CFP 2021 Annual Meeting of the American Folklore Society

AFS News, Annual Meeting News, Calls for Submissions

The American Folklore Society invites proposals for its 2021 Annual Meeting.
Proposal submission deadline: April 30, 2021

Meeting dates:

  • In-person sessions will be held October 21–24, 2021 at the Hilton Harrisburg in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. This portion of the meeting will have limited capacity, so we will prioritize interactive programming. Some sessions will be live-streamed and/or recorded to be available to all participants.
  • Virtual sessions will take place over 3–4 days in mid-October, on dates that will be close to the in-person gathering but not overlapping. The exact dates will be released with the preliminary schedule in June. Keeping these dates open for now will give us needed flexibility in scheduling the accepted proposals that we will collect through April 30. Most virtual sessions will be recorded for asynchronous access.
  • These events will be consecutive, but not simultaneous.

Natural States: Environment, Politics, and Tradition

The 133rd annual meeting of the American Folklore Society in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, occurs amid a grave global concern for the future, and politics, of natural and cultural sustainability on our planet. To take advantage of meeting in a state capital and to connect folklorists to these issues and to inform public policies, the organizers of this international conference will feature presentations and activities that address the intersection of the natural/cultural environment and national/state politics with concepts of tradition. 

Historically, the fields of folklore, folklife, and ethnology have been tied to ideas about naturalistic or organic environments and social structures. We invite contemplation on “nature” and “tradition” as they appear within the philosophical and historical assumptions of folkloristic work, in addition to ways they are applied to the communities and genres with which folklorists and ethnologists work. 

Further, we invite consideration of the states—political and environmental—in which these terms or concepts have operated for centuries and will in the future. The meeting theme is designed to explore broadly the linkage of nature and politics with the cognition, conceptualization, and practice of tradition. It is also designed to call attention to current situations in which folkloristic research is essential for policymakers, tradition-bearers and their communities, and the public. 

Proposals on the meeting theme are encouraged, but not required.

The Annual Meeting of the American Folklore Society will bring hundreds of US and international specialists in folklore and folklife, folk narrative, popular culture, music, material culture, and related fields, to exchange work and ideas and to create and strengthen relationships and networks. 

We invite participants to consider how they might make innovative use of a presentation or session time slot, including approaches that foster interaction and engagement. Prospective participants may submit proposals for:

  • Individual papers: 10-minute or 20-minute presentations, including diamonds or reports on work in progress for “Sounding Board” sessions
  • Paper panel: may consist of 10-minute or 20-minute papers, 90 minutes total
  • Discussion forums: a 90-minute session about a question or problem; the time and space may be creatively structured to facilitate discussion with panelists and audience members
  • Media presentations: may be submitted individually, or as organized screening or listening sessions for finished work, rough cuts, or recorded interviews that you wish to share or workshop
  • Mini-workshops

The proposal form will ask for your preferences for in-person vs. virtual presentation. The in-person meeting will be limited in size, so proposals for the Harrisburg meeting should prioritize in-person interaction. Paper panels are more likely to be managed virtually.

Contact us at [email protected] to discuss strategies or pragmatics, especially concerning your ideas for innovative presentation formats or elements. 

You can find more information about the meeting, including the full theme statement, explanation of proposal formats, instructions for submitting proposals, and more about meeting events at

Proposals may be submitted through April 30, 2021.

Contact information:

Lorraine Walsh Cashman
American Folklore Society
Classroom-Office Building, Indiana University
800 East Third Street
Bloomington, IN 47405
[email protected]

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