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“No Illusions, No Exclusions”—Buffalo Beckons for the 2018 AFS Annual Meeting

Wednesday, November 15, 2017   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Lorraine Cashman
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“No Illusions, No Exclusions,” the theme for the 2018 AFS Annual Meeting, October 17-20, 2018, is inspired by its location in Buffalo, New York, “The City of No Illusions.” Buffalo is proudly gutsy, realistic, highly vernacular and inclusive. The city openly welcomes recent refugees, who enhance the substantial diversity brought about by its remarkable industrial heritage and legacy of Native Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) First Nations. Buffalo’s post-industrial transformation brings with it challenges of gentrification, reconfiguration of the labor force and new symbolic strategies of self-representation.

Participants in the annual meeting are encouraged to explore how at this divisive moment in American life, folklore confronts economic and social disruptions, builds community resilience and sustains pluralism amidst threats to E Pluribus Unum. Participants are invited to present with colleagues from other disciplines and our community collaborators in recognition of folklore as an inherently inclusive, multidisciplinary field of study. As a discipline, folklore cannot stand in isolation from other fields as it shapes and is shaped by other disciplines while endeavoring to sustain itself as an autonomous discipline. In considering folklore as both academic discipline and public practice, participants are encouraged to examine how folklore engages community members as partners, valuing local knowledge and facilitating cultural self-determination.

There will be plenty of opportunities to experience Buffalo and Western New York in the midst of its resurgence, in all of its brassiness and diversity. The 2018 Meeting Planning Committee is at work on an array of ways to help meeting attendees engage with the place and its people. These plans may evolve in the coming months, but are likely to include:

  • Preconference tours that will take you through Buffalo and beyond. The city tour will feature the West Side Bazaar, a business incubator for refugee communities; the 130-year-old Broadway Market at the hub of the historic Polonia District; architectural jewels designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and Louis Sullivan; grain elevators repurposed as guerilla art spaces; and the revitalized Canalside District where the western terminus of the Erie Canal meets Lake Erie and the Niagara River. A second tour will explore the largely rural Niagara Frontier Region during the October harvest season. A drive through orchards and vineyards along the Niagara Escarpment will lead to the Tuscarora Nation, where Native experts will talk about the history and cultural meanings of their White Corn. Participants will meet traditional Tuscarora artists at a reception at the Castellani Art Museum of Niagara University before heading for a tour of Niagara Falls as seen through Native American eyes.
  • Musicians, dancers and traditional craftspeople will perform and demonstrate throughout the conference and participate in sessions.
  • A dinner dance, featuring area bands, with free admission to the dance and a nominal charge for dinner.
  • A local guide that will lead you to points of interest around the city that you can reach during your stay, and ideas for farther-flung self-guided tours. Stay a few days longer and visit the Finger Lakes with its winemakers and cider mills. Bring your passport for a self-guided journey across the Canadian border after the meeting ends, over the Niagara River for more spectacular vistas of Niagara Falls, and abundant day-trip opportunities throughout the nearby Niagara Peninsula, Lake Ontario coastline, the Golden Horseshoe Region, and the city of Toronto.

The Queen City, B-Lo, City of Good Neighbors, Nickel City, the City of Light, City of No Illusions —by any of its names, Buffalo is guaranteed to surprise you during your time at the 2018 AFS annual meeting.

Information will be posted to the 2018 Annual Meeting page as it develops.

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American Folklore SocietySister Society: SIEF
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