• Passing for Traditional: The New Lost City Ramblers and Folk Music Authenticity

    The New Lost City Ramblers were pioneers in the old-time music revival that paralleled the great folk music boom of the 1960s. Mike Seeger, John Cohen, and Tom Paley (later replaced by Tracy Schwarz) were city-born and suburban-bred folk musicians who specialized in recreating the sounds of rural southern stringband and early bluegrass music at a time when the folk music scene was dominated ...

    • Contributor: Allen, Ray
    • Original Format: Film, Video - Manuscripts/Mixed Material - Collection
    • Date: 2011-09-08
  • Reflections on Memory & History: Collecting New Oral Histories of the Civil Rights Movement

    A half-century on, what remains to be learned of the U.S. Civil Rights Movement? Plenty, it turns out. Last year historian Joe Mosnier, together with videographer John Bishop, journeyed to twenty states to interview fifty individuals who, most as teenagers or young adults, gave themselves over to the civil rights struggle. This testimony -- urgent and immediate, but also refracted by memory and time ...

    • Contributor: Mosnier, Joe - Mosnier, Joseph
    • Original Format: Film, Video - Manuscripts/Mixed Material - Collection
    • Date: 2012-04-12
  • Making a Way Out of No Way: Martin Luther King's Use of Proverbs for Civil Rights

    For more than ten years Wolfgang Mieder has made the study of proverbs in political discourse one of his major research areas, particularly the role of proverbs at critical moments in American history. In this lecture he discusses his research for his most recent book, "Making a Way Out of No Way: Martin Luther King's Sermonic Proverbial Rhetoric" (2010). In barely 40 years of ...

    • Contributor: Mieder , Wolfgang - Mieder, Wolfgang
    • Original Format: Film, Video - Manuscripts/Mixed Material - Collection
    • Date: 2011-02-10
  • The Will to Adorn: Reflections on African American Identity and the Aesthetics of Dress

    Diana N'Diaye shares stories, observations, and insights from "The Will to Adorn," a community-centered research and public presentation project, which explores and examines the diversity of African American cultural identities as expressed through traditional arts of the body, dress, and adornment.

    • Contributor: N'Diaye, Diana - N'Diaye, Diana Baird
    • Original Format: Film, Video - Manuscripts/Mixed Material - Collection
    • Date: 2013-01-30
  • La Quinceanera: A Coming of Age Ritual in Latino Communities

    Norma Cantu, professor of English at the University of Texas at San Antonio, presented this talk as part of the Benjamin Botkin Lecture Series sponsored by the American Folklife Center. The Quinceanera, the traditional coming-of-age celebration for Latinas, is an an elegant party on the girl's 15th birthday, highlighting God, family, friends, music, food and dance. Many questions emerge as one looks at this ...

    • Contributor: Cantu, Norma E. - Cantú, Norma E.
    • Original Format: Film, Video - Manuscripts/Mixed Material - Collection
    • Date: 2006-11-08
  • Revolutionaries, Nursery Rhymes, and Edison Wax Cylinders: The Remarkable Tale of the Earliest Korean Sound Recordings

    On July 24, 1896, the pioneering ethnologist Alice Fletcher recorded six wax cylinders documenting the singing of three Koreans who were studying in Washington, D.C. Now housed in the American Folklife Center Archive, these cylinders have proved to be the earliest known recordings of Korean music. As interesting as the recordings themselves, are the extraordinary circumstances surrounding how they came to be made, as ...

    • Contributor: Provine, Robert
    • Original Format: Film, Video - Manuscripts/Mixed Material - Collection
    • Date: 2009-01-27
  • Built with Faith: Place Making and the Religious Imagination in Italian New York

    This presentation examines how Italian Americans create and use vernacular architecture, material culture, and ceremonial display to inscribe meaning on New York City's religious and cultural landscapes. Yard shrines, sidewalk altars, Christmas displays, and other creative productions transform everyday urban space into unique, communal sites of religiosity. Sciorra is especially interested in how people remember, imagine, and interpret the city, as well as people's ...

    • Contributor: Sciorra, Joseph
    • Original Format: Film, Video - Manuscripts/Mixed Material - Collection
    • Date: 2009-09-23
  • Seeing Mary: Belief, Politics, and Practice at Marian Apparition Sites

    What happens in a community after a Catholic claims to see and hear Mary, the Blessed Mother? Always a challenging situation, the claims are contested while individuals try to discern the credibility of the visionary and the apparition. Those who choose to believe develop devotional practices to honor Mary at the site made sacred through her visit. These devotions are both ancient and emergent, ...

