Tenth International Conference of Young Folklorists Explores Conservatism and Dynamism of Folklore

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The 10th International Conference of Young Folklorists will take place online from May 19 to 21 and will explore the productive tension between tradition and innovation. 

The international conference is organized by the Department of Estonian and Comparative Folklore (University of Tartu), and Tartu Nefa Group, in partnership with the Institute of Lithuanian Literature and Folklore (Vilnius) and the Institute of Literature, Folklore and Art (University of Latvia)

Plenary speakers:

  • Mirjam Mencej, Professor of Folklore Studies and Comparative Mythology, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia
  • Elliott Oring, Professor Emeritus of Anthropology, California State University, Los Angeles; a Visiting Research Scholar in the Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology at Indiana University

In 2020, the Young Folklorists Conference celebrated its first decade: annual meetings for graduate students and young scholars in the field of folkloristics and related disciplines have been held in Estonia, Lithuania, and Latvia since 2010. The conference has been a lively forum for young folklorists to present their research to an international audience, to make fresh contacts, and to boost communication between scholars from different countries and with varying academic backgrounds. The topic of the 2021 conference, “Lore Makers, Law Breakers: Tradition, Change, and People”, stresses the dynamic and ever-present role of folklore and tradition in shaping everyday culture. Rules and patterns, whether seen or unseen, organize the social world and thus have been the focus of academic analysis since the beginning of the systematic collection and study of folklore. However, the breaking of traditions constitutes an organic counterpart to these continuities, one that challenges and renews social bonds, brings unseen viewpoints to light, and allows us to see the category of tradition itself differently (not least as an analytic category).

In addition, the currently turbulent political climate involves, in some cases, the foregrounding and instrumentalization of concepts such as ‘nation’, ‘traditions’ and ‘conservative values’. In another development, the growth in digital communication gives rise to networks, mediums and creative tools to express and enhance polyvocal vernacular expression. These are both broad topics that papers at the conference might address.The conference aims to address these and other challenges folklorists face when studying tradition-making and tradition-breaking, touching the following subtopics (and other related themes):

  • individuals and communities
  • the authority of tradition
  • publicity and secrecy
  • tradition and modernity
  • conservatism and liberalism in traditions
  • heritage production
  • debates around tradition and change
  • lore and law

The three-day program of this year’s virtual meeting features two keynote lectures and around 70 presentations from 15 countries. Each paper in the parallel sessions will be given 20 minutes for presentation and up to 10 minutes for discussion. The conference is held fully online. The working language of the conference is English.

The meeting is made possible through generous support from the following organizations and institutions: Cultural Endowment of EstoniaCultural Endowment of Tartu and University of Tartu. Attendance at the conference is free.

Please register here (on May 18 at the latest) in order to receive a zoom link to the conference.For more information, please contact organizers [email protected] (Anastasiya Fiadotava, conference secretary)

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