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Guidelines for Forming AFS Sections

AFS sections are not independent organizations; they are part of AFS. In seeking recognition and standing as a section, interest groups make a commitment to the Society to be governed by overall AFS Bylaws, polices and Executive Board decisions, and to comply with overall Society financial procedures. Moreover, they make a commitment to their prospective members to work to sustain an engaged intellectual community and to advance their common interest in some demonstrable way.

The Executive Board grants recognition to sections and has the power to revoke section status if sections do not remain active and in good standing according to Article X of the AFS Bylaws and the terms laid out in Important Information for AFS Section Conveners. Sections may not charge dues without Executive Board approval.

The American Folklore Society will only consider petitions for section status from groups focused on particular subjects or practices of folklore studies. The AFS Executive Board will not approve the creation of a section that limits membership based on criteria extrinsic to folklore studies, or otherwise discriminates on the basis of sex, race, color, national origin, sexual orientation, religion, ideology, political affiliation, age, disability, or marital status.

Groups may petition the Executive Director for section status by submitting a written proposal that includes the names of at least 10 AFS members, the name of at least one convener who is an AFS member and evidence that:

1. The proposed section will be a community of folklorists, most of whom are AFS members, with an identifiable membership and a commitment to maintaining connections among folklorists. 

Note: AFS staff will create and maintain the section member list, the mechanism for section communication and managing section membership, as well as the section’s webpage(s). Founding members are responsible for providing information about the section for publication on the AFS website, including information for section members about all off-site communication channels. Off-site communication channels must be approved and coordinated with AFS staff; off-site platforms may supplement the section’s presence on the AFS website, but must not replace it.

Once the section web content is complete, the section may issue a call to the AFS membership to invite them to add themselves to the section.

2. The section will monitor, protect, and ensure high quality in both the means and the products of its activities and its communications with its members, for all section communications, on any platform. Note: The proposed section must agree to use only AFS online group tools to communicate section business and to get approval from AFS concerning any off-site communication channels that are used for general discussion or disseminating section information.

3. The granting of section status will benefit both the section and the AFS by establishing a partnership in the practice of folklore studies.

4. The proposed section’s area of folklore-studies interest does not significantly overlap with that of an existing AFS Section.

All prospective sections are encouraged to function as free sections, supported by AFS but without charging dues, for at least three years. Free sections have all the rights and privileges of dues-charging sections, but fewer responsibilities. 

To secure section status, groups must submit a proposal to be considered by the AFS Executive Board at one of the Board’s semi-annual meetings. Proposals must include a plan for a formal organizational structure, including plans for transition in section leadership.

If, after a period of at least three years, sections vote to charge dues, they must submit to the AFS Executive Director a business plan that identifies: at least one specific goal that will be supported by member dues; the rationale for each goal; and financial projections for how the plan can be sustained over at least five years.