We use cookies to improve your website experience. To learn about our use of cookies and how you can manage your cookie settings, please see our Cookie Policy. By closing this message, you are consenting to our use of cookies.

Open Voices: Folklore for All, Folklore of All

  • 06-08/05/2022
  • 3 days, 09:30-17:30
  • Online

Open Voices: Folklore for All, Folklore of All

The Folklore Society’s Annual Conference 

Friday 6 to Sunday 8 May 2022, 09:30-17:30, Online

Keynote speaker: Prof. Sadhana Naithani (Jawaharlal Nehru University): ‘Since All are Never One: Margins, Borders and Folklore,’ Saturday 7 May at 14:00

Once upon a time, ‘folklore’ was thought of as the traditions of rural peasants, usually long gone. But when Alan Dundes asked: ‘Who are the Folk?’ in 1977, the answer was ‘Everyone.’ We all participate in the traditions of all the different groups we belong to, from small-scale family folklore to the broader groups of nation, ethnicity, religion, sexuality, disability, class, and more. As the focus has shifted away from the rural peasants pursued by Victorian antiquarians, the forum is open to hear the voices of other groups, especially marginalised and subordinated groups.

Folklore studies often focus on discrete groups and the creative expression of groups’ collective identities. But collective identity is complicated. Every ‘us’ at least implies a ‘them’. Every ‘us’, on closer examination, turns out to be a complex tangle of what we share with our fellows and what we don’t. What’s more, identities wax and wane in their significance, they change and new identities emerge. The relationship between individual and groups’ collective identification is no less multi-facetted.

Yet folklore is also dynamic, reciprocal and creative, arising from constant engagements with others. This not only results in renegotiations and reinforcing of identities, but also has the potential to interrogate other aspects of individuals and communities, including creativity and collaboration. Having a strong appreciation for diverse perspectives and participation, folklore is well-placed to represent and examine the intersections of different communities and cultures.

This conference explores the contribution of folklore and folkloristics to diversity of all types, including ethnicity, religion, nation, region, gender, sexuality, disability, class, and others, via all aspects of folklore, including jokes, tales, legends, myths, symbolism, music, calendar customs, folk drama, material culture, the rituals of everyday life, and many others besides, in order to interrogate the collaborations and contestations arising from cross-cultural engagements across time and place.

To improve accessibility, the full texts of several papers will be available to download by conference participants who wish to read along during the talks. Saturday afternoon’s talks will be signed by British Sign Language (BSL) interpreters. And live closed captioning will be available throughout the conference.

Download the Conference Programme here

Download the Abstracts here

Conference Programme

Friday 6 May 

(Times are BST = British Summer Time = GMT + 1hr)

09:55: Welcome to conference participants: by Prof. Owen Davies, President, The Folklore Society

10:00-11:00: Panel 1: Folk Art and Artists

V. Sourav: A Carnivalesque Resistance of Modernity: Examining the Folk Art of Alamikkali in Peninsular India

Atul Sinha and Rahul Koonathara: Resurgence of Pavakathakali Puppet Theatre through Inclusion.

11:30-13:00: Panel 2: Diverse Groups’ Responses to Covid

Zhou Dan: Effective Categorization: ‘Fear’ of ‘Medical Personnel’ at the Centre of the Covid-19 Vortex

Ruchi Rana: Indian Pandemic Folklore in the Times of Covid-19: Impact, Adaptation, and Expression

Margaret Bennett: ‘Beelzebub, you’re muted:’  Discovering Folklore through ‘Lockdown’

14:00-15:30: Panel 3: Diversity, Inclusion and Exclusion in Folklore Research

Paul Cowdell: Dealing with Universalist and Universalising Ghosts—Ours and Other People’s

Matthew Cheeseman: Aligning UK Folklore Research with AHRC Priorities on Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

Emily Hilliard: Visionary Folklore and Everyday Culture in Appalachia

16:00-17:30 Panel 4: Cultural Survival and Transmission

George Monger Reclaiming Cultural Identity Through Folklore and Intangible Heritage

Mia Hovi: Cultural identity of Bolivian immigrants in New York City

Rafael Ocasio: Race and Nation in Puerto Rican Folklore: Franz Boas and John Alden Mason in Porto Rico

Sat 7 May

10:00-11:00: Panel 5: Fairies’ Gender and Queer Folk

Morgan Daimler: Fairies as ‘Other:’ Gender and Sexuality Across Western European Fairy Belief

Aleksandra Gajowy: Queer Decolonial Polishness? Polish Countryside, Folklore, and Queer Desire in Katarzyna Perlak’s Work

11:30-13:00: Panel 6: Women and Folk Traditions

Muskan Dhandhi and Suman Sigroha: Folklore for Women, Women for Folklore: Documenting Women-centric Haryanvi Sanjhi Traditions

Lucy Wright: ‘If your “folk” only includes white men then you’re part of the problem:’ the ‘Folk Is a Feminist Issue’ Manifesta

Ng Mawonthing: ‘I Weave Roirum and Phongyai for My In-Laws:’ Narratives beyond Weaving

Saturday afternoon’s talks will be signed by British Sign Language interpreters

14:00-14:45: Keynote talk:

Prof Sadhana Naithani: Since All Are Never One: Margins, Borders and Folklore

15:30-17:00: Panel 7: Sign Language Folklore and Folklore of Disability

Ella Leith: Folklore by Sign of Hand

Tania Allan: The Signing Selkie

Eva Þórdís Ebenezersdottir: Yuletide Belief and Disability Activism: Academic writing with a Supernatural Being.

Sunday 8 May

10:00-11:00: Panel 8: Outsiders Looking In: The Ethics of Etics

Jeremy Harte: Forgotten but Not Gone: Restoring English Gypsies in Cultural Representation

Rosalind Kerven: Death Versus Cultural Appropriation: Should Outsiders Tell Other Cultures’ Traditional Tales to Keep Them Alive?

11:30-13:00: Panel 9: Marginal Communities and the State

Kesha Marvada: Re-thinking Politics of Folklore and Historiography: A Perspective from Kachchh, Gujarat

Rosemary Power: Who owns Iona? competing and coordinating interpretations

G.R. Rajalekshmi: Coastal folklore of Kerala: The Voice of Sustainability from the Marine Margins.

14:00-15:30: Panel 10: Collaborative Ethnography and the Graphic Novel

Andy Kolovos: Cartooning and Folklife: A Case Study

Michaela Pohl: The Folklore of Denial: Language and Family Rituals In a Graphic Memoir about Postwar Germany

Sandra Mizumoto Posey: Writing Folklore, Drawing Folkloristics, Being a Folklorist

16:00-17:00: Panel 11: Folklore for All: Mass Media

Hart Zhang: The Haunting of Hex Hollow: Historical Discourse, Collective Memory, and Media Coverage of the York, Pennsylvania, Witch Trials, 1920-2020

Ross Macfarlane and Alice White: Folklore on Wikipedia: Increasing Access, Diversifying Knowledge

17:00-17:30:  Conference closing comments

We welcome participants from all disciplines and none, from everywhere around the world, exploring all places and time periods.

Conference Fee: All participants except student speakers will be asked to pay the conference fee:

Standard rate: £50

Reduced rate (Speakers, Folklore Society members, Students, Unwaged): £30 with Promo Code (log in to the Members’ area to get the Promo Code)

Book a ticket here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/open-voices-folklore-for-all-folklore-of-all-tickets-255163048547

Tickets are for the whole three-day conference. Contact thefolkloresociety @ gmail.com for more information re bookings, tickets and Reduced rate if you’re a Speaker or a Student.

The Conference will be held via Zoom