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

  • From the Editor
  • Elaine J. Lawless

This Special Issue of JAF is based on a 1997 AFS Annual Meeting panel that focused on the influence of Richard Bauman's work, Verbal Art as Performance, on the field of folkloristics. The correspondence between the Special Editors, Giovanna P. Del Negro and Harry Berger, and the editor of JAF at that time, Jack Santino, dates back to 1998 when the idea to convert these presentations into a special issue of JAF emerged. In time, the current editorial staff of JAF received all the correspondence, articles, reviews, and revisions of the articles by August 2000. We are happy to finally to publish this Special Issue of JAF. While it has been several years since that 1997 AFS panel, certainly we find these articles relevant and exciting in their own right.

We also feel, without a doubt, that Richard Bauman's work, in general, continues to merit folklorists' attention, and that Verbal Art as Performance has had a singular impact on the field of folkloristics. This special issue of JAF makes that point very clearly, but it also points to how his work has emerged from and continues to nurture critical connections with the closely aligned fields of anthropology, linguistics, and performance studies.

We believe this issue of JAF opens the door to other kinds of assessment and critique of the impact of Bauman's work on the field. These articles illustrate how scholarly work has developed based on, stemming out of, diverging from, and in dialogue with the work of Richard Bauman and other scholars who have led the way in terms of performance theory. It should also be apparent to readers that this collection of articles and Bauman's "Response" warrant our concerted acknowledgment that folkloristics as a discipline has not developed in a vacuum nor should it strive to grow within an academic vacuum.

Bauman's response to the articles in this issue invites us to explore ways to move from folkloristics into other disciplinary venues and invites other disciplines to heed what folklorists are doing and have to say. JAF applauds this reach into the future of our discipline with grace and a stronger invitation toward dialogue and exchange with others who seek to better understand the human condition. We invite readers of JAF to accept the challenge to write further critiques and/or responses and send them to JAF, either as articles or as a submission to our "Dialogues" section of the journal. [End Page 1]



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