Department of Folk Studies and Anthropology News
WKU Folk Studies Presentations and Award at American Folklore Society Annual Meeting
- Sunday, October 24th, 2021
This past week, October 18th through October 23rd, students, faculty, and staff in the Department of Folk Studies and Anthropology attended the American Folklore Society (AFS) 2021 Annual Meeting, presenting research and projects, connecting with alumni, and celebrating the awarding of a prestigious honor to alumnus Teresa Hollingsworth.
The theme of this year’s meeting was "Natural States: Environment, Politics, and Tradition," and there were both virtual and in-person portions of the program. WKU Folk Studies graduate students who presented their research during the virtual portion included Arianna Pedigo, Madison Rippy, and Allison Cate Stewart, along with undergraduate folklore minor Lamont Jack Pearley, and faculty members Brent Bjorkman, Tim Evans, Tim Frandy, and Kate Horigan. Kentucky Folklife Program Folklife Specialist Joel Chapman presented in-person in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
The department is particularly proud that Teresa Hollingsworth (Folk Studies MA 1989) was awarded the prestigious Benjamin A. Botkin Prize, which recognizes lifetime achievement in public folklore. She shared the award with Varick Chittenden, founder of Traditional Arts of Upstate New York. Teresa’s career since completing her MA at WKU has ranged from positions with the Kentucky Folklife Program to folklife organizations in Maine and Florida, to her work since 1999 with the regional arts agency South Arts. Teresa is a longstanding member of the PCAL Advisory Council and actively supports and recruits students to the Folk Studies graduate program. During the presentation of the award during the Opening Ceremony, WKU Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Folk Studies Michael Ann Williams was quoted: “Teresa is a forward-looking fearless champion of the work we love. In her 30 plus years as a public folklorist, she has done us proud.”
Keeping the tradition of an Annual Alumni Advisory Dinner alive in a modified form, the Folk Studies program hosted a virtual gathering for alumni attending the conference, during which attendees socialized, shared the latest updates and news, and discussed long term strategies for continuing to keep the program’s alumni network strong.
Established in 1888, the American Folklore Society is the primary professional organization for folklorists in the US and around the world. The AFS annual meeting provides folklorists an opportunity to interact with and learn from colleagues, artists, and community partners. This meeting is especially helpful for WKU Folk Studies students learning more about the field and making professional connections.
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