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Featured Folklorist Questionnaire
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Your responses to these questions may form the basis for a feature in the AFS Review that spotlights a professional in our field.

We aim to serve multiple purposes with these features, addressing a number of audiences:

  • representing the work of folklorists to those who are new to the field, including those who are first encountering us, and those who are considering joining us
  • raising awareness of the work of folklorists and organizations among other AFS community members
  • telling our members’ stories, however they conceive them

The questions below are purposefully general, some with reference to “community”; we invite you to define your communit(ies) as you will, but ask that you make your meaning clear.

Please respond to at least four of the following questions in as much depth as you see fit; we welcome your response to as many questions as you care to answer.

Introduce your response with a 2-3 sentence biography that includes your current work, education and participation in AFS. Please also submit a photo--a portrait or a shot of the "folklorist in the field"--with caption, photo credit and permission to publish.

Send your responses to

1. What is your current job, and how does it relate to the field of folklore? What kinds of things do you do day-to-day in this position?

2. Briefly describe your career history, paying special attention to how you got from your very first folklore job to your current position. Did you expect to be doing what you are now doing when you entered the field? 

3. What goals drive your work? What kinds of impact do you hope to achieve?

4. What is the most challenging part of your work?

5. If you had unlimited time and resources available to develop a research project or public program, how would you use them? What would you hope to accomplish?

6. How does your current work impact your community? What is, in your mind, the most important professional contribution that you make (or have made)?

7. What sorts of issues are most pressing or urgent for your community? How do your personal or professional endeavors intersect with these issues?

8. How did you come to reside where you now live? What are your favorite aspects of the area or of your local community?

9. What do you most wish outsiders knew about your community? What are some common stereotypes or misconceptions that you often find yourself trying to disprove?

10. What kinds of things occupy your personal time? In particular, what sorts of local or regional activities, endeavors, or commitments do you pursue when you’re not on the job?

11. Tell us about your favorite foods unique to the region where you live.

12. How did you discover folklore? Why did you pursue it?

13. What question(s) would you like us to ask of other “featured folklorists”? Please provide your own answer to the question.

Questions posed by other featured folklorists; please consider answering one or more of these questions, too:

  • How do you present the idea of folklore to communities speaking other languages or where “folklore” is not a common word or where it is understood as entertainment loosely based on traditions of a perceived lower class and has taken on pejorative meanings?
  • What makes folklore unique as a discipline?
  • What would you do differently at the beginning of your career, if you knew what you know now?

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American Folklore SocietySister Society: SIEF
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