    • Contributor: Pryor, Anne
    • Original Format: Film, Video - Manuscripts/Mixed Material - Collection
    • Date: 2008-06-03
  • Translating Africa in Global Contexts

    Although African myths and folktales have long been trivialized as childish, translators today are revealing new insights, which show that Africa led the world in the invention of the most sophisticated literary styles. Critics now particularly value the figurality, or use of metaphor, which dominates the African literary imagination. The ethics and politics of translating African oral literature, or folklore, are a microcosm of ...

    • Contributor: Haring, Lee
    • Original Format: Film, Video - Manuscripts/Mixed Material - Collection
    • Date: 2010-09-22
  • Documenting Katrina and Rita in Houston

    Surviving Katrina and Rita in Houston is the first large-scale project, anywhere, in which the survivors of a major disaster have taken the lead in documenting it. The project's goal is to voice, as intimately as possible, the experiences and reflections of those displaced to Houston by the two major hurricanes that pounded the Gulf Coast in August and September of 2005. The heart ...

    • Original Format: Film, Video - Manuscripts/Mixed Material - Collection
    • Date: 2009-08-13
  • Collecting and Performing Traditional Song in the Republic of Georgia

    Ethno-musicologist, scholar and performer Malkhaz Erkvanidze talked about collecting traditional sacred and secular music in the Republic of Georgia as part of the Benjamin Botkin Lecture Series sponsored by the American Folklife Center. Members of the Anchiskhati Choir assisted him with performance of material he and the members of his ensemble have collected.

    • Original Format: Film, Video - Manuscripts/Mixed Material
    • Date: 2005-11-17
  • The Two Worlds of the Pennsylvania Dutch

    The Pennsylvania Dutch culture, which is now over three centuries old and still evolving, is an American hybrid creation put together from Continental Europe, British Isles, and American building blocks in Southeastern Pennsylvania. While this culture is a unit linguistically, and in most other ways, it is divided down the middle by religion. The "two worlds" are those of the "Plain Dutch"--Amish, Mennonites, and ...

    • Contributor: Yoder, Don
    • Original Format: Film, Video - Manuscripts/Mixed Material - Collection
    • Date: 2011-05-05
  • Living and Building Between Tradition and Change: Vernacular Architecture in Northern Sweden

    Architect and folklorist Mats Widbom presented his research on the traditional building culture of Dalecarlia in Northern Sweden. In particular, he explored how the parstuga (double house) has been used and rebuilt over time in the parish of Lima. His research demonstrates that traditional culture, as expressed in architecture, is not something permanent; it need not have a particular appearance and derivation from the ...

    • Contributor: Widbom, Mats
    • Original Format: Film, Video - Manuscripts/Mixed Material - Collection
    • Date: 2009-03-24
  • Kunqu: China's First Great Multi-art Theatrical Tradition

    Marjory Bong-Ray Liu presented "Total Theatre -- The Art of Kunqu, China's Earliest Classical Opera" as part of the Benjamin Botkin lecture series sponsored by the American Folklife Center. Chinese opera, especially Kunqu, is particularly noted for its graceful dance movements and gestures that are an integral part of the total art form, unlike many western operas where the aural aspect is predominant. Kunqu ...

    • Contributor: Bong Ray Liu, Marjory
    • Original Format: Film, Video - Manuscripts/Mixed Material - Collection
    • Date: 2008-09-04
  • A Conversation with Stetson Kennedy

    Pioneering folklorist, social activist and writer Stetson Kennedy, of Jacksonville, Fla., discussed his long and wide-ranging career and explored the theme of "Building Democracy in America" in a lecture presented by the American Folklife Center as part of its Benjamin Botkin Folklife Lecture Series. The event was co-sponsored by Holland & Knight LLP. The program was introduced by Peggy Bulger, director of the American ...

    • Contributor: Kennedy, Stetson
    • Original Format: Film, Video - Manuscripts/Mixed Material - Collection
    • Date: 2005-05-24
  • We Had Sneakers, They Had Guns: The Kids Who Fought for Civil Rights in Mississippi

    As an illustrator and journalist, Tracy Sugarman covered the nearly one thousand student volunteers who traveled to the Mississippi Delta to assist black citizens in the South in registering to vote. Two white students and one black student were slain in the struggle, many were beaten and hundreds arrested, and churches and homes were burned to the ground by the opponents of equality. Yet ...

    • Contributor: Sugarman, Tracy
    • Original Format: Film, Video - Manuscripts/Mixed Material - Collection
    • Date: 2009-05-05
  • Place and the Politics of Belonging

    One of America's greatest ironies is that, although a nation of immigrants, the country also has a longstanding history of ambivalence, and at times hostility, toward its newest arrivals. In the last decade, the increased number of immigrants living in new destinations, those settlements located outside the U.S.-Mexico borderlands, has coincided with an upsurge in local anti-immigrant sentiment.

