Our WorkPrizes and Grants

Chicago Folklore Prize

First awarded in 1904, the Chicago Folklore Prize, awarded to the author(s) of the best book-length work of folklore scholarship for the year, is the oldest international award recognizing excellence in folklore scholarship. Occasionally, a joint recipient is also selected. The prize is offered jointly by the American Folklore Society and the University of Chicago.

From its inception, the administrators and judges for the prize have interpreted “folklore” in a broad and inclusive sense, and winners have traditionally come from the fields of folklore study, cultural studies, ethnomusicology, literary study, anthropology, sociology, cultural geography, and dance ethnology. The recent recipients of the prize provide a sense of the disciplinary range represented in the competition.

How to Apply

We encourage entries from scholars in folklore and their publishers all over the world. Works submitted must be monographs published in the 15 months prior to the annual submission deadline of April 15.

We will not consider articles, dissertations, reissues of older works (unless they have been substantially revised and rewritten), editions of works by others, or works-in-progress for the prize. A cash award is made to the winner or winners of the prize. If no entry is deemed worthy, no prize will be awarded. The winner/s will be announced at the Society’s annual meeting in October or November each year.

AFS requires that publishers submit hard copies of all books, with the exception of books that are only available in electronic formats.

  • Publishers should mail four copies (clothbound or paperback) to the AFS office, “attention Chicago Folklore Prize.”
  • Publishers of books available in electronic formats only should email a PDF of the book, or download instructions, to [email protected].

In all cases, submissions must arrive at the AFS office or inbox no later than the annual April 15 deadline. The publisher of a book available in hard copy that is selected as the Prize recipient must send AFS one additional hard copy upon request for our collection of Chicago Folklore Prize-receiving books.

If you have questions, please direct them to American Folklore Society Executive Director, Jessica Turner.

Recent Prize Recipients

1998: Jane Sugarman. Engendering Song: Singing and the Social Order at Prespa Albanian Weddings (University of Chicago Press)

Second place: Regina Bendix. In Search of Authenticity: The Formation of Folklore Studies (University of Wisconsin Press)

1999: Susan Slyomovics. The Object of Memory: Arab and Jew Narrate the Palestinian Village (University of Pennsylvania Press)

Second place: Harold Scheub. Story (University of Wisconsin Press)

2000: Glenn Hinson. Fire in My Bones: Transcendence and the Holy Spirit in African American Gospel (University of Pennsylvania Press)

Second place: John D. Niles. Homo Narrans: The Poetics and Anthropology of Oral Tradition (University of Pennsylvania Press)

2001: Daniel W. Patterson. A Tree Accurst: Bobby McMillon and Stories of Frankie Silver (University of North Carolina Press)

2002: Linda Dégh. Legend and Belief: Dialectics of a Folklore Genre (Indiana University Press)

2003: Bill C. Malone. Don’t Get Above Your Raisin’: Country Music and the Southern Working Class (University of Illinois Press)

2004: Enrique R. Lamadrid. Hermanitos Comanchitos: Indo-Hispano Rituals of Captivity and Redemption (University of New Mexico Press); and Barre Toelken. The Anguish of Snails: Native American Folklore in the West (Utah State University Press)

2005: Marcia Gaudet. Carville: Remembering Leprosy in America (University Press of Mississippi)

2006: Jo Farb Hernández. Forms of Tradition in Contemporary Spain (University Press of Mississippi)

2007: Cristina Bacchilega. Legendary Hawai’i and the Politics of Place: Tradition, Translation, and Tourism (University of Pennsylvania Press); and James P. Leary. Polkabilly: How the Goose Island Ramblers Redefined American Folk Music (Oxford University Press)

2008: Felicia R. McMahon. Not Just Child’s Play: Emerging Tradition and the Lost Boys of Sudan (University Press of Mississippi)

2009: Ray Cashman. Storytelling on the Northern Irish Border (Indiana University Press); and Michael Dylan Foster. Pandemonium and Parade: Japanese Monsters and the Culture of Yokai (University of California Press)

2010: David Delgado Shorter. We Will Dance Our Truth: Yaqui History in Yoeme Performances (University of Nebraska Press)

2011: Amira Mittermaier. Dreams That Matter: Egyptian Landscapes of the Imagination (University of California Press)

2012: Debra Lattanzi Shutika. Beyond the Borderlands: Migration and Belonging in the United States and Mexico (University of California Press)

2013: Laura J. Olson and Svetlana Adonyeva. The Worlds of Russian Village Women: Tradition, Transgression, Compromise (University of Wisconsin Press)

2014: David A. McDonald. My Voice Is My WeaponMusic, Nationalism, and the Poetics of Palestinian Resistance (Duke University Press)

2015: Jack Zipes. Grimm Legacies: The Magic Spell of the Grimms’ Folk and Fairy Tales (Princeton University Press)

2016: Jane Beck. Daisy Turner’s Kin: An African American Family Saga (University of Illinois Press)

2017: Marsha MacDowell, Mary Worrall, Lynne Swanson, and Beth Donaldson. Quilts and Human Rights (University of Nebraska Press)

2018: Jeanne Pitre Soileau. Yo’ Mama, Mary Mack, and Boudreaux and Thibodeaux: Louisiana Children’s Folklore and Play (University Press of Mississippi)

2019: Todd Lawrence and Elaine Lawless. When They Blew the Levee: Race, Politics, and Community in Pinhook, Missouri (University Press of Mississippi)

2020: Simon J. Bronner. The Practice of Folklore: Essays toward a Theory of Tradition (University Press of Mississippi); and Andrea Kitta. The Kiss of Death: Contagion, Contamination, and Folklore (Utah State University Press)

2021: Tom Mould. Overthrowing the Queen: Telling Stories of Welfare in America (Indiana University Press)


1st place awardee: Jerrilyn McGregory. One Grand Noise: Boxing Day in the Anglicized Caribbean World (University Press of Mississippi)

2nd place awardees:

Christy Williams. Mapping Fairy-Tale Space: Pastiche and Metafiction in Borderless Tales (Wayne State University Press)

Juwen Zhang. Oral Traditions in Contemporary China: Healing a Nation (Lexington Books)

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