Mason Folklore at AFS Annual Meeting 2022

Mason students, faculty, and alumni recently attended the American Folklore Society’s Annual Meeting in Tulsa, Oklahoma. This event brings together nearly 1000 folklorists, public humanities professionals, students to study, support, and grow as a folklore community. This year two Mason folklore graduate students, two faculty members, and numerous alumni presented, supported, and were recognized for their achievements in the field.

Professor Lisa Gilman was named to the Fellows of the American Folklore Society. Election to the Fellows signifies a scholar’s outstanding contributions to the field of folklore studies. Members of the Fellows have produced a significant number of important articles, books, and other scholarly productions or exhibitions on folklore, and have provided meritorious service to the Society and the discipline of folklore studies.

Prof. Lijun Zhang presented a paper entitled “The Differentiation and Dynamic of Basket Making in Southwest China,” based on research from fieldwork on basket making practices in the Dong and Yao communities in Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region and Guizhou Province.  Prof. Gilman gave a paper on music initiatives by refugees and displaced peoples. Gilman focused on an arts festival in a Malawian refugee camp, a Uyghur language and cultural institute in Paris, and a Syrian arts center in Turkey.

Graduate students, Betty Aquino and Allie Stanich also gave paper presentations. Aquino examined American Halloween traditions at farms and how those farms have adapted and influenced culture in a paper entitled, “Dark Drama: American Haunted Houses, Power, Performance, and Positionality in the Face of a Shifting Economic Landscape.” Stanich addressed the translation of popular culture into folklore and discussed methods through which cosplayers explore identity and experiment with the ritualesque space of cosplay. Their paper was entitled, “Queering Cosplay and Conventions: Intersections of Folklore, the Cosplay Community, and Gender Identity.” Aquino also facilitated the Graduate Student and Young Professionals sections social hour, which brought together nearly 60 graduate students and new professionals for an evening of networking and community building.