    • Contributor: Shutika, Debra Lattanzi - Lattanzi Shutika, Debra
    • Original Format: Film, Video - Manuscripts/Mixed Material - Collection
    • Date: 2010-08-12
  • Empires, Multiculturalisms and Borrowed Heartsongs: What Does it Mean to Sing Russian/Mennonite Songs?

    Jonathan Dueck presented "Empires, Multiculturalisms and Borrowed Heartsongs: What Does It Mean to Sing Russian/Mennonite Songs?" as part of the Benjamin Botkin lecture series sponsored by the American Folklife Center. As "colonists" in 19th-century Russia, Mennonites sang German diasporic choral musics and borrowed Russian choral musics; when war drove many to North America, Mennonites drew on this repertoire and borrowed new repertoires to forge ...

    • Contributor: Dueck, Jonathan
    • Original Format: Film, Video - Manuscripts/Mixed Material - Collection
    • Date: 2008-05-21
  • Hear, O Israel: Yiddish-American Radio 1925-1955

    While all other aspects of Yiddish culture existed wherever Ashkenazic Jews lived, it was only in America that radio realized its greatest and most fulfilling use by and for Jews. Yiddish scholar Henry Sapoznik discusses and shares some of the most memorable and powerful moments in this nearly lost world of ethnic American broadcasting. By exploring amazingly broad category of Yiddish radio shows -- ...

    • Contributor: Sapoznik, Henry
    • Original Format: Film, Video - Manuscripts/Mixed Material - Collection
    • Date: 2009-10-14
  • Newslore: Contemporary Folklore on the Internet

    Russell Frank defines newslore as folklore that comments on, and is therefore indecipherable without knowledge of, current events. Newslore takes multiple forms: jokes; urban legends; digitally altered photographs; mock news stories, press releases or interoffice memoranda; parodies of songs, poems, political and commercial advertisements and movie previews and posters; still or animated cartoons and short live-action films. Such material, he argues in his new ...

    • Contributor: Frank, Russell
    • Original Format: Film, Video - Manuscripts/Mixed Material - Collection
    • Date: 2011-08-10
  • 'The High Lonesome Sound' Revisited: Documenting Traditional Culture in America

    In the early 1960s, the multitalented musician, filmmaker, and photographer John Cohen journeyed to eastern Kentucky to document the songs of church-goers, miners, and farmers, and the rural community that produced and sustained their uniquely American sound. The result was "The High Lonesome Sound," a classic 1963 documentary film than evocatively illustrates how music and religion help Appalachian people maintain their dignity and traditions ...

    • Contributor: Cohen , John
    • Original Format: Film, Video - Manuscripts/Mixed Material - Collection
    • Date: 2009-06-11
  • Afghan Women's Stories: the Problematics of Cover

    Afghan women in burkas have become iconic representations of women's oppression in western media, but this representation is contested in various ways by Afghan women and men. The most common observation by Afghan women activists is that we westerners should get over it, that the burka, hot, uncomfortable and inconvenient as it is, is certainly not their most pressing problem. It has even proved ...

    • Contributor: Mills, Margaret
    • Original Format: Film, Video - Manuscripts/Mixed Material - Collection
    • Date: 2007-09-19
  • Folklore's Champion: Ben Botkin

    Among Benjamin Botkin's accomplishments, the gathering of slave narratives has received the greatest amount of attention, though not always with his name attached. As folklore editor of the Federal Writers Project, and later head of the Archive of Folk Culture at the Library of Congress, Botkin guided the fieldworkers who collected the narratives, amassed and edited the raw materials, and produced 17 bound volumes ...

    • Contributor: Abrahams, Roger
    • Original Format: Film, Video - Manuscripts/Mixed Material - Collection
    • Date: 2007-08-15
  • Old Cultures/New Contexts: Presenting the Traditional Music and Dance of Urban Immigrant Communities

    Ethnographer and performer Ethel Raim, co-founder and artistic director of New York's celebrated Center for Traditional Music and Dance (CTMD), discusses her five decades of work with community-based traditional artists in urban America. Beginning at a time when to most Americans "folk music" was practically synonymous with rural and Anglo-Saxon, Raim built on her own interests in Balkan music and dance to document and ...

    • Contributor: Raim, Ethel
    • Original Format: Film, Video - Manuscripts/Mixed Material - Collection
    • Date: 2008-06-20
  • The Capital Pool Checkers Club: Tradition, Competition & Community in Washington DC

    Ethnographic photographer Peggy Fleming spent three years photographing and interviewing the members of Washington's Capital Pool Checkers Club. Her resulting study, "Crown Me!" (2010), documents more than an interesting recreational club: it highlights a special place in the urban landscape where a group of men come together to share their personal memories, recall the history of their beloved city and create community. Fleming is ...

    • Contributor: Fleming, Peggy
    • Original Format: Film, Video - Manuscripts/Mixed Material - Collection
    • Date: 2011-03-18