Alina Cash Oprelianska Receives 2022 Elli Köngäs Maranda Student Paper Prize

Annual Meeting News, Prizes
headshot of alina cash oprelianska

Alina Cash Oprelianska (Doctoral student, University of Tartu, Estonia) received the 2022 Elli Köngäs Maranda Student Paper Prize.

The Women’s Section of the American Folklore Society awards the Elli Köngäs-Maranda student paper prize in honor of pioneering scholar Elli Köngäs-Maranda to recognize superior work on women’s traditional, vernacular, or local culture and/or feminist theory and folklore.

Oprelianska’s work “Marriage Is Not Required: A Ukrainian Tale about ‘The Mare’s Head’ and Customary Law in ATU 480 D* Tale Type” makes excellent use of historical and social context as well as narrative and feminist folklore theory to theorize about a folk tale type, Ukrainian customs, and the hero[ine]’s journey. The author makes a strikingly original contribution by analyzing the meanings implicit in the tale in light of Ukrainian women’s traditional domestic work and conventions of property ownership and inheritance. By reconsidering the notions of “beauty” and “loveliness” in this specific historical and cultural context she demonstrates persuasively that these are not universal concepts, as many have previously assumed. As Oprelianska notes, following Cristina Bacchilega, it is “necessary to consider local customs that affect the meaning of gender and define its patterns.” The author’s analysis “reveals how local customs might influence both the reward and the motivation of the heroine’s journey.”

The Women’s Section was also pleased to announce the 2022 Elli Köngäs-Maranda Student Paper Prize honorable mention Molly McBride (Doctoral student, University of Oregon) for “Temporalities of a Lesbian Chorus during COVID-19.” McBride documents and analyzes the practices of Sistrum, a women’s chorus and community/culture group that she was able to join remotely during the covid pandemic. McBride evocatively characterizes the mix of bonding and alienation produced by online practices that required singing together while muted and explains how the group’s traditions and membership have changed over time and especially during covid as a result of members’ changing senses of gender identity and sexual orientation.

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