Each year, the Public Programs Section of the American Folklore Society joins with the AFS Executive Board to award the Benjamin A. Botkin Prize of $500 to an individual for significant lifetime achievement in public folklore.
This prize is given in recognition of the work of Benjamin A. Botkin (1901-1975). As an eminent New Deal-era folklorist, national folklore editor of the Federal Writers’ Project in 1938-1939, advocate for the public responsibilities of folklorists, author and compiler of many publications on American folklore for general audiences, and head of the Archive of American Folk Song at the Library of Congress from 1942 to 1945, Botkin has had a major impact on the field of public folklore and on the public understanding of folklore.
The review criteria are:
- Engagement of a broad public audience in the materials of folklore
- Impact on the field of public folklore: development of models, methodology, visibility, advocacy
- Impact on communities/constituents and their traditional culture
- Contributions to the body of materials of folklore/public folklore
- Quality of artistry in presentation: writing, photography, stagecraft, etc.
- Quality of scholarship
- Impact on the discipline of folklore, its theories and methodology
- Quality/adequacy of nomination package itself
- Breadth of support, as evidenced by letters from community members and non-folklorists in addition to folklore colleagues
The next deadline for nominations is September 1, 2021. Please submit your nomination using the AFS prize application form. Nominations must be submitted through the application form. All supporting documents must be saved as a single .doc or .pdf and uploaded in the form. You should direct questions to Botkin Prize Committee Chair Maggie Holtzberg at [email protected].
The supporting document for the Botkin Prize must include a letter of nomination, a one- or two-page biography or resume of the nominee, and three to five letters of support from a broad range of people, including community members who have benefitted from the nominee’s work and people from outside the folklore field in addition to colleagues. Letters should specifically address the review criteria listed above and should explain how the nominee has taken folklore to a broad public audience.
Nominations remain active for five years. Previous nominators should contact Maggie Holtzberg to ensure that their nominations are still in the pool and to arrange to make any additions or updates to previous nominations.
A list of previous award recipients can be found at the Benjamin A. Botkin Prize page on this website.
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