Public Folklore

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A landmark volume exploring the public presentation and application of folk culture in collaboration with communities, Public Folklore is available again with a new introduction discussing recent trends and scholarship. Editors Robert Baron and Nick Spitzer provide theoretical framing to contributions from leaders of major American folklife programs and preeminent folklore scholars, including Roger D. Abrahams, Robert Cantwell, Gerald L. Davis, Archie Green, Bess Lomax Hawes, Richard Kurin, Daniel Sheehy, and Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gim-blett. Their essays present vivid accounts of public folklore prac-tice in a wide range of settings-nineteenth-century world's fairs and minstrel shows, festivals, mu-seums, international cultural ex-change programs, concert stages, universities, and hospitals.

Drawing from case studies, historical analyses, and their own experiences as advocates, field re-searchers, and presenters, the es-sayists recast the history of folk-lore in terms of public practice, while discussing standards for presentation to new audiences. They approach engagement with tradition bearers as requiring collaboration and dialogue. They critically examine who has the authority to represent folk culture, the ideologies informing these representations, and the effect upon folk artists of encountering revived and new audiences within and beyond their own communities. In discussions of the relationship between public practice and the academy, this volume also offers new models for integrating public folklore training within graduate studies.

Robert Baron directs the Folk Arts Program at the New York State Council on the Arts and has been a non-resident Fellow at the W. E. B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research at Harvard University. Nick Spitzer is host and creator of public radio's American Routes and folklore professor at the University of New Orleans.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This collection of 16 essays, mainly growing out of a 1987 meeting of the American Folklore Society, presents a variety of views and experiences of specialists working to preserve and bring folklore to the public. Roger D. Abrahams notes the irony that the printing press--``the major device against which folklorists have appeared to be reacting''--has also given sustenance to folk culture. However, his essay on the differences between studying folklore and presenting it to the public, like most in the book, is addressed to an insider audience. More intriguing are the personal experiences recounted. Spitzer Louisiana: A Land Apart recalls how Cajun, black and Cuban folk practitioners in Louisiana helped him recover from cancer; Gerald L. Davis argues that folklorists who are part of the communities they study should produce richer work than an outsider would; Susan Roach recounts the ``discovery'' by the organizers of a folklore festival of an African American walking-stick carver and his subsequent rise. Baron directs the Folk Arts Program of the New York State Council on the Arts. Illustrations not seen by PW. Oct.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781934110409
  • Publisher: University Press of Mississippi
  • Publication date: 12/1/2007
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 370
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert Baron directs the Folk Arts Program at the New York State Council on the Arts and has been a non-resident Fellow at the W. E. B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research at Harvard University.

Nick Spitzer is host and creator of public radio's American Routes and folklore professor at the University of New Orleans.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 1
Pt. 1 Reflections and Directions
The Public, the Folklorist, and the Public Folklorist 17
Mistaken Dichotomies 29
Public Folklore's Name: A Partisan's Notes 49
Happy Birthday, Dear American Folklore Society: Reflections on the Work and Mission of Folklorists 65
Pt. 2 Metaphors and Methods of Practice
Cultural Conversation: Metaphors and Methods in Public Folklore 77
"So Correct for the Photograph": "Fixing" the Ineffable, Ineluctable African American 105
Public Folklore: A Glimpse of the Pattern That Connects 119
Field Work and Social Work: Folklore as Helping Profession 145
The Journey of David Allen, Cane Carver: Transformations through Public Folklore 159
Presenting Folklife in a Soviet-American Cultural Exchange: Public Practice during Perestroika 183
Crossover Dreams: The Folklorist and the Folk Arrival 217
Feet on the Ground, Head in the Clouds: Some Thoughts on the Training of Public Folklorists 231
Pt. 3 Recovering a History of Public Folklore
The Foundations of American Public Folklore 245
Feasts of Unnaming: Folk Festivals and the Representation of Folklife 263
Postwar Public Folklore and the Professionalization of Folklore Studies 307
Public Folklore: A Bibliographic Introduction 339
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