The Women’s Section was convened more than 25 years ago as folklorists (primarily women) felt the need to meet other feminists, and to address the lack of serious study of women’s issues in the field of folklore. Thanks to the work of these first section members, and those that have followed, feminist contributions to the study of folklore are no longer rare nor overlooked. With more than 200 section members, the Women’s Section is a substantial force in the American Folklore Society.
See Bibiography: Essential Texts for Women’s Folklore Studies, a wiki page built by members of this section.
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In addition to providing a forum for the discussion of women’s issues, the Women’s Section also has sponsored periodic cronings of women members of the Society when they reach the age of 50, holding croning ceremonies every few years at Section meetings. The structure of these ceremonies has varied from time to time and involved elaborate costuming, ritual, joking, and singing. Thus, in addition to its other functions, the Section has provided a playful way of celebrating how women age and of celebrating senior women in the Society, while also making the point that folklorists recognize the great importance of coming-of-age rituals. The next croning is scheduled for 2022.
Polly Stewart Student Travel Stipend
Each year, the Women’s Section awards a travel stipend to one or more students to attend the American Folklore Society meeting. If enough qualified applications are received, the Section awards a First Place Prize of $500 and a Second Place Prize of $300 in the hopes of facilitating participation in the annual meeting by emerging scholars who show promise of furthering the study of women’s folklore, gender issues in folklore, and/or feminist approaches to the study of folklore. The award supports travel costs (transportation, meeting registration, lodging and/or per diem expenses) for students or recent graduates who are members of the AFS Women’s Section and who plan to attend the annual meeting and present her/his work.
Travel Stipend for Independent Folklorists
The AFS Women’s Section jointly with the Independent Section has generously established a stipend of $750.00 to facilitate travel to the annual AFS meeting for a member of the AFS Independent Folklorists’ Section and the Women’s Section.
Elli Köngäs-Maranda Prize
Each year, the Women’s Section of the American Folklore Society awards two prizes in honor of pioneering scholar Elli Köngäs-Maranda. The prizes recognize superior work on women’s traditional, vernacular, or local culture and/or feminist theory and folklore. The content of the nominations must focus on some aspect of women’s folklore.