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Benjamin A. Botkin Folklife Lecture Series Archive

All of the materials from American Folklife Center lectures are available to visitors in the Folklife Reading Room. Event flyer essays are available for all of the Botkin Lecture Series events listed here. Webcasts are available online unless otherwise noted (only a few webcasts are available prior to the 2006 season). For events that do not have webcasts online, audio or video recordings are available to researchers at the Library of Congress in the Folklife Reading Room. Select on the year of the lectures or speaker's names to read the full descriptions and to access any additional materials that may be available online. For the current schedule of the Botkin Lecture Series, go to the What's Happening at the American Folklife Center page.

2018 Lecture Series

American Folklife Center Summer Music Jam (Old-Time), July 7, 2018 (no webcast)

"Taiko Drumming in Asian American Los Angeles," Deborah Wong, June 29, 2018 (webcast forthcoming)

Film Screening: The Last Tightrope Dancer in Armenia (2009), June 22, 2018 (no webcast)

"The Theory and Practice of Folklore in Cajun and Creole Louisiana," Barry Jean Ancelet, June, 2018 (webcast forthcoming)

"The Art of the Hunt," Andrea Graham, June 7, 2018 (webcast forthcoming)

"Syriac Chants and Aramaic Christianity in India," Joseph J. Palackal, ethnomusicologist and founder-president of the Christian Musicological Society of India, May 31, 2018 (webcast forthcoming)

"'My Secret Autobiography'": The Letters of Ballad Scholar Francis James Child to William Ellery Sedgwick," Michael Bell, May 8, 2018 (webcast forthcoming)

Picturing America: Portraits of National Endowment for the Arts Folk Masters, Barry Bergey and Tom Pich, February 28, 2018 (webcast forthcoming)

I Got a Song: A History of the Newport Folk Festival, Rick Massimo, February 21, 2018 (webcast forthcoming)

Alan Jabbour, 1942 – 2017 His Legacy in Folklife and Traditional Music, January 18, 2018 (webcast forthcoming)

2017 Lecture Series

Stetson Kennedy:  Applied Folklore and Cultural Advocacy, a book talk and signing by Peggy A. Bulger, September 19, 2017

Peggy Seeger: A Life of Music, Love, and Politics, a talk and book signing by Jean R. Freedman, September 7, 2017

"The Fantastic Worlds of Chinese Opera Theater in North America," Nancy Yunhwa Rao, August 9, 2017

"Muslim American Journeys" Listening Event, July 24, 2017

"Billy Bragg talks about his book: Roots, Radicals and Rockers: How Skiffle Changed the World," July 21, 2017

"Flowing Tides: Musical Memory, History and Global Culture in County Clare, Ireland," a book talk and signing by Gearóid Ó hAllmhuráin, July 11, 2017

Conversations with Smithsonian Folklife Festival Artists: Roy Hirabayashi (co-founder) and PJ Hirabayashi (artistic director emeriti), San Jose Taiko Moderated by Dan Sheehy, director emeritus of Smithsonian Folkways Records, June 30, 2017

Film Screening and Discussion: Shake 'Em On Down, a documentary on the legendary bluesman Mississippi Fred McDowell, June 13, 2017 (no webcast available)

"Cultural Integrity and Local Music: Cape Breton Fiddle, New Orleans Funk,"
Burt Feintuch, Director, Center for the Humanities and Professor Folklore and English, University of New Hampshire, June 7, 2017 (Lecture and oral history)

Film screening and discussion: Mill Stories: Remembering Sparrows Point Steel Mill Co-directed by William Shewbridge (University of Maryland, Baltimore County) and Michelle Stefano (American Folklife Center) , May 11, 2017 (no webcast available).

Open Mic: with Mark Moss, editor, "Sing Out! Magazine: "Folk Music, the Folk Revival and Folk Music Journalism," May 10, 2017

Open Mic: Jayme Stone and Todd Harvey, Curator of the Alan Lomax Collection, May 4, 2017.

Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera's Celebratory Event "Speak the People/the Spark/el Poema," April 26, 2017 (Panel discussion and concert)

"Repatriating the Alan Lomax Haitian Recordings in Post-Quake Haiti," Gage Averill, March 15, 2017

Other 2017 Lectures and Scholarly Programs

"Sidney Robertson Cowell and the WPA California Folk Music Project," Catherine H. Kerst, May, 2017. Also on Library of Congress YouTube. Sponsored by the Music Division. Catherine Hiebert Kerst discusses how, as a young woman of 35, Sidney Robertson proposed, organized and directed a California Work Projects Administration project designed to survey musical traditions from a wide range of English-speaking and immigrant communities in Northern California. Her efforts generated the WPA California Folk Music Project (1938-1940), a remarkable multi-format ethnographic field collection (with recordings, photographs, sketches and drawings of the musical instruments, and field notes) that captured a unique cross-section of the music that people of many backgrounds were performing at the time.

