AFS Goldstein Award Recognizes Dorothy Noyes’ Ongoing Career of Academic Leadership

AFS News, Featured Folklorist, Folklore Works
Portrait of Dorothy Noyes smiling

In awarding the 2021 Kenneth Goldstein Award for Lifetime Academic Leadership to Dorothy Noyes at its Annual Meeting last October, the American Folklore Society celebrated her outstanding achievements in advancing the work of students and colleagues, of the Center for Folklore Studies at The Ohio State University, of the American Folklore Society, and of the field as a whole.

AFS awards the Goldstein prize every other year to recognize outstanding abilities and achievement by a living scholar in academic leadership relating to folklore.

This time, we particularly celebrate Noyes’ outstanding contributions in the many facets of academic leadership, from one-to-one teaching and mentorship, through institutional service, to making a lasting impact on folklore studies. 

Her accolades and accomplishments are many, resisting a brief summary, but the nominators and prize review committee particularly emphasized Noyes’ accomplishments as a thought leader and ambassador for the field. 

Noyes has been described as a “transformative thinker” and “intellectual leader” who has synthesized and “​​systematically interrogated our key concepts: Group, Tradition, Performance, and Community, describing their genealogies and updating our understanding of them in a changing intellectual, cultural and political/policy environment.” (Ohio State has awarded Noyes the rare honor of Distinguished Scholar; read this award announcement for more about her scholarly accomplishments.)

She has also worked throughout her career to strengthen and extend the discipline in many directions. As one nominator wrote, “She is an ambassador and bridge builder whose work has strengthened the position of folklore studies, and the AFS, internationally.” She has worked to build and sustain international networks of scholars that link North America, Estonia, Spain, Turkey, China and Japan, and more. She has also concentrated on interdisciplinary connections, creating pathways for partnership and interaction between folklore and allied disciplines; the OSU Center for Folklore Studies serves as one noteworthy example. Throughout her career, she has resolutely worked to communicate the relevance and significance of folklore studies to the wider world, and vice versa.

Noyes has also been name an OSU Graduate Council award winner for distinguished faculty advising and OSU Arts and Sciences Distinguished Professor, “reserved for the most distinguished faculty” who have demonstrably “excelled in teaching, service, and research/creative activity, and whose work has demonstrated significant impact on their fields, students, college and university, and/or the public.”

Not incidentally, we are tremendously grateful for Noyes’ service as AFS Fellow (2005-present), Executive Board member (2004-6), contributor to AFS projects, and AFS President (2018-19). Her service as AFS President was characterized especially by her advancement of “big ideas” and fostering of international relations, while also navigating through challenges small and large, like stewarding the succession of executive leadership at AFS in 2018.

See OSU’s recent College of Arts and Sciences News for more about Noyes’ work for the Center for Folklore Studies (director, 2005 to 2014), her reaction to the Goldstein Award, and her current research project.

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