News & Events


December 1, 2014
Alan Dundes Lecture

The Department of Anthropology and the Berkeley Folklore Program

invite you to the opening of

The Alan Dundes Papers

housed in the Bancroft Library

in conjunction with

The Alan Dundes Lecture:

"Here is our Man," Dundes Discovered:

Development of the Folklore Program at UC Berkeley

Presented by

Rosemary Levy Zumwalt

Dean of the College & Professor of Anthropology Emerita

Agnes Scott College

Thursday, December 11, 2014

5:00-7:00 pm

Doe Library, Morrison Room, UC Berkeley

Reception to follow

October 23, 2014
Open House for Prospective MA Folklore Students

Open House for Prospective Students


The Folklore Department will be having an Open House for prospective Masters students on Friday, November 21st. This will be an all-day event in which students interested in the Folklore MA program at Berkeley can meet and talk with professors and graduate students in the department, attend a graduate-level Folklore seminar, and learn more about the courses and opportunities offered by the UC Berkeley Folklore Department. Food and drink will be provided.

If you are interested in attending, please email and RSVP at your earliest convenience!

September 29, 2014
Talk by Maria Herrera-Sobek

Please join us for a

Folklore Roundtable Lecture


The Two Guadalupes: Colonizing/Decolonizing Sacred Folk Narratives from Spain and Mexico

by María Herrera-Sobek


Thursday, October 9th, 5:00 P.M.

Gifford Room, Kroeber Hall 221

Reception to follow


In colonization, as well as decolonization projects, sacred deities are often major protagonists in these political imaginaries. Such is the case for Spain and its Virgin of Guadalupe (apparition circa 1326 AD) as well as for Mexico and its own Virgin of Guadalupe (1531). Professor Herrera-Sobek examines the flk legends related to these sacred images and their separate apparitions on earth at different points in time and space as recounted in the narratives. She underscores their differences and similarities regarding the complex roles they have played and continue to play in imperialist conquests as well as decolonizing political processes.

María Herrera-Sobek is Associate Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity and Academic Policy and Professor of Chicano/a Studies at UC Santa Barbara. She received her Ph.D. in Hispanic Languages and Literatures from UCLA. Publications include: The Bracero Experience: Elitelore versus Folklore; The Mexican Corrido: A Feminist Analysis; Northward Bound: The Mexican Immigrant Experience in Ballad and Song; and Chicano Folklore: A Handbook, as well as over 135 scholarly articles and works of poetry.

This event is sponsored by the Folklore Program, Ethnic Studies Department, Graduate Assembly and the Townsend Center for the Humanities.

For more information, email




April 14, 2014

Please join us for a

Folklore Roundtable Lecture


The Problem of Folk Art

by Margaretta Lovell


Tuesday, April 15th, 5:00 P.M.


Gifford Room, Kroeber Hall 221

Reception to follow

This talk will emphasize 19th and 20th-century American folk art and broach questions about fabrication, audience, and interpretation.  How is folk art similar to folklore? folk music?  How is it profoundly different as a subject of analysis?  What uses were made of 19th-century folk art in 20th-century America by mainstream culture elites?  What opportunities for the study of folk art are ripe for scholarly attention?

Margaretta M. Lovell, the Jay D. McEvoy Professor of Art History at the University of California, Berkeley, received her Ph.D. from Yale and specializes in American and British art, architecture, design, and literature. Her books include prizewinners Art in a Season of Revolution: Painters, Artisans, and Patrons in Early America, and A Visitable Past:  Views of Venice by American Artists and Writers. Her current project is a book on the antebellum landscape painter, Fitz H. Lane. Awards include fellowships, residencies, and grants from the American Philosophical Society, ACLS, Huntington Library, Rockefeller Foundation, Terra Foundation, Guggenheim Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Humanities.


This event is sponsored by the Graduate Assembly, Folklore Program, and the Townsend Center for the Humanities



April 2, 2014
Talk by Pertti Anttonen


Please join us for a


Folklore Roundtable Lecture


The Role of the Archive in the Circulation of Folklore

by Pertti Anttonen


In conversation with: Mario Wimmer and Deniz Gokturk


Thursday, April 3rd, 5:00 P.M.


Gifford Room, Kroeber Hall 221

Reception to follow


In folklore studies, scholars have tended to draw a major distinction between pre- and post-archival folklore. The mode of circulation is regarded as being different, tradition is said to end at the door to the archive, and archival documents are considered dead artifacts. This talk will discuss the idea of viewing the archive as a link, rather than a cut, in the circulation of folklore. It will focus on two aspects in this circulation: intersemiotic translation in folklore collecting, and the subsequent act of curation.

Pertti Anttonen is a University Lecturer in folklore studies at the University of Helsinki in Finland. He is a docent in folklore studies at the University of Helsinki and the University of Turku, as well as a docent in ethnology at the University of Jyväskylä. His publications include Tradition Through Modernity: Postmodernism and the Nation-State in Folklore Scholarship.


Mario Wimmer teaches Modern European Cultural and Intellectual History in the Dept. of Rhetoric. His research focuses on the cultural and institutional history of knowledge, the critical history of rationality, and the history of an historical sense.

Deniz Gokturk is Associate Professor and currently Chair in the Dept. of German at the UC Berkeley. Her publications include a book on literary and cinematic imaginations of America in early twentieth-century German culture as well as seminal articles on migration, culture, and cinema



This event is sponsored by the Graduate Assembly, Folklore Program, and the Townsend Center for the Humanities

For more information, email



February 11, 2014
Talk by Henry Glassie


The Berkeley Folklore Program is pleased to present the Alan Dundes Lecture


Sacred Mud: The Idea of Art in Bangladesh

By Henry Glassie

February 27 2014 5:00pm

308A Doe Library

Reception to follow



During years of ethnographic work in Bangladesh, living with creators and talking with them about their work, Henry Glassie came to an understanding of their idea of art. Their idea, grounded in ecology and religious principle, united use and beauty, need and aspiration, providing a challenge to Western conventions.