2016 Lecture Series

Film Screening: Kentucky Bourbon Tales: Distilling the Family Business, December 7, 2016 (no webcast)

"Canaries, Nightingales, Whistlers, and Transcribers: Birdsong, Bird-Imitators and the Early 20th-Century Recording Industry," Ian Nagoski, August 2, 2016

"Home Canning: Cultural Narratives, Technological Change, and the Status of Traditional Knowledge," Danille Christensen, July 19, 2016

"Dressing the Past: Civil War Reenactors, Williamsburg Historic Interpreters, and Exploring American Identity through Costume," Pravina Shukla, June 7, 2016

"Musical Soundscapes of Morocco: From Africa to America," Samuel Torjman Thomas, June 6, 2016

"The Transformative Power of Storytelling: A Social Force for Social Change," Kiran Singh Sirah, May 25, 2016

AFC Directors' Roundtable: A Retrospective of the Center's First Forty Years, May 17, 2016

"Improvising a Musical Metropolis: Detroit, 1940s-1960s," Mark Slobin, Professor of Music and American Studies, Wesleyan University, May 12, 2016

"Open Mic: Stories from StoryCorps," with Naomi Blech, Talya Cooper, Felix Lopez, and Stacey Todd interviewed by Nancy Groce, April 26, 2016

"Global Gypsy:  Balkan Romani Music, Appropriation and Representation," Carol Silverman, Professor of Cultural Anthropology and Folklore, University of Oregon, April 21, 2016

"Dylan Goes Electric! Music, Myth, and History," presented by Elijah Wald, writer, musician, and historian, March 16, 2016.

"Daisy Turner’s Kin: An African American Family Saga,"presented by Jane Beck, February 17, 2016

"English traditional dance. The Playford Assembly: Celebrating the 100th Anniversary of the Country Dance and Song Society" with Lecture, Music and Dance Demonstrations, presented by Graham Christian, January 30, 2016.

Other 2016 Lectures and Scholarly Programs

"Living Languages: Preservation and Reclamation of Indigenous Languages," Gabriela Pérez Báez, Co-Director of the National Breath of Life Archival Institute for Indigenous Languages at the Department of Anthropology, National Museum of Natural History of the Smithsonian Institution. Presented by the American Folklife Center in association with the Office of Equal Employment Opportunityand Diversity Programs. November 17, 2016

Film screening: We Still Live Here - Âs Nutayuneân The story of the linguistic and cultural revitalization by the Wampanoag of Southeastern Massachusetts (Makepeace Productions, 2011). Winner of the Moving Mountains Prize at Telluride's MountainFilm, Colorado and the Full Frame Inspiration Award at the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival in Durham, North Carolina. Presented by the American Folklife Center in association with the Office of Equal Employment Opportunityand Diversity Programs. November 3, 2016 (no webcast).

"A World of Opportunity: Audio Visual Archives & the Digital Landscape," Andrea Kalas delivers the keynote address, "Move Into The Middle: Digital Archiving 2016," at the 47th annual conference of the International Association of Sound and Audiovisual Archives, hosted at the Library of Congress. Included are remarks by Ilse Assmann and David Mao. September 26, 2016

2015 Lecture Series

[See also: "Corridos: The Story of a Mexican Ballad Tradition about Outlaws and Heroes" and Corrido (Tragic Ballad) Songwriting Workshop, presented by Juan Díes, September 15, 2015 Homegrown events ]

"The Poetry of Everyday Life," presented by Steve Zeitlin, Director, City Lore, New York City, followed by a film screening and discussion with filmmaker Paul Wagner, August 20, 2015

Open Mic: Interview with Fiona Ritchie, July 14, 2015

"'Listen to Our Story': Alan Lomax, Folk Producer / Folk Promoter," presented by Nathan Salsburg, Association for Cultural Equity, June 10, 2015

"Alan Lomax in Italy, 1954-1955," presented by Goffredo Plastino, May 5, 2015 (No webcast available)

"'A Bourgeois Town': Lead Belly in Washington, D.C.," presented by Terika Dean, Lead Belly Estate and Alvin Singh, Lead Belly Archive

Dancing Ireni: Reimaging and Reimagining Alan Lomax’s Choreometrics Project, Forrestine Paulay and Meriam Lobel in a conversation with Miriam Phillips, April 16, 2015, webcast forthcoming

"'Wait! Does This Belong to Us?' New Ideas of Music Ownership and the Musical Life of the Kïsêdjê, a Remote Indigenous Society in Brazil," presented by Anthony Seeger, April 8, 2015

Open Mic: with David Broza and Mira Awad, February 25, 2015 (Webcast forthcoming)

"What Is Applied Ethnomusicology and Why Did They Say Such Terrible Things About It?" presented by Jeff Todd Titon, January 14, 2015 (Webcast forthcoming)

Flory's Flame: The Story of Flory Jagoda, film screening, January 21, 2015 A webcast of the discussion is available

Other 2015 Lectures and Scholarly Programs

Alan Lomax Roadshow Oral History, John Cohen and the Down Hill Strugglers. September 25, 2015. Todd Harvey discusses the music from the collections of Alan Lomax with The Down Hill Strugglers and John Cohen, who play traditional American music they have learned directly from the collections at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. Running time 00:53:57

"An Archives of Legendary Performances," Mike Turpin, November 4, 2015. 1 hour. A presentation on recordings made in the Coolidge Auditorium with audio examples, including some recordings made when the American Folklife Center's archive was part of the Music Division.

