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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.

2018 Botkin Lectures

Since 1968: Cultural Organizations, Programming and Documentation, and Community Enrichment in New York, Kentucky, and Washington D.C.

Three photos left to right, a quilt of a sun over mountains with "Appalshop" above, a dance event with a young man doing a stand on one hand as other performers look on, and the front of a brick building with a sign reading Drum and Spear and a woman just visible inside the door.

From right to left: a quilt celebrating Appalshop, courtesy of Appalshop; a Center for Traditional Music and Dance event in New York, courtesy of CTMD; the Drum and Spear building, DC, courtesy of Drum and Spear.

September 24, 2018, 1:00 pm to 4:30 pm
Whittall Pavilion, Ground floor
Thomas Jefferson Building

On Sept. 24, 2018, The American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress will host "Since 1968: Cultural Organizations, Programming and Documentation, and Community Enrichment in New York, Kentucky, and Washington D.C.," an afternoon symposium that explores the themes of cultural work, geography, and community as manifest in the history of three organizations who trace their beginnings to the swell of social change that emerged in 1968: the Center for Traditional Music and Dance, Appalshop, and the Drum and Spear Bookstore.

Free and open to the public. No registration or tickets required. Seating is limited. Request ADA accommodations five days in advance at 202-707-6362 or [email protected]

1:00-2:30 pm     Panel 1: Fifty Years of Culture and Heritage Programming: The Center for Traditional Music and Dance and Appalshop
  This panel features staff from the Center for Traditional Music and Dance (New York) and Appalshop (Kentucky). Celebrating its 50th anniversary, CTMD has long engaged in programming and documentation that celebrates the wealth of culture heritage found in New York City’s immigrant communities. Appalshop is looking toward its 50th year of connecting the cultures and experiences of Appalachian communities to national social and economic movements, through media and performing arts. The panel will feature founders and current staff members, who will reflect on the unique history of each organization while discussing common questions about the role of cultural documentation, heritage vitality, and plurality of experiences across rural and urban spaces. Panelists include Ethel Raim (Co-founder and Artistic Director Emeritus, CTMD), Peter Rushefsky (Executive Director, CTMD), Martin Koenig (Co-founder and Board member, CTMD), Herby Smith (Filmmaker and Co-founder, Appalshop), and Alexander Gibson (Executive Director, Appalshop).
3:00-4:30 pm     Panel 2: Cultural Production, Activism, and a Creative Hub: The Drum and Spear Bookstore
  The second panel will feature speakers involved in Washington D.C.'s Drum and Spear Bookstore, ranging from founding activists and artists to scholars offering contemporary perspectives on its aims and accomplishments. Established in 1968, and operating until 1974, the shop on Fairmont Street (alongside Maelezo, a branch in the HEW Building) was a creative hub for black power, black consciousness and internationalist activism, functioning as a non-profit bookstore and a zone of cultural production and political engagement. Participants will reflect on the bookstore’s leading role in expanding critical consciousness about such issues as cultural democracy, race, activism, and the significance of place in the nation’s capital. Panelists include Judy Richardson (Scholar, filmmaker, activist, Co-founder of Drum and Spear), Courtland Cox (President of CCAP Consulting, Co-founder of Drum and Spear), Anthony Gittens (Founder/Director of the Washington D.C. International Film Festival, Co-founder of Drum and Spear), Jennifer Lawson (Media consultant and Co-founder of Drum and Spear), and Joshua Davis (Assistant Professor of History, University of Baltimore).

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.

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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   August 15, 2018
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