The American Folklore Society (AFS) is a membership organization dedicated to the study of folklore and expressive cultural traditions in the United States of America and throughout the world. AFS serves its members and  the general public by providing programming, publications, policies, and resources examining and affirming the diversity of human creativity across time, heritages, and places.


The American Folklore Society (AFS) embraces an inclusive view of cultural creativity, advocating for respect and mutual understanding of the world’s diverse cultures as well as for the conditions that enable communities and traditions to flourish. 

AFS examines artful communication across boundaries of time, distance, and identity, studying expressive life as both an end in itself and a multifaceted resource in social worlds.  

AFS educates the public and policymakers with the field’s distinctive view into societal concerns, amplifying the insights of both folklore and folklorists.

The AFS draws upon its engagement with vibrant expressive life to nurture the broader values of cultural equity, democratic process, and the defense of human rights.


In 1988, on the occasion of its Centennial observance, the American Folklore Society commissioned William M. Clements of Arkansas State University to edit a volume of essays on the history of our field during the previous century.

100 Years of American Folklore Studies: A Conceptual History provides a clear and concise history of the field of folklore in this country from the mid-1800s to the late 20th century. This 82-page book contains 19 brief essays, most focusing on changing concepts of “folklore,” the “folk,” and “folklorists,” as well as 100 years of AFS officers, Fellows, publications, meeting sites, and JAF editors.