Folklore’s First Responders: How Folklorists Experience and Respond to the COVID-19 Pandemic in the United States


Ellie Dassler ()

In 2020-2021, I interviewed folklorists and other cultural workers about their experiences working during the COVID-19 pandemic. This resulting paper exists at the intersection of several areas of study, including occupational folklore and work on folklorists’ responses to natural disasters and other crises. It suggests that folklorists do not think of the pandemic in isolation, but as inextricable from pre-existing structural issues of racial equity, accessibility, and economic opportunity. It also considers my role as a folklorist interviewing other folklorists, which resulted in unique emergent contexts for discussing a crisis in which folklorists are both responders and survivors.

Part of 24-08 Fieldwork during the COVID-19 Pandemic, Tuesday, October 19, 2:15 pm–3:45 pm