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Benjamin A. Botkin head and shoulders portrait
Folklorist Benjamin A. Botkin, 1926. Photo courtesy of the Botkin family.

Benjamin A. Botkin Folklife Lecture Series

Through the Benjamin A. Botkin Folklife Lecture Series, the American Folklife Center (AFC) presents distinguished experts speaking about their research and current issues and best practices in folklore, folklife, ethnomusicology, and related fields. Lectures are recorded for the AFC archive and posted on the Library's website. (See below for list of speakers and topics.) The series honors Benjamin A. Botkin (1901-1975), a pioneering folklorist who headed the Library's Archive of American Folksong from 1942-1945.

Request ADA accommodations five days in advance at 202-707-6362 or [email protected]

2020 Botkin Lectures

Graffiti, Folklore and Community Life: Photographing Contemporary Culture, presented by Martha Cooper, documentary photographer

Martha Cooper holding a camera and standing in front of grafitti art.
Martha Cooper

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Renowned documentary photographer Martha Cooper has spent decades documenting contemporary culture throughout the world. She is especially well known for her urban photography of hip hop culture, children’s play, mural art, and ethnic communities and their celebrations. Her book with Henry Chalfant on New York City graffiti, Subway Art, has been called "the graffiti bible." She has worked closely with folklorists throughout her career, including on American Folklife Center field projects. In this two-part presentation, she will share some of her favorite photographs and discuss her projects, approaches, and reflections on photography and documentation. Request ADA accommodations five days in advance at 202-707-6362 or [email protected]

The High Rise and Lonesome Fall of Bluegrass in Washington, DC, presented by Kip Lornell and Stephen Moore

Capital Bluegrass book cover
Capital Bluegrass book cover

April 16, 2020, 6:00-7:00 PM
Whittall Pavilion, First Floor
Thomas Jefferson Building

This evening presentation features two prominent local music scholars—folklorist and ethnomusicologist Kip Lornell of George Washington University, and researcher, writer and musician Dr. Stephen Moore of Georgetown University, both of whom have recently published books documenting the importance of Washington, DC as a national hub for the development of Bluegrass music during the 1980s. Drawing on information detailed in Lornell's just-released book Capital Bluegrass: Hillbilly Music Meets Washington, DC (Oxford University Press, 2020) and Stephen Moore’s recent book John Duffey’s Bluegrass Life:  Featuring the Country Gentlemen, Seldom Scene, and Washington, D.C. (Booklocker, 2019), they will discuss how Washington DC became a hub for this unique American musical style; the development of a recognizable Washington-style bluegrass; and the personalities and venues that sustained DC’s bluegrass musical scene during the last decades of the 20th century.

Request ADA accommodations five days in advance at 202-707-6362 or [email protected]

Botkin Lecture Series Past Events Archive

Includes descriptions of each lecture, photos, and informational essays from the event flyers. Links to webcasts of lectures are included as available.

2020 Lecture Series

2019 Lecture Series

2018 Lecture Series

2017 Lecture Series

2016 Lecture Series

2015 Lecture Series

2014 Lecture Series

2013 Lecture Series

2012 Lecture Series

2011 Lecture Series

2010 Lecture Series

2009 Lecture Series

2008 Lecture Series

2007 Lecture Series

2006 Lecture Series

2005 Lecture Series

2004 Lecture Series


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   March 12, 2020
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