Library Folklife Collections Orientation for the National Association of Black Storytellers, November 13, 2015.  Staff in the Library's American Folklife Center hosted an orientation of its collections for members of the National Association of Black Storytellers in Washington, D.C., for the group's annual membership conference. Running time 01:34:19

"Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera Discusses the WPA California Folk Music Project Collection," Juan Felipe Herrera discusses the WPA California Folk Music Project Collection with Catherine H. Kerst. September 9, 2015. Running Time 00:06:01

"Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera Discusses Literatura de Cordel," with Maggie Kruesi. September 9, 2015. Running time 00:07:01

"Veterans History Project Annual Congressional Briefing," with Betsy Peterson, Bob Patrick, Roger Lempke, Caitlin Green, and Andrew Hube. May 8, 2015. Running Time: 00:56:41

The following webcasts are from the series Many Paths to Freedom: Looking Back, Looking Ahead at the Long Civil Rights Movement. Additional Webcasts are forthcoming:

"Selma, the Voting Rights Act & Reel History," presented by Gary May, Professor Emeritus of History, Delaware University. July 7, 2015. Running Time 01:15:34. Also on Library of Congress YouTube

"Memorialization & Justice as an Ancestral Imperative: Two American Cases," presented by Ken Bilby, June 25, 2015, running time 01:28:43. Also on Library of Congress YouTube

"Teaching the Civil Rights Movement from the Bottom-Up 50 Years After the Voting Rights Act," Emilye Crosby, Running time 01:24:47. Library of Congress YouTube

This Little Light of Mine: The Legacy of Fannie Lou Hamer, Michelle Martin interviews Robin Hamilton about her film documenting the life of Civil Rights activist Fannie Lou Hamer, August 5, 2015. Running time 0:51:07. Also on Library of Congress YouTube

2014 Lecture Series

"Corsican Language and Expressive Culture," presented by Alexandra Jaffe, December 2, 2014

"The 78 Project: Documenting Historic Sound in the Contemporary World," September 5, 2014

"Folk Music, Archives, and Performing: Experiences, Adventures, and Great Stories," presented by Joseph C. Hickerson July 15, 2014

"Homeplace Mississippi: a Cultural Journey" presented by Documentarian Michael Ford, Yellow Cat Productions, Washington, DC, June 5, 2014

"American Roots: Hairdressers and Beauty Shop Culture in America," presented by Candacy Taylor, May 1, 2014

Coffeehouses: Folk Music, Culture, and Counterculture, (forum) April 11, 2014

"Open Mic: A Conversation with David Bromberg," March 31, 2014

"'This Ain't No Mouse Music!' The Story of Chris Strachwitz and Arhoolie Records" — Discussion and Screening of clips from upcoming film premiere with filmmakers Chris Simon and Maureen Gosling. February 21, 2014 (no webcast)

"The Birth and Evolution of Go Go," featuring Lloyd A. Pinchback, February 19, 2014 (webcast forthcoming)

"The 'Hidden' Carols: A Christmas Singing Tradition in the English Pennines," presented by Ian Russel, January 7, 2014

Other 2014 Lectures and Scholarly Programs

"Breaking the Silence: Our Military Stories," June 2, 2014. Sponsored by the Veterans History Project.

Post-Traumatic Stress Awareness Panel, June 27, 2014. This panel discussion covered Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder with veterans living with the diagnosis and experts who work directly with PTSD-diagnosed veterans. Speakers included Jason Cain, Karen Lynn Fears, Richard Tedeschi, Gala True and David Williams. Sponsored by the Veterans History Project.

The following webcasts are from the series Many Paths to Freedom: Looking Back, Looking Ahead at the Long Civil Rights Movement.

"Documenting the Freedom Struggle in Southwest Georgia," with Glen Pearcy and David Cline. A presentation in the program series, "Many Paths to Freedom: Looking Back, Looking Ahead at the Long Civil Rights Movement." February 27, 2014. Also on Library of Congress YouTube

"The Long Black Freedom Struggle: African American Soldiers in WWI & Korea." Adriane Lentz-Smith and David Kline. March 18, 2014. Also on Library of Congress YouTube

"Locality & Nation: Civil Rights & Voting Rights in the Deep South, 1963-1966," with Thomas Jackson and Hasan Kwame Jeffries. A presentation in the program series, "Many Paths to Freedom: Looking Back, Looking Ahead at the Long Civil Rights Movement." April 17, 2014. Also on Library of Congress YouTube

"This Nonviolent Stuff'll Get You Killed: How Guns Made the Civil Rights Movement Possible," presented by Charles Cobb, Jr. followed by a discussion with Rex Ellis. May 20, 2014. Also on Library of Congress YouTube

2013 Lecture Series

"Traditional Music of Coastal Louisiana: The 1934 Lomax Recordings," presented by Joshua Caffery, December 11, 2013.

