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Annual Meeting Policies


AFS strives to ensure that all meeting participants have equal opportunities to engage in and contribute to its annual meeting. AFS selects only ADA-compliant meeting venues. Presenters and attendees are encouraged to request accommodations that will support their full participation in the conference; call or email at least 60 days before the meeting.

As a step towards equitable access, AFS has developed guidelines for conference presenters to follow in order to make their work more accessible to all. AFS asks all presenters to read and follow these guidelines and to ask for assistance if needed. Download the guidelines as a Word doc or access as a pdf).

As attendees may experience multiple chemical sensitivities, please refrain from wearing all perfumes and use fragrance-free, unscented personal care products for the duration of our event.

AFS Membership

Both AFS members and non-members may submit proposals for presentations, or may simply attend the meeting without presenting, but non-members must pay the higher registration fees noted on the registration form.

Appropriate Behavior

The American Folklore Society is committed to providing a professional environment, at the AFS annual meeting and at other AFS-sponsored activities, that upholds values of inclusion, safety, and mutual respect. AFS expects participants at its annual meeting and at other AFS-sponsored activities to follow the same standards of ethical engagement there as they do elsewhere in their practice as folklorists, and in everyday life.

Our standards do not tolerate any discrimination or harassment on the basis of age, body size, class, disability, ethnicity, gender, gender identity and expression, physical appearance, political perspective, race, religion, sexual orientation, or any other legally protected characteristic. Our standards call for sensitivity to power dynamics, exhibited in part through respect for the ideas, work, personal autonomy, and contributions of individuals in more junior positions in the field. Our standards include a belief in the rights of free speech and open inquiry, as well as respect and tolerance for people with worldviews, opinions, and experiences different from our own.

We expect all participants not to engage in any form of harassment at the AFS annual meeting and at other AFS-sponsored activities. Attendees should hold themselves and each other to these expectations. Anyone requested to stop harassing or other inappropriate behavior is expected to comply immediately.

Harassment includes, but is not limited to:

  • Personal remarks about individuals that reinforce damaging social structures of domination (e.g., related to age, body size, class, disability, ethnicity, gender, gender identity and expression, physical appearance, political perspective, race, religion, sexual orientation, or any other legally protected characteristic)
  • Inappropriate use of sexual images in public spaces
  • Deliberate intimidation, stalking, or following
  • Unwanted photography or recording
  • Sustained disruption of talks or other events
  • Inappropriate physical contact
  • Unwelcome sexual attention
  • Advocating for, or encouraging, any of the above behavior

The Society seeks to provide meaningful support to members who have experienced harassment at AFS meeting program events. If you are the target or witness of harassment or other inappropriate behavior, we encourage you to report the incident to AFS Executive Director Jessica Turner (, AFS Associate Director Lorraine Walsh Cashman (,  or AFS Membership Director Meredith McGriff ( These officially designated contacts can serve as intermediaries, sounding boards, confidantes, and informal advisers; they can also confer with you confidentially about possible next steps. Reporting an incident of harassment does not obligate the reporter to pursue any further action. The Society's goal above all is to support vulnerable members of the community and to strategize to end the harassment in question. As a voluntary professional organization, the Society is limited in its ability to respond formally to charges of harassment, but it will follow its professional and ethical responsibility to respond to reports of harassment among its membership, to protect the privacy of all concerned within the limits of the law, and to report complaint statistics to its members. 

AFS reserves the right to prohibit attendance at any AFS meeting or activity or take other action it deems appropriate and reasonable under the circumstances.

If you have immediate concerns about safety at the annual meeting, report them first to security (instructions specific to the venue will be provided in program materials), or to the police at 911.


Audiovisual Equipment

AV equipment and technical support constitute the single largest expense of the annual meeting, typically amounting to more than half of all meeting costs. AFS strives to balance the need to support presenters with the need to keep registration rates as low as possible by concentrating on essential AV services.

AFS will provide data projectors and screens in every meeting room, and audio systems in larger meeting rooms and in all rooms in which media sessions will take place. All presenters must bring their own computers, and Mac users should bring the appropriate cabling for their particular model. If your presentation requires higher-quality audio than that provided by your computer, make that request when prompted on the proposal submission form (if you are participating in an organized session, please inform your chair as well). We will endeavor to place your presentation or session, if accepted, into a meeting room with an audio system. 

Individuals who can’t bring their own computers are advised to coordinate with other members of their panel to share equipment.

Free basic wireless internet will be available in all meeting space at the 2019 Annual Meeting. Presenters should be aware that the bandwidth of the in-house wifi does not support video streaming of any kind. Presenters who wish to show video are advised to bring their video file on their own personal computer or storage device.


Once a paper or session is submitted, it is expected that the author(s) will present their paper at the conference if the proposal is accepted. Participation in the conference is competitive, and a cancelled presentation eliminates a spot that could have accommodated another scholar. Moreover, the administrative cost is higher for a participant who withdraws than for those who present.

