by Martha C. Sims, Convener, AFS Folk Arts and Material Culture Section

This guide offers a list of presentations and forums focusing on folk art and material culture. We combed the program to develop this directory in hopes of making your conference-going experience a little easier. If we’ve missed anything, our apologies. We were careful and checked and rechecked forums, panels, and individual papers, so we think this should be a pretty solid starting point for an FAMC take on the Tulsa conference. We tried to err on the side of capturing more rather than less, and we expect that like us, you enjoy scrolling or thumbing through the program over a beverage or meal with your folklore friends. If you prefer to work from paper, you can access this guide as a pdf.

The guide is divided into two sections. Each section is organized (to align with the meeting program) by day and time.

  • Section 1 lists entire sessions (both panels and forums) centered around folk art and material culture as well as sessions touching on folk art and material culture practices and/or approaches to study. We’ve included a brief description of each session, based on the session’s published abstract or in the case of Assembled Panels based on the abstracts of the individual presentations.
  • Section 2 includes the titles of individual presentations drawn from sessions which are not focused solely on folk art and material culture topics. Abstracts for those presentations are, of course, available in the full meeting program.

For further details on the presentations found here (including presenters’ names), please refer to the Meeting Program.

SECTION 1: Full Sessions

Thursday, October 13

01-04 Theory, Tradition, and Practice in Contemporary Puppetry (hybrid)

  • 8:00-10:00 am
  • Session will be recorded and available for later viewing online.
  • Because this is a forum rather than discrete presentations, it’s not clear how much the exchange amongst presenters will allow for focus on material objects, but the description notes that the puppets are “conceived as ‘performing objects’ and “an array of materials, objects and things [are] brought to life” in puppeteers’ or actors’ performances.

02-04 Puppetry, Embodiment, and Disruption With Performing Objects (hybrid)

  • 10:30 am–12:30 pm
  • Session will be recorded and available for later viewing online.
  • This forum is related to 01-04 and notes that participants in it will “reflect on what it means to think of the material world as animate” and explore ways these “materially constructed bod[ies]” work because of their liminal status.  

02-07 Folklore and the Transformation of Museum Collection Practices

  • 10:30 am–12:30 pm
  • This session’s presentations appear to have processes and practices rather than material objects as their focus; however, those of you interested in material culture and museums might find the panel of interest.

02-11 Reconsidering Folk and Self-Taught Art

  • 10:30 am–12:30 pm
  • This is an Assembled Panel in which the presentations explore various forms of folk art and material culture and examine different approaches to thinking about those art forms.

02-14 Apprenticeships and More: Methods for Transmitting Traditional Knowledge

  • 10:30 am–12:30 pm
  • Though this forum doesn’t focus directly on folk art and material culture, its focus on arts apprenticeships may prove of interest to scholars thinking about and/or working with traditional arts programs and/or studying apprenticeships.

Resource Sharing in Folk Arts

  • 12:45 pm–2:45 pm

03-04 Memes, Humor and Identity (hybrid)

  • 2:30 pm–4:30 pm
  • Session will be recorded and available for later viewing online.
  • The presentations in this Assembled Panel focus on visual texts adapted and shared informally through digital networks, which creators of this guide think fits squarely within the framework of expressive visual narratives.  

03-08 On Becoming More Differentiated: Diversification of Craft Practices and Experiences in Southwest China

  • 2:30 pm–4:30 pm
  • Notably this session “will be on studies of differentiation within craft worlds.” Its three presentations focusing on dress, basket making, and basket selling. 

Friday, October 14

No Friday sessions focus entirely on material culture and folk art. Section 2 of this guide lists several individual presentations focusing on folk art and material culture.

Saturday, October 15

07-05 Maintaining, Reshaping, and Re-Centering Periphery in Community Spaces (hybrid)

  • 8:00-10:00 am
  • Session will be recorded and available for later viewing online.
  • Each of the presentations in this Assembled Panel notes material culture, in general, or specific items of material culture in its abstract. One, on the Confederate monuments of Richmond, Virginia, specifically notes people’s “material culture practices” as a central feature of the presentation.

08-10 Social Reform, Heritage, or Leisure? Considering North American Folk Schools Past and Present

  • 10:30 am–12:30 pm
  • Sponsored by the Folk Arts and Material Culture Section
  • This forum explores the histories of folk schools along with contemporary practices in/of folk schools, examining the circulation of traditional knowledge as well as considering “tensions . . .  between progressive ideals and actualized social change” in contemporary folk schools.

08-11 Sounding Board II

  • 10:30 am–12:30 pm
  • Based on the abstracts, the presentations in this Assembled Panel seem to swim close to material culture, if not dive directly into it. Your FAMC-guides recommend you check out the abstracts yourself and see what you think.