"Jewish Folk Song, Ben Stonehill, and the Hotel Marseilles: Collecting Cultural Treasures in a Post-WWII New York Lobby," presented by Miriam Isaacs, November 13, 2012.

"One Place: Paul Kwilecki and Four Decades of Photographs from Decatur County, Georgia, A book talk by Tom Rankin, October 30, 2013.

"Voices from the Canefields: Folksongs from Japanese Immigrant Workers in Hawai'i," a book talk presented by Franklin Odo, September 20, 2013.

"'I done what I could': Occupational Folk Poetry in the Pacific Northwest," presented by Jens Lund, September 12, 2013

"I'd Still be Puerto Rican, Even if Born on the Moon: Documenting Puerto Rican Migration and Community through the Arts," presented by Elena Martínez, August 8, 2013.

"Folksongs of Another America: Field Recordings from the Upper Midwest," 1937-1946, presented by Jim Leary, July 18, 2013.

Music from the True Vine: Mike Seeger's Life and Musical Journey, a book talk by Bill C. Malone, June 12, 2013.

"Anxieties of Authorship and Ownership: Intellectual Property, Indigenous Collections, and Decolonial Futures," presented by Jane Anderson. April 3, 2013.

The Beautiful Music All Around Us: Field Recordings and the American Experience, a book talk by Stephen Wade. March 27, 2013.

"The Cinderella No One Knows: The Grimm Brothers' Tale of Incest, Fur, and Hidden Bodies," presented by Margaret Yocom. February 20, 2013.

"The Will to Adorn: Reflections on African American Identity and the Aesthetics of Dress," presented by Diana Baird N'Diaye. January 30, 2013.

Other 2013 Lectures and Related Events Sponsored or Co-Sponsored by AFC

"The Southern Journey of Alan Lomax: Words, Photographs, and Music," presented by Tom Piazza, February 20, 2013. (The link goes directly to the webcast. Running time one hour.) Also on Library of Congress YouTube

2012 Lecture Series

"I Feel So Good: The Life and Times of Big Bill Broonzy," a book talk by Bob Riesman, November 16, 2012.

"Campus Traditions: Folklore from the Old-Time College to the Modern Mega-University," presented by Simon J. Bronner, August 9, 2012.

Squeeze This! A Cultural History of the Accordion in America, A book talk by Marion Jacobson, July 12, 2012.

"Crafting Change: African American Folk Artists and the Civil Rights Movement," presented by Patricia A. Turner, June 26, 2011. (webcast forthcoming).

Archie Green: The Making of a Working-Class Hero, a book talk by Sean Burns, May 1, 2012.

"Reflections on Memory and History: Collecting New Oral Histories of the Civil Rights Movement for the LOC/Smithsonian NMAAHC," presented by Joe Mosnier, April 12, 2012.

"My Father, My Partner," presented by Nora Guthrie March 29, 2012.

"Dog Tags: History, Stories & Folklore of Military Identification," a book talk by Ginger Cucolo, January 26, 2012.

Other 2012 Lectures and Related Events Sponsored or Co-Sponsored by AFC

Gary Sinise & the Veterans History Project, actor Gary Sinise visits the Library of Congress and experiences the Library's Veterans History Project, November 11, 2012.

"Women in the Persian Gulf War," presented by Darlene Iskra, Juliana Mock, Gail Shillingford, and Juanita Mullen, March 27, 2012. (The link goes directly to the webcast. Running time 00:59:34). Sponsored by the Veterans History Project.

2011 Lecture Series

"'We're Not Leaving': Responders Oral Histories Redefine 9/11," presented by Benjamin Luft, November 10, 2011. (webcast forthcoming)

"Passing for Traditional: The New Lost City Ramblers and Folk Music Authenticity," presented by Ray Allen, September 8, 2011.

"Newslore: Contemporary Folklore on the Internet," presented by Russell Frank, August 10, 2011.

Decoration Day in the Mountains, presented by Alan Jabbour and Karen Singer Jabbour. July 7, 2011.

"Reclaiming Lost Languages: The Breath of Life Archival Institute for Indigenous Languages," presented by Leanne Hinton. June 16, 2011. (webcast forthcoming)

"The Two Worlds of the Pennsylvania Dutch," presented by Don Yoder, University of Pennsylvania. May 5, 2011.

"Chorus and Verse: The Challenges of Designing the Roud Folk Song Index," presented by Steve Roud. April 14, 2011.

"The Capital Pool Checkers Club: Tradition, Competition, and Community in Washington, DC," presented by ethographic photographer Peggy Fleming with Professor Maurice Jackson and club members Oliver Griffin and Tal Roberts. March 18, 2011.

