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The Texas Folklore Society Fire Burns On
The Texas Folklore Society has been alive and kicking for over one hundred years now, and I don’t really think there’s any mystery as to what keeps the organization going strong. The secret to our longevity is simply the constant replenishment of our body of contributors. We are especially fortunate in recent years to have had papers given at our annual meetings by new members—young members, many of whom are college or even high school students. These presentations are oftentimes given during sessions right alongside some of our oldest members. We’ve also had long-time members who’ve been around for years but had never yet given papers; thankfully, they finally took the opportunity to present their research, fulfilling the mission of the TFS: to collect, preserve, and present the lore of Texas and the Southwest. You’ll find in this book some of the best articles from those presentations. The first fruits of our youngest or newest members include Acayla Haile on the folklore of plants. Familiar and well-respected names like J. Rhett Rushing and Kenneth W. Davis discuss folklore about monsters and the classic “widow’s revenge” tale. These works—and the people who produced them—represent the secret behind the history of the Texas Folklore Society, as well as its future.
The Life and Times of Richard Seaman
A musical life as glorious metaphor for Florida's cultural landscape.
This biography of 97-year-old Richard Seaman, who grew up in Kissimmee Park, Florida, relies on oral history and folklore research to define the place of musicianship and storytelling in the state's history from one artist's perspective. Gregory Hansen presents Seaman's assessment of Florida's changing cultural landscape through his tall tales, personal experience narratives, legends, fiddle tune repertory, and descriptions of daily life.
Seaman's childhood memories of fiddling performances and rural dances explain the role such gatherings played in building and maintaining social order within the community. As an adult, Seaman moved to Jacksonville, Florida, where he worked as a machinist and performed with his family band. The evolution of his musical repertory from the early 1920s through the 1950s provides a resource for reconstructing social life in the rural south and for understanding how changes in musical style reflect the state's increasingly urban social structure. Hansen includes a set of Seaman's fiddle tunes, transcribed for the benefit of performer and researcher alike. The thirty tall tales included in the volume constitute a representative sample of Florida’s oral tradition in the early years of the 20th century.
Florida is blessed with a semitropical climate, beautiful inland areas, and over a thousand miles of warm seas and sandy beaches. And Floridians are every bit as colorful and diverse as the tropical foliage. The interaction between Florida's people and its environment has created distinctive mixes of traditional life unlike those anywhere else in America.
Florida's cultural foundation includes Seminoles, Anglo-Celtic Crackers, African Americans, transplanted northerners, and ethnic communities, as well as cultural syntheses developed from the sixteenth through nineteenth centuries in Key West, Tampa, St. Augustine, and Pensacola. In recent decades, the state's population has been strongly impacted by large-scale immigration from Cuba, South America, Central America, the Caribbean, Africa, and Asia. South Florida leads other regions in the development of a contemporary cultural synthesis, but Orlando and Tampa are rapidly evolving. Even sleepy north Florida is experiencing a significant shift.
Although several books detail the traditions of specific Florida regions or folk groups, this is the first to provide an overview of Florida folklife. The Florida Folklife Reader brings together essays written by folklorists, anthropologists, and ethnomusicologists on a wide array of topics. The authors examine topics as diverse as regional and ethnic folk groups, occupational folklife, the built environment, musical traditions, rituals, and celebrations.
International Ballad Studies
The flowering thorn expresses the dual nature of the ballad: at once a distinctive expression of European tradition, but also somewhat tricky to approach from a scholarly perspective, requiring a range of disciplines to illuminate its rich composition. Most of this latter quality has to do with the very features that characterize ballads... or narrative songs. These include an appearance of fragmentation; a wide range of cultural and social referents; complex, evocative symbolic language; and variation. The notable multiformity of meaning, text and tune is mirrored in scholarship, too. The Flowering Thorn is therefore wide ranging, with articles written by world authorities from the fields of folklore, history, literature, and ethnology, employing a variety of methodologies—structuralism to functionalism, repertoire studies to geographical explorations of cultural movement and change. The twenty-five selected contributions represent the latest trends in ballad scholarship, embracing the multi-disciplinary nature of the field today. The essays have their origins in the 1999 International Ballad Conference of the Kommission fur Volksdichtung (KfV), which focused particularly on ballads and social context; performance and repertoire; genre, motif, and classification. The revised, tailored, and expanded essays are divided into five sections—the interpretation of narrative song; structure and motif; context, version, and transmission; regions, reprints, and repertoires; and the mediating collector's offering a range of examples from fifteen different cultures, ten of them drawing on languages other than English, resulting in a series of personal journeys to the heart of one of Europe's richest, most enduring cultural creations. —Thomas McKean, from the Introduction
CONTRIBUTORS: Mary Anne Alburger, David Atkinson, Julia C. Bishop, Valentina Bold, Katherine Campbell, Nicolae Constantinescu, Luisa Del Giudice, Sheila Douglas, David G. Engle, Frances J. Fischer, Simon Furey, Vic Gammon, Marjetka Golez-Kaucic, Pauline Greenhill, Cozette Griffin-Kremer, J. J. Dias Marques, William Bernard McCarthy, Isabelle Peere, Gerald Porter, James Porter, Roger de V. Renwick, Sigrid Rieuwerts, Michèle Simonsen, Larry Syndergaard, Stefaan Top, Larysa Vakhnina, Lynn Wollstadt
The Emergent Dynamics of Human Interaction
Smart phones, tablets, Facebook, Twitter, and wireless Internet connections are the latest technologies to have become entrenched in our culture. Although traditionalists have argued that computer-mediated communication and cyberspace are incongruent with the study of folklore, Trevor J. Blank sees the digital world as fully capable of generating, transmitting, performing, and archiving vernacular culture. Folklore in the Digital Age documents the emergent cultural scenes and expressive folkloric communications made possible by digital “new media” technologies.
