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Folklore and Education Section


The Folklore and Education section produces an annual newsletter, awards the Dorothy Howard Folklore and Education Prize and the Robinson-Roeder-Ward Fellowship, works with partners in the field, and organizes sessions and events at the AFS annual meeting.

The Latest Edition of the Folklore and Education Section Newsletter is available online: Spring 2018 (pdf). (See below for the archive of newsletters dating from 2001.)

Click here to join this American Folklore Society interest-group section.
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Jan Rosenberg, Senior Convener
Heritage Education Resources

Rebeca Smith, Junior Convener
Western Kentucky University



The Folklore and Education Section prepares for a banner year in Buffalo, NY, with Folkore and Education-related topics, panels, papers, and events throughout the Annual Meeting. Please make sure to join our section in order to stay up-to-date on the latest news through email. 

Thank you for your submissions to the Dorothy Howard Prize 2018.

This prize is closed.

Dorothy Howard (1902-1996) grew up in the Progressive Era, receiving a teaching degree from the North Texas Normal College (now the University of North Texas) in 1923. During her career as a teacher and principal in Texas, New York, and New Jersey, Howard integrated folklore into her curriculum by having students collect and study playground chants and jingles as a way of introducing them to poetry; research their names and their meanings to study spelling; and write about such traditions as ravioli making to develop their writing skills. Howard's interest in children's folklore and education enabled her to bridge a gap between the Victorian "armchair" approach to the study of children's culture with the field-based studies that folklorists conduct today. In 1938 she received her doctorate in education with a study of games that combined these two styles of study. Her pioneering work inspires us to use folklore in educational settings in a way that is rich and meaningful. The Dorothy Howard Prize honors Howard and those who have followed her lead in folklore and education, both within and outside the classroom.

The prize competition is open to individuals and organizations whose work effectively encourages educators or students to use the study of folklore and folkloristic approaches in all educational environments, including k-16 classrooms, after-school programming, museums, community agencies, etc. Such works include but are not limited to: curriculum materials, publications, audio and video recordings, multimedia publications, web sites, and exhibits. Submissions must reflect projects that have been implemented within the year prior to the application deadline. If your project is ongoing or part of a larger multi-year educational effort, please submit the portion of the project that is most current (i.e., implemented within the last year) for the committee’s consideration. 

Nominations should:

• Include the author(s) or creator(s), publisher, and date of use/publication, along with a short statement of the  project 
• Describe how the project significantly adds to the body of folklore and education literature and/or resources.
• Specify the intended audience and appropriateness of the program for that age group and subject focus
• Describe how the project engages with the intended audience
• Specify how the project interfaces with and supports educational priorities, teaching practices, and student learning
• Include the project resource materials. If the project includes a print or hard-copy publication, please include three copies. If the project is a web resource or e-book, or includes audio/visual recordings available online, please include working links to all resources. In the case of particularly extensive materials (i.e. multimedia kits), a single copy may be submitted.

The prize amount is $100, and the deadline for submissions is August 31. 

Please label your documents and resource materials clearly, i.e. "NameOfProject_Nomination" and "NameOfProject_Resources". 

Nomination statements should not exceed three double-spaced pages.

Publications and Kits should be mailed to:  Rebecca Smith, 117 Wheeler Street Portland, TN 37148

Please direct your questions to

The 2018 Dorothy Howard Folklore and Education Prize committee consists of: Betty Belanus, Nicholas Hartmann, Rebecca Smith, and Laurie Sommers.

Click here to learn more about Dorothy Howard Prize recipients.


The submission portal is now closed. 

The AFS Folklore and Education section is pleased to announce that the application for the 2018 Robinson-Roeder-Ward prize to help support the participation of an educator at the AFS meeting in Buffalo, NY is now closed, having received multiple strong submissions. 

Thank you!

The RRW committee, made up of members of the Folklore and Education Section, will review the proposals and will contact the successful applicant by August 1, 2018. Questions regarding the application should be directed to Linda Deafenbaugh at

Robinson-Roeder-Ward Prize

This prize is awarded in memory of folklorists Beverly Robinson, Bea Roeder, and Vaughn Ward. Each was a person of vision, scholarship, and activism, and they inspired a generation of folklorists working in K-12 education. The prize will be awarded to an educator who is engaged in folklore, ethnography, or cultural heritage and K-12 education. The prize will provide the recipient a stipend of $500 to participate in the annual meeting of the American Folklore Society and a free membership in the Folklore and Education Section for one year.

