What's Happening at the American Folklife Center
Throughout the year, the Center sponsors workshops, lectures, exhibits, concerts, and conferences (on its own and in cooperation
with other Library of Congress offices and outside agencies) in
order to educate the American people about the importance of their
own cultural traditions and the traditions of others. All events are free and do not require tickets unless otherwise
Request ADA accommodations five days in advance at 202-707-6362 or ADA@loc.gov
Check back for the 2014 season announcements
Online Archive of Homegrown Concerts (2005-2013) - View descriptions, flyer essays, and webcasts
December 11: Traditional Music of Costal Louisiana: The 1934 Lomax Recordings, presented by Joshua Caffery, Alan Lomax Fellow in Folklife Studies, Kluge Center, Library of Congress
January 7: The "Hidden" Carols: A Christmas Singing Tradition in the English Pennines, presented by Ian Russell, Director of The Elphinstone Institute, University of Aberdeen
Online Archive of Botkin Lectures (2004 - 2013) - View descriptions, flyer essays, and webcasts
Past Symposia Updates
The Stations That Spoke Your Language: Radio and the Yiddish American Cultural Renaissance (2012): Webcasts are now available. Select the schedule to find the links to the webcasts.
Literatura de Cordel: Continuity and Change in Brazilian Popular Literature (2011): Webcasts are now available. Select the schedule to find the links to the webcasts.
Online Archive of Symposia (2000 - 2013) - View descriptions, flyer essays, and webcasts
American Folklife Center Announces Recipients of Parsons and Owen Research Awards
The American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress (AFC) is pleased to announce the recipients of the Gerald E. and Corinne L. Parsons Fund and the Blanton Owen Fund for 2013.
Awards from the Parsons Fund, which was established to make the collections of unique ethnographic materials housed at the Library of Congress available to the needs and uses of researchers, go to Maurice Mengel of Syracuse University, Alexandro Hernandez of the University of California, Los Angles, and Michael Largey of Michigan State University.
Mengel, a doctoral candidate in Ethnomusicology at the University of Cologne, Germany, who is currently teaching world music and film at Syracuse University, will come to the Folklife Center for three weeks to work with a large and previously unstudied collection of Romanian materials in the Gheorghe and Eugenie Popescu-Judetz Collection. Mengel hopes to make a valuable contribution to Eastern European ethnomusicology and enrich understanding of Romanian traditional culture, as well as highlight the contributions of researchers Gheorghe and Eugenie Popescu-Judetzes, whose fieldwork spanned the years 1938 to1995.
Hernandez, a doctoral candidate in Ethnomusicology in the UCLA Department of Ethnomusicology, will be working with rare recordings and films in the Library’s Motion Pictures, Broadcasting, and Recorded Sound division, as well as with documentation in AFC and in the Music Division. His project, "The Son Jarocho as Music of Struggle and Protest in Los Angeles," explores the political/cultural history and musical developments leading up to current uses of this popular song genre in social justice movements.
Largey, who is Professor and Chair of Musicology at Michigan State University, is working on a book project entitled "Finding Haiti: Authenticity and the Ethnographic Imaginary." He will trace the historical and political roots of ethnographic research done in Haiti during the 1930s, immediately after the nineteen-year U.S. occupation of Haiti (1915 to 1934). He will show that ethnographers’ attempts to describe Haiti to a non-Haitian audience “resulted in a vision of Haitian culture that both asserts the primacy of African cultural retention in Haitian life, but that also fixes Haitian culture in its relation to its African antecedents.” Largey's research on major ethnographers will take place principally in the Library’s Manuscripts Division and Recorded Sound Division.