"Making a Way Out of No Way: Martin Luther King's Use of Proverbs for Civil Rights," presented by Wolfgang Mieder, University of Vermont. February 10, 2011.

Other 2011 Lectures and Related Events Sponsored or Co-Sponsored by AFC

Celebrating Native American Language Revitalization in Film. Presentations and film screenings, June 21, 2011.

"Chaplains: Reflections from the Past," Ross Trower, Linda George, Michael McCoy, Nathan Abramowitz, February 15, 2011 Veterans History Project presentation (The link goes directly to the webcast. Running time 1:20:34).

2010 Lecture Series

The Makers of the Sacred Harp, presented by David Warren Steel. October 21, 2010

"Translating Africa in Global Contexts," presented by Lee Haring, September 22, 2010

"Place and the Politics of Belonging," presented by Debra Lattanzi Shutika, August 12, 2010

"Cultural Democracy in a Time of Diminished Resources," presented by Bau Graves, July 22, 2010

Hard Luck Blues: Roots Music Photographs from the Great Depression, book launch with Rich Remsberg. Presented in cooperation with the Center for the Book, Library of Congress, June 2, 2010

"Folk Music from the Slovak Mountains: Lecture/Demonstration of the Fujara and Other Overtone Flutes," presented by Bob Rychlik. Presented in cooperation with the Music Division, Library of Congress, May 27, 2010

"Alan Lomax — The Man Who Recorded the World: A Bio-Ethnography," presented by John Szwed, John M. Musser Professor of Anthropology, African American Studies, Music, and American Studies at Yale University, May 5, 2010

"'And Wheat Completed the Cycle,: Flour Mills, Social Memory, and Industrial Culture in Sonora, Mexico," presented by Maribel Alvarez, Department of English, University of Arizona, April 21, 2010

"Folklore and Seeing: Photographs from Cummins Prison, 1915-2010," an illustrated lecture by Bruce Jackson, University at Buffalo. March 25, 2010

Give My Poor Heart Ease: Voices of the Mississippi Blues, a book talk by William R. Ferris, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, February 17, 2010

Additional 2010 Lectures

The following lectures were not part of the Botkin Lecture Series, but were sponsored or co-sponsored by the American Folklife Center in 2010.

Two Lectures Co-Sponsored by the Oral History in the Digital Age Project and the American Folklife Center: "Oral Narratives and Scholarship in the Digital Age," presented by Mark Kornbluh and "Imagining the Futures of the Spoken Word," presented by Douglas W. Oard. November, 2010. (Both lectures are presented in one webcast).

"Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month: Leadership to Meet the Challenges of a Changing World," presented by Christopher Yung, Kurt Chew-Een Lee, Peter Young, and John Whang. A presentation honoring Asian and Pacific veterans sponsored by the Veterans History Project, American Folklife Center, June 2010 (the link goes directly to the webcast).

"Arnold Resnicoff on Faith and Foxholes: Religion in the Military," presented by Arnold Resnicoff. Lecture co-sponsored by the African and Middle Eastern Division and the American Folklife Center, May 6, 2010. (The link goes directly to the webcast. Running time 58 minutes.)

"Sam McGee's Railroad Blues and Other Versions of the Republic," presented by Greil Marcus, cultural critic and pop music scholar. [Link goes to webcast, running time 01:02:52. Also on YouTube.] Marcus excavates a few roots of the American Songbook, examining a handful of indelible and idiosyncratic country, religious, or blues songs from the 1920's, and their modern revisions. This was a pre-concert lecture for a performance by the Talich Quartet co-sponsored by the Music Division of the Library of Congress and the American Folklife Center. October 21, 2010.

"Vanishing Pasts, Ethnographic Presents, and Digital Futures: The Case of the Maasai Audiovisual Archives," presented by Guha Shankar. Co-sponsored by the African and Middle Eastern Division and the American Folklife Center. The lecture describes an international ethnographic documentation training program, with specific examples from a collaborative project jointly produced by the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress, the Maasai Cultural Heritage Foundation, a community-based organization of Maasai people in Laikipia, Kenya, the World Intellectual Property Organization in Switzerland, and Duke University's Center for Documentary Studies. For more information see the web page, Cultural Documentation Matierals and Techniques. Guha Shankar is a folklife specialist at the American Folklife Center. April 7, 2010. The title link goes directly to the webcast. Running time 53 minutes.

See also, the Past Symposia information page for 2010: "Borderlines / Borderlands: Culture and the Canadian-U.S. International Boundary," and "Work and Transformation: Documenting Working Americans."

2009 Lecture Series

"If It Wasn't for the Irish and the Jews: Irish and Jewish Influences on the Music of Vaudeville and Tin Pan Alley," presented by Mick Moloney. December 1, 2009.

"Hear, O Israel: Yiddish American Radio 1925-1955," presented by Henry Sapoznik, University of Wisconsin. October 14, 2009.