Beverly Robinson
 was known as a theater historian, folklorist, producer, writer, director and professor in the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television. Beverly received her MA in folklore from the University of California, Berkeley and her PhD in Folklore and Folklife from the University of Pennsylvania. She was director of the African Studies Program at UCLA. A prolific writer, noted author, and contributor to several chapters in books and numerous articles, Beverly was also known for her research for such films as Miss Evers’ BoysNightjohn, and The Color Purple. As a scholar and innovator, Beverly brought folklore and folklife into the public eye. Beverly passed away in May 2002.

Bea Roeder
, a native Californian, became fascinated by Colorado’s rich folk heritage while working with Southwest Studies Folklore collections at Colorado College in Colorado Springs. She returned to graduate school to pursue her newfound interest and received her PhD, focusing on Hispanic folk medicine, from the University of California, Los Angeles in 1984. Bea worked for the Colorado Council on the Arts as a regional folklorist and was a force behind the CCA/NEA projectTies that Bind, a multimedia kit about Colorado’s many folk traditions for school teachers. She was deeply involved with Native American culture and spirituality and a student of the Lakota language. Bea passed away in June 2003.

Vaughn Ward
, a folklorist and musician, was a founding member of Caffe Lena. Vaughn taught high school English where her students organized the first Niskayuna Festival. She was a staff folklorist for the Lower Adirondack Arts Council and organized the Adirondack Liar’s Club in 1986. She also founded the Black Crow Network to support tradition bearers and those with an interest in interpreting the history of the Mohawk-Champlain region and eastern Adirondacks. Vaughn passed away in December 2001.

To apply to the Robinson-Roeder-Ward Prize of the AFS Folklore and Education Section

The application form online will ask each applicant for their answers to the following questions:

1. Describe your background as a K-12 classroom teacher or educator in another setting. (one paragraph or one page resume)

2.  Share what AFS organized session you intend to join as a participant and how you plan to participate in the larger AFS conference. (Include if you will be presenting a paper, acting as a discussant, etc.)

3.  Outline how travel funds from the RRW prize will aid in participation. (It is helpful if you can also share information with the committee about the availability of other funding available to you to attend the conference and if you will plan on accessing these other funds.)


 Click here to learn more about Robinson-Roeder-Ward Fellowship recipients.

Related Organizations

Local Learning: The National Network for Folk Arts in Education facilitates K-12 teachers' and teacher educators' use of folklore and folkloristic approaches in their classrooms through national advocacy, publications, teacher training, and extensive online resources. Funded by the National Endowment for the Arts Folk and Traditional Arts Program, Local Learning is a national service organization for folk arts and folklife in education and publishes the annual Journal of Folklore and Education, a peer-reviewed multimedia K-16 digital publication. Download on our homepage. Paddy Bowman is the director, and Lisa Rathje the assistant director.

Join City Lore as an Education Member and receive the CARTS newsletter, City Lore mailings and discounts on events, a 10% discount on orders from the CARTS Catalog (featuring high-quality, authentic teaching resources for folklore, oral history, and the arts), and a free CD or cassette. Send $30 (check payable to City Lore) to City Lore, 72 East First Street, New York NY 10003 USA. For a free copy of the catalog, e-mail or phone 800/333-5982.


Click here to explore resources that employ folklife and education. Some of these resources were created by Folklore and Education Section members. See also a section-created wiki Bibliography of Essential Texts for Folklore and Education.

Click here to explore websites that employ folklife and education. Some of these sites were created by Folklore and Education Section members.

Click here for help finding syllabi in the Teaching Resource Collection in OpenFolklore. Some of these syllabi were contributed by Folklore and Education Section members.

Newsletter Archive

Spring 2017 (pdf)
Spring 2016 (pdf)
Spring 2015 (pdf)

Spring 2014 (pdf)

Spring 2013 (pdf)
Spring 2012 (read-only Word doc or pdf)
Spring 2011 (read-only Word doc orpdf)
Spring 2010
Spring 2009
Spring 2008
Spring 2007
Spring 2006
Spring 2005
Spring 2004
Spring 2003
Spring 2002
Spring 2001

Click here to join this American Folklore Society interest-group section.

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