09-01 Perspectives on Material Culture (hybrid)

  • 2:30 pm–4:30 pm
  • Session will be recorded and available for later viewing online.
  • This panel’s three presentations cover a range of historic and contemporary items and practices from different cultural and geographic traditions: a historic folk potter who was an enslaved African American; stakeholders involved in the contemporary practice of creating and using mohra idols of the Himachal Pradesh state in India; and a Norwegian craftsman whose home/workshop, built in the 1800s, is in the process of restoration by community volunteers, locals, and students.

09-03 Making Connections: Reflections on the African American Craft Initiative (hybrid)

  • 2:30 pm–4:30 pm
  • Session will be recorded and available for later viewing online.
  • This forum will focus on the African American Craft Initiative (AACI) which “is designed to expand the visibility of African American craft practitioners and ensure equitable access to resources.” Organizers, participants, and interns will discuss the AACI and invite discussion of the initiative with attendees of the session. Your FAMC-guides are excited about the Initiative and the opportunity to learn more about it!

SECTION 2: Individual Presentations

Thursday, October 13

8:00 am–10:00 am

in 01-07, Pilgrimage and Place

  • La Virgen Peregrina y la Virgen de la Morada: The Virgin of Guadalupe’s Pilgrimages and Dwellings in Salt Lake City

2:30 pm–4:30 pm

in 03-13, Engaging the Personal in the Cultural Politics of Italian Migrations

  • The Cultural Politics of the Presepio: Autoethnography, Artistry, and Protest from the Italian American Imaginarium

in 03-14, Text, Translation and Documentation

  • Revisiting Region: Folklore and Print Culture in the Ozarks

Friday, October 14

8:00 am–10:00 am

in 04-01, Translation in/of Folklore Studies: Perspectives from China HYBRID

session will be recorded and available for later viewing online

  • Quilts: A “Thick Translation” through Museum Exhibits

8:30 am–10:00 am

in 04-11, Liminal and Transgressive Spaces

  • Disaster Tourism: Fetishizing Loss as Art in the Covid Marketplace

in 04-13, Inventing from Its Edges

  • Inventing Italian America through the Photograph

10:30 am–12:30 pm

in 05-03, New Engagements with Museums and Monuments

  • The Cryptic Mayan Jaguar: Embodiment as Costume, Regalia, Uniform, and Traje in the MUREM Folklore Museum’s Educative Curation
  • Indigenous Art, Pop Mythologies

in 05-04, Weatherlore, Part 2: W(he/ea)ther the Weather (hybrid)
session will be recorded and available for later viewing online

  • Canning for the Apocalypse: Climate Change, Zombies, and the Early 21st-Century Canning Renaissance
  • Feeding the Storm (virtual)

in 05-08, Sounding Board I

  • The Bumper Stickers of Erasure: Fostering Idaho Cultural Intimacy through Vernacular Practice

in 05-09, Social Histories In and Through Oklahoma

  • A Remembrance of Recipes: A Bit of Cookery from WWII Midwest City, Oklahoma

in 05-10, Queer Identities, Marginalized and Centered

  • Queering Cosplay and Conventions: Intersections of Folklore, the Cosplay Community, and Gender Identity

in 05-12, Contemporary Jewish Folklore: Re-Thinking Community Practices and Identity

  • The Huppah as Object and Symbol in Contemporary American Culture

in 05-13, Food and Identity

  • “You Don’t Mess With Ajvar”: Food Preparation as a Manifestation of Macedonian Identity
  • “Do I smell Pfefferkuchen?”: Oma’s Gingerbread and Family Folklore

SATURDAY, October 15

8:30 am–10:00 am

in 07-04, Exalting the Folk at the Feet of Himalaya: Representations of Folklore in Himachal Pradesh, India (hybrid)
session will be recorded and available for later viewing online

  • Painted Words: Investigating Mythological and Folk Narratives in Pahari Miniatures

in 07-13, Native American Expressive Cultures

  • The Art of the Igloo: The Vernacular Architecture of the Arctic
  • Murals, Countermurals, and Visual Sovereignty in Juneau, Alaska’s Public Art

10:30 am–12:30 pm

in 08-06, Black Oklahoma: Past, Present, and Futures

  • Art, Activism, and Education in North Tulsa

in 08-12, Life During Wartime

  • Giving Mother Mary Her Gun: St. Javelin and The Ethical Entailments of a Digital Wartime Meme
  • Hold My Javelin: Visual Culture and Ukrainian Folklore in the 2022 Russian Invasion of Ukraine

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