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AFS Review: Notes

International Attendees: Welcome and Guide to the 2017 AFS Annual Meeting

Friday, October 6, 2017   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Rosalind V. Rini Larson
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Lisa Gilman, Valdimar Tr. Hafstein, and Leah Lowthorp (AFS International Issues Committee) — 

On behalf of the AFS Committee on International Issues, we sincerely welcome those of you coming to AFS from outside the U.S., and especially those of you attending for the first time. Below are some brief thoughts to help you navigate the meeting and the program.

The AFS Annual Meeting is a friendly gathering. The atmosphere is generally informal and welcoming, and even if you are attending for the first time (and even if this is your first time in the U.S.), you should not hesitate to introduce yourself to people. AFS is a relatively small and intimate conference; it is easy to meet senior scholars, members of the Executive Board, Fellows, and others who have been involved with these meetings for a long time. You will be sure to find new colleagues with similar interests. At AFS, strangers do not remain strangers for long!

At the panels and meetings during the day, participants are eager to exchange ideas and will be particularly interested in learning about the study of folklore in other countries. Please be aware that some people prefer to sit through an entire session of papers, whereas others move in and out to see individual papers in different sessions. There are also a lot of opportunities outside the formal sessions and during the evenings to meet and chat with new friends and colleagues. In past years, many international participants have commented that they were surprised how much fun AFS was. They marveled at how relaxed people are and how they seem to truly enjoy spending time with each other. Don’t be surprised, for example, to see musical jam sessions breaking out in the hotel lobby in the evenings! And, of course, feel free to join in.

In recent years AFS has made a special effort to expand its own international horizons, welcoming more and more scholars from abroad and developing formal initiatives with folklore societies around the world. Many sessions at the 2017 meeting reflect issues in other countries, and you will find an increasing focus on global and transcultural concerns of all sorts.

Newcomers are invited to the Executive Board’s Welcome Reception for First Time Attendees, held Wednesday, October 18, after the Opening Ceremony, at about 6:15 pm in the Ballroom Prefunction of the Minneapolis Marriot City Center. This is a great opportunity to meet the people who put the meeting together, to meet AFS Board members, to get a brief orientation to the rest of the meeting, and to meet each other. It will overlap and flow into the general Welcome Reception for all attendees in the Atrium next door.

There are all sorts of other opportunities throughout the meeting. If you are a student, for example, there is a Fellows Reception for Graduate Students on Friday evening, 5:30–7:00 PM (in St Croix II)—an excellent chance to talk one-on-one with senior scholars. And we also encourage you all to attend the Opening Ceremonies and Welcome Reception on Wednesday evening. And don’t miss out on the party that the AFS President, Kay Turner, is giving in her room on Friday night 9:30-10:30, a Conference on the Couch with the music of Prince – the room number of the presidential suite will be announced during the meeting (you can also ask around). There are a number of other events in the evening, receptions, mixers, musical events, trivia nights, book signings, and dance workshop; you’ll find these listed under “Special Events” on pages 77-84 in the program book. Make sure you check some of these out, they provide opportunities to meet colleagues and to continue in more relaxed settings the conversations started in the panels during the day.

Safe travels and we look forward to seeing you in Minneapolis!

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