Framing the Ineffable: A Third Stage in Folkloristics

Bill Ivey (Mike Curb Foundation/IU Center for Cultural Affairs)

Elliott Oring has challenged colleagues to engage "the great questions of folkloristics." This paper posits that over the past 75 years (mostly) American scholars have advanced multiple strategies for adapting our field to research in literate societies steeped in mechanical reproduction and other trappings of modernity. Have new tactics settled all outstanding questions? No, the essential character of "tradition" and "authenticity" remain elusive. To approach outstanding mysteries, folkloristics may need to modify or even set aside fundamental assumptions that have reliably sustained enlightened, scientific, observation and analysis.

Part of 08-04 Metafolkloristics: What Should Folklorists Do?, Saturday, October 15, 10:30 am–12:30 pm