"Built with Faith: Place Making and the Religious Imagination in Italian New York," presented by Joseph Sciorra, Queens University, City University of New York. September 23, 2009.

"Documenting Katrina and Rita in Houston," presented by Carl Lindahl, University of Houston and Pat Jasper, Austin, Texas, August 13, 2009.

"The High Lonesome Sound Revisited: Documenting Traditional Culture in America," presented by filmmaker John Cohen. June 11, 2009.

"The Sound of Islamic Music: Women's Voices and the Indonesian Religious Soundscape," presented by Anne K. Rasmussen, Associate Professor of Music and Ethnomusicology, College of William and Mary. May 13, 2009. (Webcast forthcoming)

We Had Sneakers, They Had Guns: The Kids Who Fought for Civil Rights in Mississippi, presented by illustrator and journalist Tracy Sugarman. May 15, 2009.

"Warning of Global Warming? Shamanic Tradition, Politics and Ecological Change in Siberia," presented by Marjorie Mandelstam Balzer, Georgetown University. April 30, 2009. (Webcast forthcoming)

"Living and Building between Tradition and Change: Vernacular Architecture in Northern Sweden," Mats Widbom, Cultural Counselor, Embassy of Sweden. March 24, 2009.

"Revolutionaries, Nursery Rhymes, and Edison Wax Cylinders: The Remarkable Tale of the Earliest Korean Sound Recordings," presented by Robert Provine, University of Maryland. January 27, 2009.

Additional 2009 Lectures

The following lectures were not part of the Botkin Lecture Series, but was sponsored by the American Folklife Center in 2009.

"The Evolution of Welsh Music," a lecture illustrated with music examples, presented by Gwilym Morus, December 15, 2009. This lecture was co-sponsored by the Kluge Center and the American Folklife Center. (the link goes directly to the webcast; running time 1:02:15)

"Rock Hall of Fame Guitarist Chris Hillman," 2009 (the link goes directly to the webcast; running time 1:22:26). Chris Hillman discusses his career. Sponsored by the Music Divison and the American Folklife Center.

See also, the Past Symposia information page for a menu of additional symposia and related events for 2009, including "Robert Burns at 250," "Baseball Americana," and "Legends and Legacies."

2008 Lecture Series

"A Bard of Nature’s Making: Robert Burns and Scottish Traditional Culture," presented by Valentina Bold, University of Glasgow. October 21, 2008. (Webcast forthcoming)

"Kunqü: China's First Great Multi-art Theatrical Tradition," presented by Marjory Bong-Ray Liu, Arizona State University. September 4, 2008.

"'Do All Indians Live in Tipis?' and Other Compelling Questions for Education," presented by Edwin Schupman, National Museum of the American Indian. August 5, 2008.

"Old Cultures/New Contexts: Presenting the Traditional Music and Dance of Urban Immigrant Communities," Nancy Groce interviews Ethel Raim of the Center for Traditional Music and Dance. June 20. 2008.

"Seeing Mary: Belief, Politics, and Practice at Marian Apparition Sites," presented by Anne Pryor, Wisconsin Arts Board. June 3, 2008.

"Empires, Multiculturalisms, and Borrowed Heartsongs: What Does It Mean to Sing Russian/Mennonite Songs?" Presented by Jonathan Dueck, Ethnomusicologist, Visiting Assistant Professor, University of Maryland School of Music. May 21, 2008.

"From Oral Tradition to Critical Edition: The James Madison Carpenter Collection of Folk Music and Drama," presented by the James Madison Carpenter Project team: Julia C. Bishop, David Atkinson, Elaine Bradtke, Eddie Cass, Thomas A. McKean, Robert Young Walser, The Elphinstone Institute, University of Aberdeen, UK. April 23, 2008.

“Force and Violins: What the FBI had on Folksingers,” presented by David King Dunaway, Professor of English, University of New Mexico and Professor of Broadcasting, San Francisco State University. March 19, 2008.

Rediscover Northern Ireland Events 2008: Lectures
In 2008 the following lectures are available as webcasts. The lectures were co-sponsored by the American Folklife Center's Benjamin Botkin Lecture Series and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland. The Rediscover Northren Ireland Events 2008 also included a concert by Tommy Sands and family. Follow the above link to the event web page.

"'It's Of My Rambles...' A Journey in the Song Tradition of Ulster," presented by Len Graham, November 6, 2008.

"'I Am a Wee Weaver': Weaving and Singing in Northern Ireland," presented by Maurice Leyden, December 4, 2008.

Additional 2008 Lectures

See also, the Past Symposia information page for 2008: "Art, Culture, and Government: The New Deal at 75."

2007 Lecture Series

"Afghan Women’s Stories: The Problematics of Cover" presented by Margaret Mills, Ohio State University. September 19, 2007.

"Folklore’s Champion: Ben Botkin" presented by Roger D. Abrahams, Hum Rosen Professor of Humanities. Emeritus, at the University of Pennsylvania, August 15, 2007.

