordinary and unparalleled, over his career Wolfgang has been a leading global ambassador for folklore, expanding international connections and encouraging countless colleagues and students. Demonstrating the relevance of folklore in contemporary politics and culture, Wolfgang has also crossed disciplinary boundaries making a significant impact on allied fields of politics, literature, history, art, linguistics, and media studies.

The list of all of Professor Mieder’s honors is long, but a sampling includes:

  • AFS Fellow since 1981
  • Folklore Fellow of the Finnish Academy of Arts and Sciences, 1990
  • University of Vermont Professor of the Year, 1991
  • National recipient of the Kroepsh-Maurice Award for Teaching Excellence, 1995
  • Member of the Finnish Academy of Science and Letters, 1996
  • Pitre International Folklore Prize, 1997
  • Archer Taylor Memorial Lecturer, Western States Folklore Society, 2000
  • Katherine Briggs Memorial Lecture, The Folklore Society (England), 2002
  • Francis Lee Utley Memorial Plenary Lecture, AFS, 2010
  • Benjamin Botkin Lecturer, American Folklife Center, 2011

Widely praised as dedicated, loyal, and unendingly patient, Wolfgang has been honored with no fewer than four festschriften.

As Simon Bronner concludes in his nomination letter, "Wolfgang epitomizes menschlichkeit (embodying values of humaneness, integrity, and decency) among us. Remarkably humble and even self-effacing despite his superior intellect and immense accomplishment, time and again reference is made to his genuine humility and admirable virtue. In his lifetime devotion to and advancement of folklore studies, in his exemplary scholarship, teaching and service, in his righteous conduct of life, he is a model for the field. He is indeed a proverbial saint for the ages.”

Note: The AFS Lifetime Achievement Award has been bestowed every two years on a living senior scholar in recognition of outstanding scholarly achievement over the course of a career. The awardee is honored at the American Folklore Society annual meeting, and is given a $500 honorarium, a certificate, and lifetime membership in the Society. Starting in 2012, the award will be given every year, rather than every other year.

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