Virtual ProgramWednesday, October 20

32-07 Alt-Ac, Also-Ac, and Folklorists’ Occupations

Wednesday, October 20, 11:15 am–12:45 pm

  session will be recorded and available for later viewing online


Chair: Meredith A. E. McGriff (American Folklore Society)

Forum participants:

Suzanne Godby Ingalsbe (Indiana University Institute for Advanced Study)

Tim Lloyd (American Folklore Society)

Since folklorists are particularly adept at applying our knowledge and skills to settings outside academia, we've been notably successful at #AltAc endeavors. But it increasingly seems detrimental to draw hard lines around what is "Ac" and what isn't. Wouldn't we benefit from re-visioning and admitting that much of the work isn't so much "alternative" as it is also academic? Susanne Godby-Ingalsbe proposes #AlsoAc as a more accurate reflection of the current work landscape and a kinder and more productive way to frame our work. Following this, Tim Lloyd will report on his recent edited volume, What Folklorists Do, in which dozens folklorists describe and reflect upon their occupational activities. These include a multiplicity of occupational cultures and roles that customarily remain hidden behind the large-category terms “academic” and “public sector” folklore. Brought to the foreground, these endeavors demonstrate that the values of our field have purchase and applicability across many worlds outside it. Finally, Meredith McGriff responds to concerns that “lone folklorists” may struggle to maintain their folklorist identity. Her recent book examines another occupation, pottery, where individuals often work alone and yet have strong connections with others. A combination of educational experiences, shared values/history, special events, collaborative projects, and practices of collection/exchange all help maintain a sense of community among individuals working separately. Such means of connection are important countermeasures when it feels #AlsoAc work might push us apart.