"Quilters' Save Our Stories" presented by Bernard Herman, Professor of American Material Culture Studies and Professor of Art History at the University of Delaware. July 24, 2007. (Webcast currently unavailable)

"Down in the Old Belt: Voices from the Tobacco South," a film screening and lecture by documentary film maker Jim Crawford. July 5, 2007. (Flyer essay only. No webcast was made for this film screening)

"All through the North, As I Walked Forth...": Northern Ireland's Place Names, Folklife and Landscape with presentations by Edward Redmond, Kay Muhr, and Henry Glassie. May 16, 2007. (Webcast currently unavailable). Symposium sponsored through the Botkin Lecture Series.

Additional 2007 AFC Lectures

In 2007 the following lectures were not part of The Botkin Lecture Series. These were associated with the Rediscover Northern Ireland Programme 2007. The lecture title link will go directly to the webcast.

"North American Influence on a North Irish Folksong Collection", presented by John Moulden. Part of the Rediscover Northern Ireland Programme 2007. May 2, 2007. Running time 0:59:23

"There's More that Unites Than Divides Us" Spoken and performed by Gary Hastings and Brian Mullen. Part of the Rediscover Northern Ireland Programme 2007. May 29, 2007. Running time 1:29:01

See also, the Past Symposia information page for a menu of additional symposia and related events for 2007, including "Laborlore Conversations IV: Documenting Occupational Folklore Then and Now," the complete presentation of the "Rediscover Northern Ireland Programme," and "How Can I Keep from Singing?: A Seeger Family Tribute."

2006 Lecture Series

"La Quinceañera: A Coming of Age Ritual in Latino Communities,"presented by Norma E. Cantú, Professor of English, University of Texas at San Antonio. November 8, 2006.

"The Changing Worlds of the Patuas of West Bengal." Frank Korom, Associate Professor of Religion and Anthropology at Boston University, Wednesday. October 11, 2006.

"What's in a Name?  AIDS, Vernacular Risk Perception and the Culture of Ownership," presented by Diane Goldstein, Professor of Folklore at Memorial University of Newfoundland. October 4, 2006.

"Cowboy Poetry: History, Origins, Influences, Forms." presented by David Stanley, professor of English at Westminster College. September 14, 2006.

"Politics and Poetics: Fieldwork in Afghanistan and Jamaica." presented by Margaret Mills, Professor, Ohio State University Dept of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures and Center for Folklore Studies; and, Kenneth Bilby, Research Associate, Smithsonian Institution Dept of Anthropology. August 3, 2006.

"Not the Same Old (Folk) Song and Dance: Field Recordings in the European Communities of the United States,"presented by Matthew Barton, Motion Picture, Broadcasting, and Recorded Sound Division, Library of Congress. July 27, 2006.

"Waking up the People,"presented by Linda Goss, professional storyteller, Artist-In-Residence at the Rosenbach Museum, and a featured artist in Philadelphia Folklore Project's Local Knowledge project. June 29, 2006.

"Facing the Music: Traditional Culture and Copyright,"Dr. Bryan Bachner, Assistant Director of Legal Research at the Law Library of Congress and chief of the Eastern Law Division. May 31, 2005.

"The Folklore Behind Ecology, or Why Scientists in Ecology Need Help from Folklorists," Dr. Daniel B. Botkin, Professor Emeritus, Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Marine Biology, University of California, Santa Barbara. April 5, 2006.

See also, the Homegrown lecture/concert:"Mister Jelly Roll, Mister Lomax and the Invention of Jazz," presented by writer and jazz scholar John Szwed and pianist Dave Burrell. January 18, 2006.

2005 Lecture Series

Sara M. Davis, a New-York based writer and former researcher in the Asia Division of Human Rights Watch discussed her book, Song & Silence, in which she reveals how Tai Lües are reviving and reinventing their culture in ways that contest the official state version. December 13, 2005. (No webcast available)

"Collecting and Performing Traditional Song in the Republic of Georgia,"presented by Malkhaz Erkvanidze Ethnomusicologist, scholar and performer on collecting traditional sacred and secular music in the Republic of Georgia. Members of the Anchiskhati Choir assisted with performances of material he and the members of his ensemble have collected. November 17, 2005.

"The Beautiful Bridge: Crossing The Span Between Oral Tradition and the Written Creative Word,"presented by Frank Delaney, author of the New York Times bestseller Ireland: A Novel. Scott Simon, NPR's Peabody-Award-winning correspondent, and host of Weekend Edition Saturday introduced the speaker. October 11, 2005. (No webcast available)

The Beat: Go-Go's Fusion of Funk and Hip-Hop.Ethnomusicologist Kip Lornell discussed the book he coauthored with Charles C. Stephenson Jr. September 28, 2005. (No webcast available)

"Tales of the Jersey Devil" — an Illustrated Lecture presented by Stephen D. Winick, Ph.D., of the American Folklife Center. August 23, 2005. (No webcast available)

"Bridles, Bits and Beads: Folk and Fieldwork from the High, Wide and Handsome State of Montana" — an illustrated lecture presented by Dr. Alexandra Swaney of the Montana Arts Council. July 21, 2005.

