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CFP: 2018 IU/OSU Student Conference

Tuesday, November 28, 2017   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Rosalind V. Rini Larson
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The Folklore Student Association at the Ohio State University, in collaboration with the Department of Folklore & Ethnomusicology at Indiana University, invites proposals for the 2018 11th Annual IU/OSU Student Conference in Folklore and Ethnomusicology, entitled Folklore at Work. The conference will take place February 23-24, 2018 at the Ohio State University in Columbus, OH.

In light of the events of 2017, which stand on long and unsettling legacies, this year’s conference will breach the topic of the wider lives that cultural heritage and claims to tradition have in our world—sometimes justice-seeking, but sometimes hate-aligned. The organizing committee seeks proposals for papers, panels, workshops, posters, projects, and experimental sessions exploring the question of what it means to put cultural work to work in the world, with particular attention to public-sector, applied, community-based and advocacy folklore and ethnomusicology. Contributions of experimental scholarship that engage topics of social justice and/or the “work” of cultural work are also encouraged. The conference theme asks: Why does the work of folklorists matter for the issues of the world?

Folklorists have long debated the place "applied" folklore studies should hold in relation to "academic" folklore scholarship. And there has been a fear that in focusing on scholarship's potential for political and social engagement, folklorists risk a loss of rigor or at least a loss of the insight that can come from reflecting at a distance on events. Conversely, this conference begins with the premise that folklore, and folklorists’ study of it, is always already embedded in the social and political lives of researchers and collaborator-communities. Thus, while the organizing committee welcomes papers about new avenues or new contexts in which folklore might be utilized, it also welcomes reflexive papers exploring the ways in which folklore and folkloristics are themselves always "at work" upon the lives of informants and researchers alike.

Proposals may potentially address the following questions:

  • how cultural work “works” for social change;
  • pasts, presents and futures of applied, public-sector, community-based, activist and advocacy folklore and ethnomusicology;
  • occasions for cultural work to disrupt, reframe and heal traditions of hate;
  • critical heritage studies and its relationships to and/or challenges to public/applied folklore and ethnomusicology studies;
  • occupational folklife and labor ethnomusicology;
  • work and disability across vernacular cultural work fields;
  • the labor of cultural workers, inside and outside of the academe;
  • traditional and alternative career paths for cultural workers;
  • the work of fieldwork—reflections on relational work, mental health, precarity, gender, embodiment and the field experience;
  • any other topic relevant to the theme of the social and public lives of cultural work and the labor and forms of co-producing it.

The organizing committee is eager to conceive of the IU/OSU Folklore & Ethnomusicology Conference as a space that first and foremost supports the needs of students, wherever they may be in their careers.

Therefore, they are excited to welcome proposals for a variety of formats and sessions. Suggested formats include:

  • Pre-organized roundtables or panels
  • 20-minute paper presentations
  • Workshop/skill-share sessions
  • “Lightning round” 10-minute project share sessions
  • Pop-up exhibits, cultural tours or media sessions + discussion
  • Anything else awesome & timely we haven’t thought of yet

All presentation format proposals should submit a 250-word abstract. Pre-arranged or collective sessions should additionally include a session title, 250-word session abstract, and list contacts for all members of the panel/roundtable, if relevant.

Additionally, to better foster student solidarity across the spaces, institutions, and disciplines of cultural work, the organizing committee especially welcomes formats that allow scholars to get to know each other, exchange experiences, share or try out new skills, and forge collective futures for activist cultural work. Although the conference serves to build solidarity between students and departments involved in folklore and ethnomusicology research, the organizing committee also heartily welcomes contributions from graduate students and community members involved in cultural work across the disciplines, and from any institution/community. Committee members are especially excited to welcome papers, projects and experimental sessions engaging the work of interdisciplinarity or the disciplinarity of cultural work. And, in the spirit of accessibility, the organizing committee will make every effort to house student participants during their stay.

All submissions will be due via GoogleForms by December 30, 2017; and all participants will be notified of acceptance status by January 15, 2017.

Submission Link:

Please direct any questions to this year’s conference organizing committee at:

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