As a courtesy to AFS members, conference presenters, and attendees, AFS strongly discourages presenters from canceling their participation in the conference after proposals have been accepted. Those who find that they can't attend the meeting are encouraged to find someone else to read their papers. Please notify AFS of any changes to the program as soon as possible.

The refund policy is as follows:

  • No refunds will be issued after June 1 to program participants (chairs, presenters, discussants, etc.) who withdraw.
  • Registrants who are not named on the program may receive a full refund until August 31; after that, no refunds will be issued.
  • Presenters who withdraw after October 1 may not present at the next year's annual meeting.

An exception will be made for those who can't attend because of visa difficulties.


Forums are informal discussions organized around a specific subject, issue, theme, or topic. Forums may include no more than six participants, and should be designed for extensive interaction among the panel and audience. Forums should not include formal presentations, like papers, but may include very brief (5 minute) remarks from each participant to orient the discussion. All participants in forums are considered analogous to other presenters, not paper panel chairs or discussants, whose participation facilitates presentations by others.



AFS defines a no-show as someone on the program who is not physically present at her/his session at the annual meeting and either (1) has not notified AFS in advance that she cannot attend the meeting or (2) has not submitted a presentation to be read by the chair or another person at the meeting.

No-shows are conspicuous in their absence. They inconvenience the chair, their fellow presenters, and those attending the session. No-shows may not present for the next two meetings. If you notify AFS in advance of October 1, or submit a presentation to be made by someone else at your session, you will not be penalized. You are responsible for finding your own alternative presenter and notifying AFS of the change. Note: It is not enough to inform your panel chair; if you do not inform AFS, you will be penalized as a no-show.

Number of Presentations

You may "present" only once at the annual meeting. "Presenting" means: giving a paper, diamond presentation, or participating in a forum.

However, individuals may also serve as chair in one other paper or diamond panel. This exception does not apply to forums, since the chair of a forum participates equally in the discussion, rather than serving in a support position.

Discussants are typically counted as presenters because they occupy a presentation slot; contact Lorraine Walsh Cashman ( if you believe circumstances warrant an exception.

No one may participate in more than two sessions altogether.

Exceptions will be made only for those who are invited by AFS to present in the service of an AFS project.

In years past, participants were allowed to participate in two forums, or to present a paper and participate in a forum. This is no longer the case.

Presentations that have been given at previous AFS annual meetings will not be sent to the planning committee for review. Films may be re-presented once if the work has been substantially revised since the previous showing; thus, a filmmaker may show a rough cut and the (nearly) final product, but may not present the same title more than twice.

Photography and Videorecording

AFS reserves the right to take still photographs of program events and public conference space at the annual meeting, and to videorecord selected annual meeting sessions, for possible publication or distribution on its web site, newsletter, or other official publications. By frequenting conference events and space, attendees are granting permission to the AFS to be included in such photographs and videorecordings. We will require signed permissions from all annual meeting participants whose presentations we videorecord.

Remote Presenters

Because we have more presentation proposals than space in the program, year after year, our priority is to serve those who are interested in attending the conference in person.  We discourage the use of prerecorded presentations or papers read by others except under unusual circumstances. Hotel and convention center facilities very rarely offer the bandwidth that would permit Skype or other live applications. Please contact us for consideration of specific cases.

Schedule of Presentations

All paper or diamond sessions include a schedule with a starting time for each presentation; the assigned time slots include time for the presentation itself and also for Q&A for that presenter. It is critical that panel participants observe and enforce their scheduled times, because many attendees rely on the schedule to move from paper to paper.

In the event of a paper withdrawal, all subsequent papers move forward. Attendees must check the program addendum for notification of last-minute withdrawals, since each withdrawal has a significant impact on the schedule.

Social Media Use

AFS supports social media as communication channels that can complement our annual meeting. AFS expects all meeting participants to adhere to our standards of professional annual meeting behavior; as the social media community and its norms continue to emerge and evolve, we particularly ask social media users to be mindful of the standards of ethical engagement below. Although we use Twitter as an example in this policy statement, the basic framework and principles described here are meant to be applied across all social networking platforms.


Do not use any visual or audio recording devices to record presentations without the express approval of the presenter. Enforcement is the responsibility of the session chair, as directed by the speaker. Audio and video recordings of sessions should not be made or posted without the permission of all panelists or seminar members, ideally secured through the chair in advance of the session. Any speaker has the right to request that his or her work and comments not be tweeted. Please ask subjects involved before posting and tagging photos.

Professional Tone

The meeting hashtag represents an extension of the conference online. As such, we encourage participants to consider their comments to be public, avoiding remarks that would be inappropriate in other professional spaces.

Fair Quotation

Live-tweeting often represents itself as a transcript of spoken words. Tweeters should be aware of the potential for misrepresentation, appropriation, and removal of context. It is important to attribute tweets with a speaker’s handle or full name (e.g. @handle:xxx); presenters’ handles may be found in the program book’s index of presenters. Retweeting and favoriting remove tweets from temporal sequence, so it is best to attribute individual tweets, rather than just the first in a sequence.

AFS encourages 2019 annual meeting attendees to live tweet using #afsam19 and to share their Twitter handles.

For more guidelines, see: 

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