"From Virginia to Vermont: a Trek from Slavery to Freedom"— an audio illustrated lecture presented by Jane Beck, Folklorist and Executive Director of the Vermont Folklife Center in Middlebury, Vermont. June 23, 2005. (No webcast available)

"A Conversation with Stetson Kennedy." Kennedy, now 89, talked about his life and work in conversation with Dr. Peggy Bulger, Director of the American Folklife Center. May 24, 2005.

"Music in Bulgaria: Experiencing Music, Expressing Culture" — an illustrated lecture presented by Prof. Timothy Rice, ethnomusicologist, UCLA. March 23, 2005. (No webcast available)

"Between Midnight and Day" — an illustrated lecture presented by Dick Waterman, photographer, agent, manager, and promoter of traditional Blues artists. February 23, 2005. (No webcast available)

See also, the Past Symposia information page for a menu of additional symposia and related events for 2005.

2004 Lecture Series

"From Bridge to Boardwalk, an Audio Journey Across Maryland's Eastern Shore" — an illustrated lecture based on the CD and book of the same title presented by Douglas Manger, folklorist at the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, Tatiana Irvine, independent radio producer, and Elanie Eff, folklorist at the Maryland Historical Trust. October 21, 2004. (No webcast available)

"The Lore of America's Coal Miners: A Fresh Look at the George Korson Collection," presented by Angus Kress Gilespie, Rutgers: The State University of New Jersey. September 20, 2004. (No webcast available)

"From Patent Medicines to Patents for Indigenous Knowledge -- Material and Spiritual Economies" — an illustrated lecture presented by Margaret Kruesi, American Folklife Center. August 31, 2004. (No webcast available)

"Basque Culture in the Western United States," — an illustrated lecture presented by Maria Carmen RA. Gambliel, Director Folk and Traditional Arts Program, Idaho Commission on the Arts. July 16, 2004. (No webcast available)

"Ivan Kupalo: Ritual in Post-Soviet Ukraine" — an illustrated lecture presented by Dr. Natalie Kononenko, Professor of Slavic Languges, Lituratures, and Folklore at the University of Virginia. June 16, 2004. (No webcast available).

"Eight Sounds of Chinese Music" presented by Nora Yeh, Ethnomusicologist, American Folklife Center. The lecture was illustrated with sounds and images of Chinese intstruments from 2100 BCE to the present. May 25, 2004. (No webcast available)

"Yodel-Ay-Ee-Ooo: The Secret History of Yodeling Around the World" presented by Bart Plantenga. Featuring yodelers Randy Irwin and Cathy Fink. April 27, 2004. (No webcast available)

"Giving a Voice to Sorrow: Creative Responses to Death" — an illustrated lecture presented by Illana Harlow, of the American Folklife Center. March 23, 2004. (No webcast available)

"Voices from the Days of Slavery: Former Slaves Tell Their Stories" presented by John Barton, American Folklife Center. Februrary 25, 2004. (No webcast available)

"Chinese Folk Art Today," — an illustrated lecture presented by Yong Xianrang, Artist and professer emeritus of the Bejing Central Academy of Fine Arts. January 22, 2004. (No webcast available)

Additional Lectures Available as Webcasts from 2005 and Earlier

2005 Lecture:

"Bringing in the May"presented by Jennifer Cutting, American Folklife Center. This Web cast was created as part of the Library's Journeys and Crossings Series. Jennifer Cutting describes and displays some of the folk traditions surrounding May Day (May 1) in Britain and the United States. May, 1, 2005. Time: 16 minutes. (This video is also available via the Library of Congress You Tube Channel.)

Living Legend Interview:

2003 Interview:

Odetta! An Interview for the American Folklife Center in 2003 Odetta was presented with a Living Legend Award by the Library of Congress. She was interviewed about her remarkable career by AmericanFolklife Center Director Peggy Bulger. Time: 35 minutes.

Witness and Response:

2002 Lectures:

"Pearl Harbor Oral Histories," presented by Ann Hoog, American Folklife Center. This Web cast was created as part of the Library's Journeys and Crossings Series. Ann Hoog discusses After the Day of Infamy: 'Man-on-the-Street' Interviews Following the Attack on Pearl Harbor. June 8, 2002. Time: 8 minutes. (This video is also available via the Library of Congress You Tube Channel.)

Ann Hoog discusses the September 11, 2001 Documentary Project. Forms part of the Witness and Response, September 11, 2001 Acquisitions at the Library of Congress Library of Congress online exhibition. The video is presented on the American Folklife Center's section of the exhibit found at Witness and Response, September 11, 2001: American Folklife Center along with recordings of narratives, photographs of spontaneous memorials, and artwork by children related to the first weeks after September 11, 2001.


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