December 22, 2009 American Folklife Center Announces Recipients of Archie Green Fellowships

Press Contact: Erin Allen (202) 707-7302

Robert McCarl, Steve Zeitlin, Nick Spitzer and Maureen Loughran have been awarded the 2010-2011 Archie Green Fellowships from the American Folklife Center (AFC).

McCarl is a professor of sociology at Boise State University in Idaho. He has been documenting and studying occupational folklife since his work as a graduate student in the 1970s. His doctoral dissertation, and much of his later work, focused on the folklife of firefighters, and he continues to work with firefighting communities today. McCarl will study the environmental ethics of different occupational groups in Idaho’s Silver Valley, where he plans to interview and document three broad categories of workers: ecologically-focused occupations such as plant biologists, geologists and water-quality specialists; current-use occupations such as miners, loggers, and fishermen; and future-oriented occupations, such as preservationists, developers, clergy and Coeur d’Alene tribal leaders. His analysis, videos, photographs, notes and maps will be given to the American Folklife Center, along with copies for the local community.

Zeitlin is the founder and director of City Lore, The New York Center for Urban Folk Culture. He is a recipient of the Benjamin Botkin Lifetime Achievement Award in Public Folklore from the American Folklore Society (2007). He has previously documented urban occupational folklore, including the traditions of transit workers, street merchants and carnival pitchmen. Through the Archie Green Fellowship, Zeitlin will coordinate a team of folklorists and filmmakers in producing “Heartland Passage,” a documentary film about workers along the route of New York State’s Erie Canal, including tugboat captains and engineers, machinists, harbormasters, drydock workers and locktenders. In addition, Zeitlin’s team will create eight oral-history modules for the website of Erie Canalway National Corridor, curriculum materials for K-12 teachers, and a collection of high-definition video and audio tape that will become part of the AFC’s archive.

Spitzer is a professor of folklore and cultural conservation at the University of New Orleans, and Mellon Professor in the Humanities at Tulane University. He is also the creator and voice of “American Routes,” a weekly two-hour radio program devoted to vernacular music and culture, which reaches 225 stations through Public Radio International and Sirius XM Satellite Radio. He is a recipient of the Benjamin Botkin Lifetime Achievement Award in Public Folklore from the American Folklore Society (2002), the ASCAP Deems Taylor Award for music journalism (2004) and a Guggenheim Fellowship (2007). Spitzer’s colleague, Loughran, is an ethnomusicologist who earned her Ph.D. from Brown University in 2008. For their fellowship, they will produce a special “Routes to Recovery” series of five two-hour radio programs devoted to economic and social recovery across the United States, focusing on workers in several occupational categories, including cowboys, automobile workers and the building trades. The series will also focus on music and the arts as spiritual sustenance for survivors and as catalysts for recovery. The series will air in its entirety on “American Routes,” and edited segments will be offered to NPR’s “All Things Considered” and other major news outlets. All original field recordings for the project will become part of the AFC archive.

The Archie Green Fellowship Program was created in 2009 to honor the memory of Archie Green (1917-2009), the pioneering folklorist who championed the establishment of the American Folklife Center (AFC) at the Library. Green was a scholar and advocate for the documentation and analysis of the culture and traditions of American workers. The fellowships are intended to support new, original, independent field research into the culture and traditions of American workers and/or occupational groups. Successful projects must also create significant digital archival materials (such as audio recordings, photographs, motion pictures and field notes) that will be preserved in the center's archive and made available to researchers and the public.

The American Folklife Center was created by Congress in 1976 and placed at the Library to “preserve and present American Folklife” through programs of research, documentation, archival preservation, reference service, live performance, exhibition, public programs and training. The center includes the American Folklife Center Archive of folk culture, which was established in 1928 and is now one of the largest collections of ethnographic material from the U.S. and around the world. For more information, visit

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PR 09-248
ISSN 0731-3527