In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

  • From the Editor
  • Elaine J. Lawless (bio)

This issue of JAF marks the third for 2004. In some ways, we at the JAF office in Missouri find that this particular issue marks the society's first full embrace of the new millennium. Although the journal continues to publish the best research and scholarship in our field, we have also worked to maintain a sharp edge in terms of where the discipline is at the present and where it might be headed in the near and extended future.

The wide variety of dialogic material included in this issue points to many of the concerns that have emerged at our most recent annual meetings. Perhaps at no other time in our history have we had to direct our collective energies toward a common goal while at the same time honoring both our diversities and our differing opinions on so many pressing subjects. Globalism, terrorism, culture and religious wars, gender issues, embodiment, and identity are never far from the work and lives of folklorists. The planners of the AFS meetings have done an excellent job of scheduling creative forums, speeches, and panels that allow for diverse opinions, approaches, and beliefs to be aired, contested, and deliberated. The annual meetings of 2003, in particular, opened many doors in terms of this multiplicity of views, and we appreciate all the AFS members who are working to make certain this continues to be a trend in the society. Activities such as the AFS workshops for new scholars, diverse plenary speakers, and the AFS involvement with the United Nations' World Intellectual Property Organization in Geneva illustrate how our society recognizes the varied ways in which folklorists do what they do—across the globe.

It is in this spirit that we offer, in this issue of JAF, a splendid variety of different texts. In the last issue, we published the formal presidential address of Peggy Bulger, who delivered her thoughts at the 2002 AFS meetings in New York. The mark of a good speech is, of course, the responses it generates, and, certainly, Bulger's address is no exception. We are pleased, then, to offer Jessica Payne's thoughtful response to Bulger's address in the "Dialogues" section. Similarly, we have been including the addresses from recent AFS meetings with the hope that these talks offer much to think about and discuss in upcoming issues of the journal.

New venues for folklorists developing both at the local and the global levels, as well as important emerging issues of ethics, help to keep us on our toes. The Geneva sessions on intellectual property rights and traditional knowledge and folklore, and those who have been attending those meetings have been working to fashion the wording for the AFS response to the issues involved—generating much debate and thoughtful consideration. Some of this thinking is represented by Valdimar Hafstein's "Note" and J. Sanford Rikoon's "Dialogue." We are also pleased to offer Jeff Todd Titon's "creative" [End Page 241] epistle penned by a fictitious violinist, who is exposed to a southern fiddle tradition and is never the same again, as a different kind of contribution that addresses issues of sharing and borrowing of tradition, ownership, and authenticity. Upcoming issues of JAF will continue to provide coverage for a wide variety of approaches in our field. We hope that the enthusiasm and energy generated from AFS meetings, as well as other reports and theoretical contributions from the field, will continue to shape our discipline in dynamic ways as we look into the twenty-first century.

Elaine J. Lawless

Elaine J. Lawless is Curators' Distinguished Professor of English and folklore studies at the University of Missouri. Her scholarship has been consistently ethnographic and political, including works on women ministers, religious rhetoric and verbal art, and women's narratives. Her latest book, Women Escaping Violence (2001), is based on field research at a women's shelter for survivors of domestic violence. Currently, Lawless directs the "Troubling Violence Performance Troupe," a group that performs the narratives of women who have survived violence in their lives. Lawless is also the current editor of the Journal of American Folklore.


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pp. 241-242
Launched on MUSE
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