AFS Presidential Lecture: Marilyn White

Saturday, November 04, 7:00 pm–8:15 pm
Pavilion Ballroom

in-person session will be live streamed
session will be recorded and available for later viewing online

Chair: Jessica A. Turner (American Folklore Society)

Roots, Rootlessness, and Uprooting: Personal, Ethnographic, and Folkloric Reflections on a Theme
Marilyn M. White (Kean University, retired)

This address examines the manifestation of the theme of this year’s annual meeting by using parts of my own folklore origin story; my varied ethnographic fieldwork experiences—with my own family, the Buraku of Japan, and the people of Little Cayman; various folklore communities; and some of the history of the American Folklore Society. Regarding roots, what are the effects of being rooted within a family, a community, or an ethnic group? For rootlessness, how might not having roots lead to separation or displacement—both physical and metaphorical; how and why might a group create a space to put down roots; what are some of the reasons why those in power might not create or foster a space where varied roots can take hold; and why might those in power take actions to make space? For uprooting, why might a group’s space be taken away, and what are the effects on those involved; what are the reasons for or the effects of a group choosing to uproot?