Our WorkAnnual Meetings2022 Annual Meeting

Celebrating the Expansion of the Notable Folklorists of Color Exhibition at the 2022 AFS Annual Meeting

  • Notable Folklorists of Color curators, Phyllis May-Machunda and Olivia Cadaval with Past President, Norma Cantú standing in front of the exhibition banner
  • six people stand in front of the exhibition banner
  • Notable Folklorists of Color curators standing next to the exhibition title banner
  • Notable Folklorists of Color creators standing in front of the title exhibition banner

This year we celebrated the expansion of the Notable Folklorists of Color online exhibition, sponsored by the American Folklore Society, which now features Expanding the Frames, with more than 135 new ancestor scholars who have contributed to folklore studies, as well as a variety of rich supplemental material. A preview of the new exhibition launched prior to the Annual Meeting, with the rest of the new material released over the course of the next couple months. A display, discussion and celebration of the new work took place at the 2022 AFS Annual Meeting. Open the accordion headers below to learn more about each of these sessions.

The new exhibition is curated by Phyllis May-Machunda, Olivia Cadaval, and Sojin Kim. Learn more about the contributors to the Notable Folklorists of Color exhibitions.

Reception Celebrating the AFS Notable Folklorists of Color Exhibitions and Panel Authors

Thursday, October 13, 6:00 pm–7:30 pm (Promenade Foyer)

  this session was recorded and is available to be viewed online

Sponsored by the AFS Cultural Diversity Committee, the AFS Executive Board, and the American Folklore Society

Chair: Phyllis  M. May-Machunda (Independent Folklorist)

This is a reception celebrating the opening of the “Notable Folklorists of Color: Expanding the Frames” exhibit, which builds on the “Notable Folklorists of Color: Remembering Our Ancestral Legacies” exhibit launched in 2019 in Baltimore, and now available online. Our 2022 exhibit, “Notable Folklorists of Color: Expanding the Frames” honors an additional 125+ BlPOC (Black, Indigenous, Latinx and Asian/Pacific Island American) ancestors whose scholarship contributes to folklore studies. Join us as we honor and celebrate the current BIPOC scholars from folklore (and adjacent fields) who researched and authored these exhibit panels as well as the collaborative team who put this exhibit together.

05-01 Notable Folklorists of Color, Roundtable, Part 1: Process and Praxis [hybrid]

Friday, October 14, 10:30 am–12:30 pm (Tulsa Central) (See also 06-01)

  this session was recorded and is available to be viewed online

Sponsored by the AFS Cultural Diversity Committee and the American Folklore Society

Chair: Sojin Kim (Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage) and Olivia Cadaval (Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, emerita)

Forum participants:

Norma Elia Cantu (Trinity University)

Gloria M. Colom Braña (Bloomington, IN)

Phyllis  M. May-Machunda (Independent Folklorist)

Meredith A.E. McGriff (American Folklore Society)

Jessica Turner (American Folklore Society)

Margaret Magat

Eric César Morales

Wilson Chen

Since 2019, with AFS’s support, a group of 50 current BIPOC scholars have researched and profiled 150 BIPOC ancestors for two linked exhibits that expand how we consider the foundations and critical practices of our field. This initiative spans the work of 19th century figures whose endeavors predate the early scholarship in academic folklore studies to those whose careers continued into the 21st century. The first of a two-part series, this session invites discussion about the process of building this initiative—its theory and praxis and the considerations and roles that contributed to it.

06-01 Notable Folklorists of Color Roundtable, Part 2: Expanding the Frames with BIPOC Scholars [hybrid]

  this session was recorded and is available to be viewed online

Sponsored by the AFS Cultural Diversity Committee, the AFS Working Group on Curriculum Opportunities, and the American Folklore Society

Friday, October 14, 2:30 pm–4:30 pm (Tulsa Central) (See also 05-01)

Chair: Phyllis  M. May-Machunda (Independent Folklorist)

Forum participants:

Wanda G.  Addison (National University)

Michelle Banks (Prescott College)

Katherine Borland (The Ohio State University)

Olivia Cadaval (Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, emerita)

Fariha I. Khan (University of Pennsylvania)

Sojin Kim (Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage)

Holly R.M. Mathews (Indiana University Bloomington)

Anna María Nogar (University of New Mexico, Albuquerque)

Nancy Yan (Independent)

Reflecting on the Notable Folklorists of Color exhibits, we will begin to examine the significance of the addition of these voices to folklore studies’ curricular frameworks. Eight panel authors will lead the discussion and open the conversation to audience participants, centering our discussions around these questions: In what ways do these scholars expand frames for knowledge in our field? What new questions do these materials present and what new insights might they offer? How does this work highlight and reframe the interplay between theory and practice in folklore studies?

The display of the 2019 Notable Folklorists of Color exhibition and the video presentation of the ancestors from the 2022 Notable Folklorists of Color exhibition in the main hallway, the two Roundtable discussions, and the wonderful reception really felt affirming of the work of the Notable Folklorists of Color team, the Future of American Folkloristics graduate students group, the Curriculum Opportunities Working Group, and the decades of work by the Cultural Diversity Committee. These events also felt transformative for the field and begin to fill in some of the invisible histories, perspectives and contributions of BIPOC folklorist ancestors across the U.S.  Addressing this absence has begun to speak to many current young BIPOC scholars, who repeatedly stated that because of learning about this history, that they now can see themselves as belonging in AFS.  Instead of viewing the folklore of people of color merely as the subjects of study, now we have access to the scholarship, voices, and insights of over 160 BIPOC folklorists who have contributed to folklore studies through work in their own communities and the larger field. We are excited about the significance of this enrichment for folklore studies and the opportunities it provides for the field to reassess and reflect on its history and future directions.

Phyllis May-Machunda

Visit www.notablefolkloristsofcolor.org to explore these short biographies of the BIPOC ancestor folklorists, peruse their extensive linked bibliographies, engage new questions and frameworks, and meet current BIPOC folklorists through their writings for these exhibitions.

The graphics below are were shared through social media prior to the 2022 AFS Annual Meeting to announce the Notable Folklorists of Color Expanding the Frames exhibition preview.


Slideshow image captions (left to right):

  1. Notable Folklorists of Color curators, Phyllis May-Machunda and Olivia Cadaval with AFS Past President and contributor, Norma Cantú.
  2. Curators and contributors, Phyllis May-Machunda, Maria T. Lewis, Holly RM Mathews, Gloria M. Colom-Braña, Sojin Kim, Meredith McGriff, and Olivia Cadaval.
  3. Exhibition curators, Phyllis May-Machunda, Olivia Cadaval, and Sojin Kim.
  4. Exhibition curators, Phyllis May-Machunda, Olivia Cadaval, and Meredith McGriff.