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Fast Facts

Who we are

  • The largest and oldest professional folklore society in North America. Founded in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1888 with over 1100 current members.
  • Members include teachers of folklore studies and those who advance research in the field; professionals serving as arts administrators, museum curators, directors of non-profits, librarians, and freelance researchers; and cultural practitioners working in communities across the country.
  • Currently headquartered on the campus of Indiana University in Bloomington
  • Member of the American Council of Learned Societies and participant in the activities of UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage.


What we do

Our Mission

The American Folklore Society is a membership organization dedicated to the study of folklore and expressive cultural traditions in the United States of America and throughout the world. AFS serves its members and the general public by providing programming, publications, policies, and resources examining and affirming the diversity of human creativity across time, heritages, and places.

Our Vision

The American Folklore Society embraces an inclusive view of cultural creativity, advocating for respect and mutual understanding of the world’s diverse cultures as well as for the conditions that enable communities and traditions to flourish.

AFS examines artful everyday communication through time and across space, studying expressive life as both an end in itself and a multifaceted resource in social worlds. 

AFS educates the public and policymakers with the field's distinctive view into societal concerns, amplifying the insights of both folklore and folklorists.

AFS draws upon its engagement with vibrant expressive life to nurture the broader values of cultural equity, democratic process, and the defense of human rights.


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American Folklore SocietySister Society: SIEF
Classroom-Office Building, Indiana University, 800 East Third Street, Bloomington IN 47405 USA
812/856-2379; www.afsnet.org

Headquartered on the campus of Indiana University-Bloomington, AFS appreciates the generous support of the IU College of Arts and Sciences.


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