Blanton Owen Fund Awards, which were established in 1999 in memory of folklorist Blanton Owen to support ethnographic field research and documentation in the United States, with special emphasis on supporting the work of younger scholars, were awarded to Eric César Morales from Bloomington, Indiana, and Susan Taffe Reed from Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
Morales, an Indiana University folklore graduate student, will study Pacific Island Dance in Las Vegas, Nevada. Las Vegas is considered the "central locale in the Polynesian diaspora." Morales is a Californian with strong ties to the Las Vegas dance and the Pacific Island arts community, and will work closely with state folklorists in Nevada.
Reed, who is a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Department of Music at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, will conduct research on Innovating Tradition: Powwows in Appalachian Pennsylvania. Reed has strong ties to Native American communities in Appalachian Pennsylvania and central New York, and extensive credentials as a researcher and writer on Native American culture and traditions.
American Folklife Center Announces Recipients of Archie Green Fellowships for Research in Occupational Folklore
Archie Green speaks at the American Folklife Center in 1978. Photo by Carl Fleischhauer.
The American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress (AFC) is pleased to announce the recipients of its Archie Green Fellowships for 2013.
Archie Green Fellowships, which are designed to stimulate innovative research projects documenting occupational culture in contemporary America, went to two individual researchers and two teams: Sara Jordan, an independent folklorist in Logan, Utah; Lucy Long of the Center for Food and Culture in Bowling Green, Ohio; Brent Björkman of the Kentucky Folklife Program at Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green and Jonathan E. Kay of Indiana University in Bloomington; and Anne Pryor, Mary Hoefferle, Ruth Olson, and Mark Wagler of Wisconsin Teachers of Local Culture in Madison.
Sara Jordan will pursue research on housekeepers, many of them refugees and immigrant entry-level workers, employed by Utah's health care and hospitality industries. At hospitals and hotels, housekeepers are often the least powerful but most essential members of the staff, responsible for maintaining the cleanliness and order on which both industries depend. Jordan, who has strong ties to hospital and hotel workers, plans to interview approximately two dozen individuals to document their work histories and job-related experiences.
Lucy Long will document the work experiences and occupational histories of ethnic grocery store owners and workers in seven Midwestern cities (Toledo, Columbus, Cleveland, and Dayton, Ohio; Fort Wayne, Indiana; and Detroit and Ann Arbor, Michigan). She plans on conducting approximately seventy two-hour interviews with workers, including representatives in each city from Hispanic, Asian, Middle Eastern, and Eastern European populations, as well as other locally distinctive ethnicities. Interviewees will include workers in stand-alone groceries, those working in groceries attached to restaurants or ethnic stores, seasonal or temporary vendors, and food workers in market stalls. Long will also explore how ethnic groceries often serve as community focal points and provide an interface between ethnic groups and mainstream American culture.
Brent Björkman, who directs the Kentucky Folklife Program at Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green, and Jonathan Kay, who directs Traditional Arts Indiana at Indiana University in Bloomington, will work together to document "Ranger Lore." In cooperation with state and national park personnel, they will conduct ethnographic and oral history interviews documenting the occupational traditions and experiences of park rangers working in their neighboring states. Fieldwork will consist primarily of seventy long-form interviews with past and current park rangers and related personnel connected to this distinct occupational group. In addition to fostering cooperative regional research, this study is particularly timely since both the National Park Service and the Indiana State Parks and Reservoirs system will celebrate their centennials in 2016.
The four-member team of Anne Pryor, Mary Hoefferle, Ruth Olson, and Mark Wagler from Wisconsin Teachers of Local Culture (WTLC) will document the occupational folklore of teaching. As they point out, teaching is "a predominantly female profession and possibly the largest single occupation in the United States, yet one that has lacked attention by researchers." Each researcher will focus on interviewing a different sub-group of Wisconsin teachers: elementary art teachers, fourth- and fifth-grade classroom teachers, and teachers whose work involves a more community-focused orientation. The applicants note that "many archives across the country have excellent collections of teachers' work in the form of curricula, lesson plans and other types of teaching resources, but little on the daily working lives of those who created these resources." The team’s forty planned interviews will consist primarily of digital audio recordings supplemented by photographs.
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