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Using Keywords in Annual Meeting Proposals

AFS accepts up to five keywords with proposals for presentations at the AFS annual meeting. Keywords are not required, but they will aid the program committee in grouping presentations, and help AFS staff avoid scheduling thematically related sessions against each other in a crowded program. Additionally, the annual meeting program book will include an Index of Keywords, which will allow meeting participants to search quickly for presentations that interest them.

Note: The Index of Keywords in the program book will only include the subject terms that are approved by the AFS Ethnographic Thesaurus and names that are not covered by the thesaurus.

Good advice: Select your keywords before you begin the online submission process.


Using the AFS Ethnographic Thesaurus

As you prepare to submit your proposal for the AFS Annual Meeting, please refer to the AFS Ethnographic Thesaurus (AFSET), a hierarchically arranged list of terms describing ethnographic materials and topics, genres, and approaches. Note: Names of ethnic or cultural groups, names of languages, and proper names of people, organizations, events, and places are not included in the AFSET. We recommend that you consult other vocabularies in the Library of Congress Linked Data Service for terms that are not in the AFSET.

Finding the standard versions of your own keywords takes just a few minutes. Enter the keyword you are using (eg, "costume") into the search box, and related, standardized forms of that term will be displayed (eg, "clothing"). In some cases, your term will be the standard term. If not, use the AFSET search results to identify a usable substitute – approved synonyms, or related, broader or narrower terms.

When you use the AFSET, it may be that there is no term in it that corresponds specifically to your work. For the purposes of the Annual Meeting, choose the most pertinent, more general term, available.

You can serve the field and help enhance the usefulness of the AFS Ethnographic Thesaurus by recommending new subject terms or topics. Please send recommended terms to the AFSET Editorial Committee by using the "Contact Us” function on the AFSET web page.

Selecting Keywords

Select the five most salient terms, even if they are already in your paper title.

If your presentation concerns a genre, group, and/or geographic place, we recommend that you use your keywords to describe them. If those categories aren't relevant, your keywords should describe the most important dimensions of your work, with attention to aspects that may not be apparent in your presentation title.

The proposal form will offer the following three lists of terms to choose from, as well as two text fields that permit you to enter terms of your choice, so that you may enter up to five different terms altogether. The lists are not meant to be normative or comprehensive; instead, they represent categories that appear frequently in the annual meeting program. Choose the most specific terms that apply to your proposal; if none are relevant, leave the field blank and supply a term of your choice for topics 4-5. You can also use the spaces to enter additional genre or practice terms, if necessary, but only one term per topic.


(choose one):
(choose one):
Additional categories
(multiple choices permitted):

Game or play
Material culture
Music (other)
Narratives (other)
Proverbs or sayings
Verbal arts (other)

Archives or libraries
Cultural policy
Education, K-12
Education (other)
Historic preservation
Intangible cultural heritage
Organization or event management
Research, theory or methodology
Writing or publishing

African, African American and diaspora
Asia/Pacific and diaspora
British or Irish
Chicano/a or Latino/a
Children's folklore
Digital media
Indigenous peoples
Middle Ages
Politics and social justice
Popular culture
Space and place




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