This year, AFS members will vote for two seats on the Executive Board and one seat on the Nominating Committee, all for a three-year, 2024–2026 term. Those elected will take office on January 1, 2024.
Executive Board (two to be elected to three-year, 2024-2026 terms):
- Betty Belanus (Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage)
- Ashley Minner Jones (Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian)
- Margaret Steiner (Indiana University)
- Ziying You (The College of Wooster)
Nominating Committee (one to be elected to a three-year, 2024-2026 term):
- Lijun Zhang (George Mason University)
- Naomi Sturm-Wijesinghe (Los Herederos and City Lore)
Each of the candidates put forward by the AFS Nominating Committee (chaired by Sarah Gordon with members Carrie Hertz, Fernando Orejuela, and Guha Shankar) has provided a summary professional biography and shared their views in the AFS Candidates’ Forum.
Secure online voting will begin in November after the Annual Meeting and will continue through December 21. Those elected will take office on January 1, 2024.
A virtual Candidates’ Forum was held on Thursday, October 12, 4:30 pm–5:30 pm.
Betty J. Belanus
Betty J. Belanus holds an MA and PhD in folklore from Indiana University. She has been a curator and education specialist at the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage since 1987, and previously served as Indiana State Folk Arts Coordinator. Her work over the years with community scholars and teachers, and as a mentor to hundreds of interns, has been a constant learning experience that keeps the field of folklore fresh for her.
Ashley Minner Jones
Ashley Minner Jones is a community-based visual artist, curator, and folklorist from Baltimore, Maryland, where she has lived on the same block her entire life. Her interdisciplinary practice is deeply rooted in place—usually within the context of the U.S. South—and is focused on honoring and celebrating everyday people by lifting up their stories.
I attended my first American Folklore Society meeting in 1975. Some twenty years later, I began to serve as co-convener of the Music and Song Section. Our section sponsors the Bertrand H. Bronson Student Paper Prize, and hosts the Phillips Barry Lecture most years. I have enjoyed serving as section co-convener, and will gladly serve on the Society’s Executive Board, if elected.
A public folklorist and ethnomusicologist by training, Naomi has more than 15 years of experience working at every level of small to mid-sized non-profit arts organizations. Her specialties range from immigrant and urban place-based folklife, to grassroots fundraising and non-profit management.
Ziying You is Associate Professor and Department Chair of Chinese Studies at the College of Wooster, and the Senior Convener of the Transnational Asia/Pacific Section of the American Folklore Society.
Lijun Zhang is Assistant Professor of Folklore in George Mason University’s English Department. She serves as an associate editor of the Journal of American Folklore and a board member of Council for Museum Anthropology.