New York State Folklife Reader
Publication Year: 2013
New York and its folklore scholars hold an important place in the history of the discipline. In New York dialogue between folklore researchers in the academy and those working in the public arena has been highly productive. In this volume, the works of New York's academic and public folklorists are presented together.
Unlike some folklore anthologies, New York State Folklife Reader does not follow an organizational plan based on regions or genres. Because the New York Folklore Society has always tried to "give folklore back to the people," the editors decided to divide the edited volume into sections about life processes that all New York state residents share. The book begins with five essays on various aspects of folk cultural memory: personal, family, community, and historical processes of remembrance expressed through narrative, ritual, and other forms of folklore. Following these essays, subsequent sections explore aspects of life in New York through the lens of Play, Work, Resistance, and Food.
Both the New York Folklore Society and its journal were, as society cofounder Louis Jones explained, "intended to reach not just the professional folklorists but those of the general public who were interested in the oral traditions of the State." Written in an accessible and readable style, this volume offers a glimpse into New York State's rich cultural diversity.
Published by: University Press of Mississippi
Download PDF (113.7 KB)
Title Page, Copyright Page
Download PDF (178.4 KB)
Download PDF (361.5 KB)
Download PDF (386.0 KB)
Under the blazing summer sun in July 2005, a small group of young Di-Dinga men performed a traditional dance as part of the social event called gyrikot in their homeland, Sudan, in northeastern Africa.1 Most of the young men wore white T-shirts, blue jeans, and sneakers. Making per-cussive music with wooden spoons and aluminum pie pans, they shared ...
Dynamics of New York’s Folk Culture
Download PDF (408.3 KB)
Through layers of historical and folk memory, we perceive New York’s folk-cultural dynamics. Historical memory seems straightforward and de-tailed, but it does not tell the whole story of this part of North America. We can gain a fuller understanding of New York’s past and present by studying various forms of folklore. The memory of folk communities and ...
Oral Culture and History Today: Joanne Shenandoah and Jack W. Gladstone
Download PDF (393.2 KB)
I am the wind—I am the water—I am your Son—I am your daughter.And will they listen to the stories—will they hear our ancestors call?Will they realize what we’ve sacrificed to keep our music alive and well?There are several things that need to be said by way of beginnings for this paper. Joanne Shenandoah and I spoke in August 2005. Acknowledg-...
Cities within the City: Ben Botkin’s New York
Download PDF (410.2 KB)
...“Al Smith made the sidewalks of new York popular,” said a Sawkill poultry farmer to me, “but we sent them in from here.” he was referring to the Ulster County [new York] bluestone, quarried by Irish workers toward the middle of the last century, and worn by the feet of immigrants who came Although born in Boston, Benjamin A. Botkin was sometimes more com-...
Ritual and Storytelling: A Passover Tale
Download PDF (311.2 KB)
I was privileged to meet anthropologist Barbara Myerhoff on two occa-sions prior to her untimely death at the age of fifty in 1985. The first was when my wife, Amanda, and I invited both Myerhoff and Barbara Kirshen-blatt-Gimblett to a consultants’ meeting at our Washington, D.C., apart-ment for a project called the Grand Generation. I can vividly recall My-...
Comfort in Cloth: The Syracuse University Remembrance Quilt
Download PDF (329.0 KB)
On the evening of December 21, 1988, Pan American Flight 103 flew into the winter solstice skies over London’s Heathrow Airport as it began the final leg of a journey that originated in Frankfurt and was to conclude at New York’s JFK Airport. The plane carried 259 people; in addition, its car-go hold carried a suitcase that contained a radio cassette player filled with ...
Here Was New York: Memorial Images of the Twin Towers
Download PDF (495.1 KB)
To mark the fifth anniversary of September 11, 2001, Brooklyn Arts Council (BAC) Folk Arts mounted an exhibition, “Here Was New York: Memorial Images of the Twin Towers,” in eleven Brooklyn galleries from September 7 to 30, 2006. Consisting of 350 photographic images by 175 photographers, the exhibit was an homage and a counterpoint to “Here Is ...
“I Saw Mrs. Saray, Sitting on a Bombalerry”: Ralph Ellison Collects Children’s Folklore in Harlem
Download PDF (331.5 KB)
Along Harlem streets, in housing projects and on playgrounds, Ralph Elli-son employed his formidable gifts for observing and rendering speech play as a collector of children’s folklore. His collecting for the Federal Writers’ Project (FWP) in 1939 represented one dimension of a lifelong engage-ment with African American folklore. This engagement extended from ...
Cultivating Courage through Play
Download PDF (301.0 KB)
Analyses have shown that developed forms of play typically include repre-sentations of attack, escape, accident, uncleanness, and alienation. Those five contexted perils and their associated emotions—anger, fear, shock, disgust, and sadness, respectively—appear even in the stories of very young children. After studying the stories of six two- and three-year-olds ...
Emerging Traditions: Dance Performances of the Sudanese DiDinga in Syracuse
Download PDF (448.3 KB)
As folklorists know, culture is not static. There have been major changes in the lives of the DiDinga since this article was first published in 2002. The most significant of these changes is that South Sudan separated from Sudan and became an independent nation on July 9, 2011. For all refugees, life is a state of constant flux as their living circumstances change quickly. The ...
Flyin’ High: Kite Flying from the Silk Road to Roosevelt Avenue
Download PDF (514.1 KB)
I first went to see the Pakistani kite fliers in the summer of 2000 when many New York City folklorists were conducting fieldwork for the Smith-sonian Institution’s 2001 Festival of American Folklife. It was fascinating to watch the kite teams “battle” and to speak with the fliers. I went back to watch the fliers once more in 2001, but have not seen them again, since ...
