Our WorkPrizes and Grants

AFS Graduate Fieldwork Grant

The American Folklore Society offers these grants in support of field research by graduate students pursuing careers in folklore. The main purpose of the grant program is to foster excellence in folklore research by allowing students to develop ambitious projects grounded in long-term ethnographic engagement. We also hope that the grants, in tandem with AFS-led mentoring, will help to create diverse cohorts of new researchers whose conversations will cumulatively advance the field of folklore studies and strengthen the Society. Projects are selected based on their intellectual excellence and the likelihood that the applicant will make a productive career in the field of folklore.

The American Folklore Society Graduate Fieldwork Grant was launched in March 2022 with continuous funding through 2026. The program was made possible by a gift from the Noyes-Krippendorf Fund of the Columbus Foundation. If you’d like to learn more about how to support this program, contact Executive Director Jessica Turner.

Deadline to apply: May 1, 2022

Eligibility criteria:

  • Students must be AFS members; they should demonstrate a knowledge of contemporary folklore studies and commitment to becoming a professional in the field.
  • They should be full time students in good standing in PhD programs in folklore or related fields and have at least one AFS-active folklorist on their committee. Students in terminal MA programs may apply for thesis fieldwork if they demonstrate a commitment to continue to a doctoral program.
  • There are no restrictions on intellectual focus, specific professional goals, or student citizenship.
  • In 2022, two $4000 grants will be awarded. In subsequent years, students should apply for the $8000 or the $4000 grant according to the demonstrable needs of the project at the relevant stage. The grant may be used for any stage of fieldwork that contributes to the production of a dissertation or thesis. 
  • In the first year, the fieldwork can begin any time from the award announcement through May 2023.
  • The award may be received only once, but students may reapply if they have been unsuccessful in an earlier round.

Selection criteria:

  • Excellence and feasibility of the project
  • Demonstrated knowledge of and commitment to the field of folklore studies
  • AFS has an interest in supporting diverse backgrounds, interests, and frameworks among the recipients
  • Insofar as the pool allows, the awards should be spread across a range of project types and academic programs

Selection committee: A committee of three will be chosen by the Executive Board of the American Folklore Society. In 2022, James P. Leary, Tom Mould, and Patricia A. Turner are serving on the committee. Members will recuse themselves from considering the applications of their own students or where other conflicts of interest might exist. The donors will not participate in the selection process.

Application requirements: 

  • A 1200-word dissertation or thesis proposal explaining the topic, analytical framework, methodological approach, and proposed contribution to the field
  • A letter explaining the student’s involvement with AFS and folklore studies, their professional goals, what they will do during the granting period, and how the grant will support their needs and fit in their project timeline
  • A budget and schedule for the funded period, listing additional expected sources of support, if any.
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Most recent academic transcript 
  • A letter of recommendation from an AFS-active member of the student’s committee. (Letters may be co-authored by this member and another person, such as the student’s primary advisor or another AFS member not on the committee.) The letter should speak to the significance of the research project, the student’s qualifications and capacity to carry it out successfully, the student’s background in folklore studies, and the student’s career plans. 

How to apply: 

  1. Submit your application using this form. You will be asked to attach your required application material (see above) in a single Word doc or pdf.
  2. You or your recommender can submit your supporting letters using this form.

2022 Award amount:

  • Two $4000 grants 

2023-2026 Award amounts: 

  • $8000 (1 award per year). This grant is meant for projects with inherently higher expenses and/or the need for a longer field stay.
  • $4000 (3 awards per year)

Awardee commitments:

  • University IRB approval (or international equivalent) must be documented prior to the award payout.
  • Within three months of return from the field, the awardee will write up a 500-word report. In collaboration with the awardee, the awardee will work with AFS to produce a short video or blog entry featuring the awardee’s project and fieldwork, to be shared in AFS public communications.
  • Awardees will also be expected to participate in a proposal-writing workshop at the AFS meeting following their award period. This will help them to take the next step of applying for major fellowships or external funding, whether for dissertation completion or postdoctoral work.

Award announcements will be made by June 1. The award will be paid out one month prior to the beginning of fieldwork.