“History Collapsing, Geography Dissolving”: Diasporic Encounters of Christmas Carolers from the New World and the Old

Ian Russell (Elphinstone Institute, University of Aberdeen, emeritus)

How are cultural traditions continued, constructed, and created by diasporic communities? What forces affect their development and manifestation? In what ways do such relocated traditions resemble or differ from their historical sources, on the one hand, and from ongoing counterparts in the "home" country, on the other? And, what happens when the two communities, come face to face? As folklorists, it is important that we examine the palimpsest of tradition with the aim of understanding the reconciliation of the past in the present, alongside recognizing the impact of our own agency in the contemporaneous situation. In this lecture I will explore these questions in the context of my work with vernacular carol singing from the southern Pennines of England and from Glen Rock, York County, a Pennsylvanian community in the US.

Part of Phillips Barry Lecture, Wednesday, October 20, 1:00 pm–2:00 pm