Thursday, October 29, 2009

What's the role of Narrative in a point and click world?

The article linked here from today's Washington Post explores the role of storytelling an a world of twitter and other snippet reading alternatives. Is there a role for the narrative (especially the long narrative) in this world of short attention spans and 120 character limits?

According to this author, there are many reasons to believe that a well-told story is still worth most people's time. He writes, "Narrative isn't merely a technique for communicating; it's how we make sense of the world. The storytellers know this."

He goes on to discuss new digital forms of storytelling (not in the traditional sense)
that have evolved recently. It turns out (no surprises for folklorists) that people love a good story. Even if it is longer than 120 characters long.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Folklorist Sabina Magliocco lectures on the Folklore of Harry Potter

Sabrina Magliocco, a Folklorist and professor of anthropology at Cal State Northridge, gave a lecture on the ancestors of Harry Potter and the history of witchcraft and folklore on Monday Oct. 26. Follow the link to the full story above.

Missouri State University Folklore Students to give Campus "haunted" tours

Members of Missouri State University’s Folklore Club will give guided tours of campus tonight, sharing little known tales and spooky stories about the Springfield campus. KSMU’s Missy Shelton reports.

The Missouri State students who will serve as tour guides tonight will share legends and stories collected from students and alumni. Dr. Rachel Gholson is faculty advisor of the Folklore Club, which is presenting tonight’s Haunted Tours.

Gholson says, “Students will be sharing narratives that have been collected from other students across campus for the last eight years that are all about various mysterious events, strange bits of information you may not know about campus, such as underground basketball courts that you can reach through tunnels that exist in specific places or ghosts that are in various buildings. There will be all kinds of haunting narratives and then little bits of interesting information they’ll share.”

Tours begin at 7 tonight and groups will leave every 20 minutes from Plaster Student Union. Tickets are required but can be purchased on site this evening. Just to get you “in the spirit,” Dr. Gholson shares a story that will not only be told this evening but will be reenacted by students from the Missouri State Theatre and Dance Department.

Gholson says, “There is the young woman who is purported to have been studying in the library one evening. She had a bit of a scary experience where a young man was walking around and she felt uncomfortable. She picked up her books and she disappeared into the restroom and hung out for a while. She came back out and saw that he was gone. Everything was fine and she continued her studying. But when the library closed just before midnight when she was leaving, she happened to run into him again. I wont’ give away the narrative but I will tell you that the fountain out front has not always been the best place to get your feet wet.”

You can hear the conclusion of this story tonight during the Haunted Tours that the Missouri State University Folklore Club will be hosting beginning at 7 outside the Plaster Student Union.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

IU Professor and Alumnus Share Chicago Folklore Prize

The American Folklore Society (AFS) and the University of Chicago have awarded Michael Dylan Foster, an IU assistant professor in the departments of folklore and East Asian languages and cultures, and Ray Cashman, an associate professor of folklore at Ohio State University who earned his doctorate at IU The Chicago Folklore Prize

Monday, October 26, 2009

Egyptian Folklore Conference

Delegation heads to Egypt for folklore conference

SANA'A, Oct. 25 (Saba) – Yemen is set to take part in the special conference on Muslim and Arab folklore' present circumstances and prospective horizons' that would be organized by the High Cultural Council in Egypt.

The meeting will take place on 26-29 October, with more than 17 Arab states expected at it.

Deputy Culture minister for Yemen Folklore Njaiba Hadad, head of the Yemeni delegation to the meeting, said on Sunday Yemen will present a work paper on its cultural heritage and visions over the heritage as well as the role of the ministry of Cultural in protecting it.

Hadada will deliver the opening speech that will highlight visions over protecting the Muslim and Arab identity under current difficult challenges and the negatives of the media while tackling crucial issues concerned by the Muslim and Arab nations.

The conference will discuss several issues including activating the dialog on the reality of the Muslim and Arab nations, the challenges and political crises in the Muslim and Arab worlds and how to preserve their fading folklore, she said.

Oral History Opportunity with the Smithsonian

Next year marks the 100th anniversary of the opening of the National Museum of Natural History. The Museum plans to mark this occasion with a Centennial Celebration-a year-long series of events that will highlight the Museum's scientific contributions, as well as the lasting impact that their exhibitions and educational programs have had on visitors over the past one hundred years.

The Centennial Celebration will kick-off on March 17th, 2010, with the opening of the David H. Koch Hall of Human Origins. Throughout 2010 the Museum will implement a targeted media and public outreach effort that will include a Centennial exhibit, television programming, a website, social media experiences, family festivals, and a lecture series.

A key component of the Centennial Celebration will be an Oral History Project - to be conducted in collaboration with the Smithsonian Institution Archives - that will tell the history of the Museum through the stories of staff members and volunteers. The Museum's plan is to document the reminiscences and contributions of twenty interview subjects, representing the wide range of the work conducted at NMNH over past decades. These interviews will be placed in the Smithsonian Institution Archives to serve as a lasting resource and documentation of its history. Excerpts from the interviews will also be featured on the Centennial website.

The Museum is seeking volunteers who would like to participate in the production of the Oral History Project. If you are interested in volunteering, please e-mail: Paula Cardwell, Public Programs Specialist,

Storytelling is a Gift

This article from the Times-West Virginian highlights the work of Ruth Ann Musick, who collects local folklore in WV. Her work will be featured next week at the ninth annual Frank and Jane Gabor West Virginia Folklife Center Gala, which will will take place Saturday, Oct. 31, at Fairmont State University.