Petanque in New York
Download PDF (542.0 KB)
First played in New York City in the 1930s (Pilate 2005: 109–110), the bowling game petanque has become visible in the public spaces of Man-hattan, Brooklyn, and Queens, next to Frisbee, badminton, volleyball, and tai chi. Today, this urban game is practiced by players of French origin (binational and expatriate), French-speaking immigrants of African origin, ...
Mediating between Two Worlds: The Sonideros of Mexican Youth Dances
Download PDF (423.2 KB)
The New York metropolitan area’s young Mexican immigrants are a com-munity living in transition, continually shifting between their memory of Mexico and the reality of life here in the United States. Their weekend social events, called bailes, feature light shows, sound manipulations, and loud cumbia dance music played by deejays known as sonideros. The ...
In the Midst of a Monastery: Filming the Making of a Buddhist Sand Mandala
Download PDF (430.2 KB)
In June 2005, I was selected by the New York Folklore Society to serve as a summer graduate intern at the Dutchess County Arts Council in Poughkeepsie. My first project was to assist folklorist Eileen Condon and a crew of fieldworkers in filming and photographing the Buddhist cultural festivities celebrated at the Kagyu Thubten Choling (KTC) monastery in ...
Set in Stone: The Art of Stonework and Wall Building in Westchester County
Download PDF (347.9 KB)
Stonework must surely rank as one of the oldest of folk arts, if only for the longevity of the material used—hence its presence in the historical record. While an immense but finite supply of wood drew Europeans to the shores of North America, once they had exhausted local forest stands through clearing, burning, ship building, and construction, stone be-...
An Ethnography of the Saratoga Racetrack
Download PDF (418.1 KB)
The backstretch of the thoroughbred racetrack at Saratoga Springs, New York, is an “intentional” community, a voluntary community forged through a common occupation—the care of the racehorse. Here the as-sistant trainers, exercise riders, jockeys, and others tend to the horses that are a locus for wealthy owners and high-society spectators and bettors. ...
Stand Clear of the Closing Doors! Occupational Folklore of New York City Subway Workers
Download PDF (367.4 KB)
Studies of occupational lore vary widely, their subjects ranging from fac-tory workers, librarians, college professors, and hospital workers to win-dow washers and lawyers. Some dangerous occupations that have been examined include police officers, air force pilots-in-training, miners, and firefighters. In the transportation category, researchers have looked at ...
Two Spirited People: Understanding Who We Are as Creation
Download PDF (310.4 KB)
EDITOR’S NOTE: Curtis Harris is on staff at the American Indian Com-munity House (AICH) in New York City. Leota Lone Dog serves on the Deborah: Would you like to start by telling me something about the Curtis: Well, we came up with the two names out of a book I think that many of us had read, called Living the Spirit, and there were two people, ...
Camp Woodland: Progressive Education and Folklore in the Catskill Mountains of New York
Download PDF (368.7 KB)
A summer camp once sought to help children understand the democratic roots of their country by exposing them to the traditions and tradition bearers of the Catskills. The camp grew out of New Deal programs that provided work for artists. Under the direction of Norman Studer, with the help of Herbert Haufrecht and Norman Cazden, youngsters collected folk ...
Employing Music in the Cause of Social Justice: Ruth Crawford Seeger and Zilphia Horton
Download PDF (415.3 KB)
Communicating political principles through music was the strategy of two musicians of the mid-twentieth century. In New York City, early in her career, Ruth Crawford Seeger composed avant-garde classical pieces with a political message. Later, in Washington, D.C., she turned to transcribing folk songs as a means of moving political ideas across American social ...
Burning Messages: Interpreting African American Fraternity Brands and Their Bearers
Download PDF (375.3 KB)
Some members of black Greek letter organizations voluntarily scar them-selves by branding. Understanding this ritual requires going beyond the brand’s physical form and examining the personal and organizational nar-rative histories that often accompany it. As participants in an ongoing dia-logue about what branding means today, fraternity members informally ...
Wild Game Cooking
Download PDF (339.1 KB)
In the mountains and woods of northern New York, wild game has been a significant part of the diets of many residents, beginning with the wander-ing Iroquois tribes before the permanent white settlements of two centu-ries ago. The bounty of native wildlife has been described in many of the accounts of life here. Early families depended on wild meat for survival. ...
Download PDF (346.9 KB)
In the days following September 11, 2001, the media seemed fascinated by Americans’ turn to comfort foods and social evenings with friends. Aru-gula at the trendy bistro was out, and meatloaf at the kitchen table was in. Those horrible days may have marked the only time that rural New Yorkers have found themselves at the forefront of any trend; around here, ...
Free Market Flavor
Download PDF (176.3 KB)
...human beings feed on metaphors [of food]: we hunger for, cannibalize, spice it up, sugar coat, hash things out, sink our teeth into, and find something difficult to swallow or hard to digest so we cough it up and then have a bone —MIChAEl oWEn JonES, “Food ChoICE, SYMBolISM, And IdEntItY”“I am the accumulated memory and waistline of the dead restaurants of ...
New York Folklore Archives
Download PDF (156.7 KB)
...[Editors’ note: these are among the most important resources for folklor-Papers of Edith Cutting, Robert Bethke, Richard Lunt, and other North ...
A Calendar of New York Folk Festivals
Download PDF (143.4 KB)
...[Editors’ note: these listings represent the many festivals that take place Vietnamese Tet/Lunar New Year Festival (Syracuse and other locations)Saint Patrick’s Day Parade (New York City, Syracuse, Binghamton, and Riverway Storytelling Festival (public libraries in Albany and Rensselaer Museum at Eldridge Street’s Egg Roll and Egg Cream Festival (New York ...
About the Contributors
Download PDF (307.6 KB)
Download PDF (287.6 KB)
Page Count: 256
Publication Year: 2013