The folklore studies program awarded this year’s Margaret Yocom Folklore Prizes to Lauren Magnussen and Carly Sutherland. The Yocom Folklore Prizes honor the best graduate and undergraduate papers written about folklore by George Mason University students during the previous calendar year. The prize is named after Margaret R. Yocom, Associate Professor Emerita and founder of Mason’s folklore studies program.
This year’s submissions demonstrated the wide-ranging work of folklore students at Mason. The prize committee awarded Magnussen the graduate prize for her paper, “From Mouth to Page: Will Allen Dromgoole and the Reproduction of Melungeon Folk Stereotypes.” Magnussen’s paper was a well-researched exploration of an often-overlooked minority community in Appalachia: the Melungeons. Magnussen’s paper explains Melungeons’ efforts to reclaim problematic narratives about them in the hopes of developing a more positive depiction of their community.
The prize committee awarded the undergraduate prize to English major, Carly Sutherland, for her paper, “Neo-pagan Rituals: A Transformational Space.” Sutherland’s paper explores rituals performed by neo-pagan communities that mark natural cycles, including birth, death, and the changing of seasons.
The folklore faculty is grateful for Prof. Yocom’s generous financial support that made this year’s prize possible.
May 11, 2020