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Don Yoder Prize

The Folk Belief and Religious Folklife Section of the American Folklore Society invites submissions for The Don Yoder Prize for the Best Graduate Student Paper in Folk Belief or Religious Folklife, with an honorarium of $500. The award is given to recognize an excellent graduate student paper on a topic in folk belief and religious folklife. The prize is named in honor of folklorist and religious studies scholar, Don Yoder (1921-2015), professor of Folklore and Folklife and Religious Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, an expert on American sectarian religions, who mentored many scholars in the academic study of religion and folklife in the United States.

Submissions: All research papers, in English, by graduate students written after January 1 of the previous year (i.e., during the previous 17 months), published or unpublished at the time of submission, and written on a folk belief or religious folklife topic, broadly construed, are eligible.

Interested applicants must submit the following materials for consideration: (1) A cover letter specifying the date when the paper was written; the conference, colloquium, or course where the paper has been or will be submitted; or the publication in which it will be published. (2) The paper should be a minimum of 8 pages, and a maximum of 36 pages, double-spaced, 12 pt. font, with one-inch margins. PLEASE NOTE: To ensure blind judgment of papers, please remove the author’s name and identifying metadata from the paper. Entries must be fully footnoted for a reading audience, using Journal of American Folklore citation style. (3) A short (100-word) biographical statement about the author, including the author’s current graduate student status, with description of the research. Prize winners may also be asked later to send a photo for publicity. (4) An email letter from a faculty sponsor endorsing submission of the paper.

Change of Deadline! The 2023 deadline for submissions is midnight June 1. Any materials received after this deadline will not be considered. Electronic submissions are required.

The (1) cover letter; the (2) paper with its title only; the (3) biographical statement about the author; and the (4) faculty sponsor’s letter should be submitted as Microsoft Word documents or pdf to the AFS prize application submission form linked here. For any technical questions related to the submission, please send an email to AFS Executive Director Jessica Turner at [email protected].

One submission per person, please. Previous winners of the Folk Belief and Religious Folklife Student Prizes are not eligible; except for winners of the William A. Wilson Prize for the Best Undergraduate Student Paper, who may later submit a new research paper for the Don Yoder Prize for the Best Graduate Student Paper. The papers will be evaluated by three judges who are members of both the American Folklore Society and the Folk Belief and Religious Folklife Section. The winner will be announced at the Section’s business meeting at the Society’s annual meeting and the winner will be featured in the AFS newsletter.


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