2023 Annual Meeting of the American Folklore Society

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Folklore and Ethnomusicology Books

Featured New Books

Folk Art

Continuity, Creativity, and the Brazilian Quotidian

by Henry Glassie and Pravina Shukla

Listen to the artists of the Brazilian Northeast. Their work, they say, comes of continuity and creativity. Continuity runs along lines of learning toward social coherence. Creativity brings challenges and deep personal satisfaction. What they say and do in Brazil aligns with ethnographic evidence from New Mexico and North Carolina; from Ireland, Portugal, and Italy; from Nigeria, Turkey, India, and Bangladesh; from China and Japan. This book is about that, about folk art as a sign of human unity.

Holy Wells of Ireland

Sacred Realms and Popular Domains

Edited by Celeste Ray and Finbar McCormick

The storied landscapes of Ireland are dotted with holy wells—hallowed springs, pools, ponds, and lakes credited with curative powers and often associated with Catholic and indigenous saints. While many of these sites have been recently lost to development, others are visited daily for devotions and remain the focus of annual community gatherings.

Encouraging both their use and protection, Holy Wells of Ireland delves into these irreplaceable resources of spiritual, archaeological, and historical significance. Reserves of localized spiritual practices, holy wells are also ecosystems in themselves and provide habitats for rare and culturally meaningful flora and fauna. The shift toward a "post-Catholic" Ireland has prompted renewed interest in holy wells as popular domains with organic faith traditions. Of the roughly 3,000 holy wells documented across Ireland, some attract international pilgrims and others are stewarded by a single family. Featuring 140 color images, this remarkable volume shares the transdisciplinary work of contributors who study these wells through the overlapping lenses of anthropology, archaeology, art history, biomedicine, folklore, geography, history, and hydrology. Braiding community perspectives with those of scholars across academia, Holy Wells of Ireland considers Irish holy wells as a resilient feature of ever-evolving Irish Christianity, as inspiration to other faith traditions, as places of pilgrimage and healing, and as threatened biocultural resources.

Composing Aid

Music, Refugees, and Humanitarian Politics

by Oliver Shao

Music and arts initiatives are often praised for their capacity to aid in the rehabilitation of refugees. However, it is crucial to recognize that this celebratory view can also mask the unequal power dynamics involved in regulating forced migration.

In Composing Aid, Oliver Shao turns a critical ear towards the United Nations-run Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya, one of the largest and oldest encampments in the world. This politically engaged ethnography delves into various cultural practices, including hip hop shows, traditional dances, religious ceremonies, and NGO events, in an urbanized borderland area beset with precarity and inequality. How do songs intersect with the politics of belonging in a space controlled by state and humanitarian forces? Why do camp authorities support certain musical activities over others? What can performing artists teach us about the inequities of the international refugee regime?

Offering a provocative contribution to ethnomusicological methods through its focus on activist research, Composing Aid elucidates the powerful role of music and the arts in reproducing, contesting, and reimagining the existing migratory order.


Journal of Folklore Research

The Journal of Folklore Research, provides an international forum for current theory and research among scholars of traditional cultures. Each issue includes articles of theoretical interest to folklore and ethnomusicology as international disciplines, as well as essays that address the fieldwork experience and the intellectual history of folklore. Contributors include scholars and professionals in such additional fields as anthropology, area studies, communication, cultural studies, history, linguistics, literature, performance studies, religion, and semiotics.