Dr. Ebony Bailey Discusses Black Representation in Early American Folklore Studies February 3

Events, News from the Field

Dr. Ebony Bailey will deliver a virtual talk titled, “Revisiting the Folk: Black Representation in Early American Folklore Studies” on February 3, 2021 from 6:00 to 7:30 PM (EST). The event is co-sponsored by the Center for Folklore Studies and the Department of African American and African Studies at The Ohio State University. The abstract and registration details for the talk can be found below.

In this talk, I return to the past of American Folklore Studies to identify both the process by which Black people were represented as the folk (i.e., how Black people were viewed, documented, and discussed) and recognize African American writers, activists, and folklorists who intervened in these processes to assert their humanity and culture. I will discuss how African Americans were pivotal to the beginnings of American folklore studies. They were not simply subjects for folklore studies; as scholar Shirley Moody-Turner has said, they were “active participants” in defining “the folk” and collecting folklore. Since “the folk” were repeatedly equated to Black Americans and folklore was used as a measure of African Americans’ post-emancipation “progress,” nineteenth-century African Americans recognized nineteenth- and twentieth-century folklore as a key site in shaping Black representation. Along with recognizing these contributions, I will discuss the importance of revisiting the origins of American folklore studies – today, more than ever, it is important to understand the construction and stereotyping of Blackness that so definitively characterized the beginnings of American folklore studies.

Register in advance for this meeting:

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting. If you require an accommodation such as live captioning or interpretation to participate in this event, please contact Cassie Patterson at [email protected]. Requests made two weeks before the event will generally allow them to provide seamless access, but the university will make every effort to meet requests made after this date.

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