Folk Arts and Material Culture Section Guide to AFS 2021 Annual Meeting

AFS News, Annual Meeting News

By Martha Sims (Section Convener)

This guide is intended to be a quick locator for presentations and forums that those of you who focus on folk art and material culture might be interested in attending. If we’ve missed anything, our apologies. (Our search included folk art and vernacular art, material culture, architecture including vernacular, dress and textiles, as well as other art- & material culture-related practices and forms. Unsurprisingly, “art” alone brought up many presentations that do not focus on forms of material expression. A search for aesthetics brought up a number of sessions and presentations, but most were about performance more broadly.) It’s folklore, so of course, there’s crossover in these categories and use of terminology. For more specific information on the presentations and presenters, use the simple search function in the online program. A few of these will be recorded and can be viewed later. Keep an eye out for that notation as you search details in the program.


All times below are EDT; the program is subject to change.

12-05 Creative States (of Mind and Matter): Amateur Museums, Vernacular Displays, and Community Spaces
Mon., 11:15 am-12:45 pm EDT

This forum will focus on questions related to material collection and expression, values and aesthetics.

21-02 Folk Arts in the Time of COVID, Part I: Documentation as Radical Care in Life-Altering Times
Tues., 9:30 am-11:00 am

In this forum, folklorists who work in a variety of venues (academic and public) will facilitate a dialogue on documenting, collecting, and exhibiting creative responses to “expressive COVID ephemera.” 

22-04 Folk Arts in the Time of COVID, Part II: Creation as Radical Care in Life-Altering Times
Tues., 11:15 am-12:45 pm

In this forum, folklorists explore some of the ways vernacular artists are doing work to bring forward“stories of injustices and inequalities” exposed in the midst of the pandemic.

22-02 Home, Environment, and Material Culture
Tues., 11:15 am-12:45 pm

This session includes presentations on both architecture and home practices.

  • Stigmatized Architecture: Mobile Home Parks and the National Register of Historic Places
  • “May It Be Sweet to You All Winter Long”: Home-Preserved Foods and Self-Preservation in Bulgarian Households
  • Chamba Rumal: A Glance through the Folkloristic Lens
  • Tulips and Sand: Rethinking Domestic Material Culture
  • The Transformation in Iranian Dwelling Patterns and Neighborhood Relationships: A Qualitative Content Analysis of Iranian Movies

26-07 Measuring the Impact of Apprenticeships: Proposing a Longitudinal Comparative Study
Tues., 5:15-6:45 pm

In this forum, folklorists and indigenous collaborators seek feedback from the field on proposed research methods and practices “that directly benefit our nation’s culturally diverse, underserved communities.”

27-04 Oral, Written, and Material Narrations of Italian Captivity in WWII sponsored by the Mediterranean Studies Section
Tues., 7:00-8:30 pm

As the title of this session suggests, these presentations examine creative, vernacular practices including but not entirely focused on material culture–practices reflecting on and/or practiced in WWII.  

  • On the African War Stage: How Music, Theater, and Hope Saved Italian POWs in Kenya
  • Alberto Del Giudice: IMI-Italian Military Internee 1943-45
  • Captivating Italy in Wyoming: Italian Prisoners of War in the Cowboy State

36-01 Textiles, Dress, and Agency
Wed., 5:15-6:45pm

This session includes presentations about communities of artistic practice, display, and performance.

  • Warp and Weft, Cross and Twist: Community Pedagogy and Artistic Attribution in Weaving and Lace Making Communities, New York, and New Jersey, 1920-Present
  • Women Artisans of Chikan: Investigating Traditions and Lived Realities of the Embroiderer Community
  • Every Member a Missionary: Dress Codes and Representation in Mormon Culture

51-03 Documentation and Presentation of Folk Arts
Fri., 8:30-10:00 am

This session, as its title suggests, includes several presentations about the processes, goals, successes and shortcomings of research and public programming.

  • From an Idea to a Living Institution: The New Jersey Folk Festival
  • Bluegrass in One Ear and Rock n’ Roll in the Other: Field Report from a Music Community Documentation Project
  • The Power of Partnership: Tales From The Millennial Traditional Artists Project

FOLK ART and MATERIAL CULTURE (Individual Presentations)

in 11-02, Mon., 9:30-11:00 am
  • Fukunosuke Kusumi: The Art of Looking Back
  • La Zona Maya No Es un Museo Ethnográfico, Es un Pueblo En Marcha [The Mayan Zone Is Not an Ethnographic Museum, It Is a People On the Move]: Yucatec Embroiderers from Legitimate Peripheral Participants to Audacious Cultural Innovators
in 24-07, Tues., 2:15-3:45 pm
  • Folk Arts Education in the Time of COVID-19: Addressing Students’ Social Emotional Needs
  • Teaching Socially-Engaged and Community-Driven Ethnography in the College Classroom: A Material Culture Approach to Introductory and Writing-Intensive Courses
in 26-02, Tues., 5:15-6:45 pm
  • Muddy Dogs” in Struggles: Discourses about Tradition, ICH, and Identity around a Clay Toy
in 28-01, Tues., 8:45-10:15 pm
  • Folk Literature Traditions and Rural Social Governance: The Case of Huaiyang District of Zhoukou, Henan Province
in 34-01, Wed. 2:15-3:45 pm
  • We Are Not a Museum Culture: Decolonizing Representations of Sámi Dress
in 36-03, Wed., 5:15-6:45 pm
  • The Study and Use of Videoconferencing by Folklorists
in 36-04, Wed., 5:15-6:45 pm
  • Everyday Art in Postwar Bosnia
in 36-05, Wed., 5:15-6:45 pm
  • The Cancionero and the Ideological Borderlands of Social Movements
in 54-02, Fri., 2:00-3:30 pm
  • “Searching out the New Land”: African American Identity and Folk Art during the World War II Period
in 64-02, Sat. 2:00-3:30 pm
  • Families Share Culture: When Virtual Space Creates Intimacy


Worlds of Paper Cut Art
Fri., 12:30-1:30 pm

This event will include a “worldwide visual tour” of paper cut traditions as well as a live demonstration of Jewish paper cut art.

Local Learning Workshop

Sat., 10:30 am-12:30 pm

This workshop will offer the opportunity to meet and learn from artists who were participants in Local Learning’s recent professional development workshop. The artists’ work includes drum traditions, chainsaw carving, crocheting cos-play costumes, and gospel music.

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