New media is changing the ways in which people learn, share, participate, and engage with others as they adopt technologies to complement and supplement traditional means of vernacular expression. But behavioral and structural overlap in many folkloric forms exists between on- and offline, and emerging patterns in digital rhetoric mimic the dynamics of previously documented folkloric forms, invoking familiar social or behavior customs, linguistic inflections, and symbolic gestures.
Folklore in the Digital Age provides insights and perspectives on the myriad ways in which folk culture manifests in the digital age and contributes to our greater understanding of vernacular expression in our ever-changing technological world.
Oring's introductory folklore text consists of a series of essays by leading scholars that give the student a solid sense of major folklore topics and interpretive techniques. Since 1986, when it was first published, this book has met the need for good instructional material at a time of tremendous growth in folklore programs and introductory courses in colleges and universities around the world.
Compiled to accompany the best-selling textbook, Folk Groups and Folklore Genres: An Introduction, the selections in this anthology extend the discussion in diverse directions, alert the reader to new problems, and introduce alternative perspectives. The essays include folklore classics and recent works, and are organized in sections that correspond to the chapter headings in An Introduction.
The essays in this collection range from the impact of technology on the British folksong revival to regional characteristics of early rock and roll in New Orleans. Attention is given to the blues, Sacred Harp singing, ethnic music, both black and white gospel, country music, and the polka. Other essays consider the relationship of music from the Yiddish-American theater with that of Broadway, the wide influence and commercialization of black music in today's popular music, myths about early black music, and Charles Ives as folk hero. Contributors include Amiri Baraka, Doris J. Dyen, Dena J. Epstein, David Evans, Kenneth S. Goldstein, Anthony Heilbut, William Ivey, Charles Keil, A. L. Lloyd, Bill C. Malone, Robert Palmer, Vivian Perlis, Mark Slobin, Richard Spottswood, and Charles K. Wolfe.
In All of Us, In All We Do
Folklore is everywhere, whether you are aware of it or not. A culture’s traditional knowledge is used to remember the past and maintain traditions, to communicate with other members within a community, to learn, to celebrate, and to express creativity. It is what helps distinguish one culture from another. Although folklore is so much a part of our daily lives, we often lose sight of just how integral it is to everything we do. If we look for it, we can find folklore in places where we’d never think it existed. Folklore: In All of Us, In All We Do includes articles on a variety of topics. One chapter looks at how folklore and history complement one another; while historical records provide facts about dates, places and names, folklore brings those events and people to life by making them relevant to us. Several articles examine the cultural roles women fill. Other articles feature folklore of particular groups, including oil field workers, mail carriers, doctors, engineers, police officers, horse traders, and politicians. As a follow-up article to Inside the Classroom (and Out), which focused on folklore in education, there is also an article on how teachers can use writing in the classroom as a means of keeping alive the storytelling tradition. The Texas Folklore Society has been collecting and preserving folklore since its first publication in 1912. Since then, it has published or assisted in the publication of nearly one hundred books on Texas folklore.
Vernacular Expression in a Digital World
A pioneering examination of the folkloric qualities of the World Wide Web, e-mail, and related digital media. These stuidies show that folk culture, sustained by a new and evolving vernacular, has been a key, since the Internet's beginnings, to language, practice, and interaction online. Users of many sorts continue to develop the Internet as a significant medium for generating, transmitting, documenting, and preserving folklore.
In a set of new, insightful essays, contributors Trevor J. Blank, Simon J. Bronner, Robert Dobler, Russell Frank, Gregory Hansen, Robert Glenn Howard, Lynne S. McNeill, Elizabeth Tucker, and William Westerman showcase ways the Internet both shapes and is shaped by folklore