Dr. Glassie is College Professor of Folklore emeritus at Indiana University. Arguably the preeminent specialist on folk art, his books include Folk Housing in Middle Virginia, All Silver and No Brass, The Potter's Art, Vernacular Architecture, Passing the Time in Ballymenone, The Spirit of Folk Art, Turkish Traditional Art Today, and Art and Life in Bangladesh. Honors include the Lifetime Scholarly Achievement Award of the American Folklore Society, the Charles Homer Haskins Prize of the American Council of Learned Societies, and formal recognition from the ministries of culture of Turkey and Bangladesh.


Sponsored by UCB Folklore Program, Graduate Assembly and the Department of Art History

More information:



November 19, 2013
Pertti Anttonen at UCB Folkore

We are pleased to announce that Pertti Anttonen will be the Folklore Program’s visitor during the Spring Semester of 2014. With an BA from the University of Helsinki and a PhD in Folklore and Folklife from the University of Pennsylvania, he currently teaches at the University of Helsinki. He is the author of Tradition through Modernity: Postmodernism and the Nation-State in Folklore Scholarship. He will teach the following two folklore courses:

1. Anthropology 162: Politics of Culture Approach to Baltic Finnish and Scandinavian Folklore This lecture course deals with Baltic Finnish and Scandinavian folklore research and examines a number of ways in which research and given folklore topics link with politics of culture. We will first look into the relevant concepts, such as politics, policy, culture, cultural policy, cultural politics, and politics of culture. We will then move on to special folklore cases in which the politicization of culture plays a significant role. Regarding Finland, we will focus on two nationalizing narratives, one concerning the Kalevala epic and the other the legendary first Christian bishop and his killing. The symbolic appropriations of this legend extend from late 13th century manuscript to YouTube. Scandinavia will be discussed through selected cases of legend analyses and heritage making, some of which also link with present-day American culture. Folklore research in Estonia will also be discussed from similar perspectives. Books to be read: Anttonen, Pertti J., Tradition Through Modernity: Postmodernism and the Nation-State in Folklore Scholarship. Helsinki: Finnish Literature Society, 2005. Aronsen, Peter and Lizette Gradén (eds.), Performing Nordic Heritage. Everyday Practices and Institutional Culture. Farnham, England: Ashgate, 2013. Gunnell, Terry (ed.), Legends and Landscape. Articles Based on Plenary Papers Presented at the 5th Celtic-Nordic-Baltic Folklore Symposium, Reykjavik 2005. University of Iceland Press.

2. Anthropology 250X-11: The Modernness of Contemporary Folklore. This is a graduate seminar in folklore that examines three 20th and 21st century discursive arenas in which folklore is conceptualized as modern. After the first half of the 20th century, folklore scholarship started to deal with the growing impact of popular and mass culture. Consequently, modern folklore came to be seen as different from but yet corresponding to those folklore forms that characterized the folklore discipline in its earlier periods. Today, similar discussions emerge due to the Internet and the social media, and we will be looking into some of the literature concerning this. Another modern discursive arena for folklore is constituted by its collecting, especially the literary representations produced both for and by folklore archives. We will examine recent debates and apply some of the suggested perspectives on materials in the local Folklore Archive. The third arena to be discussed is the role of folklore in modern heritage making and in debates over cultural ownership. Copyright issues will bring us back to the question of contemporary folklore in the digital age and modern conceptualization of folk creativity. Texts will include: Anttonen, Pertti J. , Tradition Through Modernity: Postmodernism and the Nation-State in Folklore Scholarship. Helsinki: Finnish Literature Society, 2005. . Blank, Trevor J. (ed.) 2012: Folk Culture in the Digital Age. The Emergent Dynamic of human Interaction. Utah State University Press. Bronner, Simon J., Explaining Traditions. Folk Behavior in Modern Culture. University of Kentucky Press, 2011.

November 19, 2013
Second Talk by Clara Saravia



Please join us for a

Folklore Roundtable Lecture

Having your body healed in a beautiful way: folklore and states of affliction in the Afro-Brazilian religions in Portugal


By Clara Saravia


Wednesday December 4th 2013 at 5:00 pm

Gifford Room, 221 Kroeber Hall

Reception to follow


Clara Saraiva is a senior researcher at the ScientificTropical Research Institute and a Professor at the Department of Anthropology, Universidade Nova de Lisboa. She was an invited Professor at Brown University (2001-2002 and 2008) and at the Université d´Aix-en-Provence (France-2005). She is vice-president of the Society for International Ethnology and Folklore, and board member of the Portuguese Anthropological Association, of the Center for Research in Anthropology, and of the Ethics Task Force of the World Council of Anthropological Associations. Her main fields of research are religion and ritual (namely in Guinea-Bissau and the expansion of African and Afro-Brazilian religions in Portugal).


This event is sponsored by the Graduate Assembly, Folklore Program, Religious Studies, and the Townsend Center for the Humanities at UC Berkeley and

the Luso-American Development Foundation and Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia.


For more information, email



November 6, 2013
Talk by Leah Lowthorp


Please join us for a

Folklore Roundtable Lecture

Scenarios of Endangered Culture, Shifting Cosmopolitanisms: Kutiyattam and UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage in India


By Leah Lowthorp, Ph.D.

Wednesday November 13th, 2013 4:00 pm

Gifford Room, 221 Kroeber Hall

Reception to follow


Leah Lowthorp recently defended her dual Ph.D. in Folklore and Anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania. Funded by the American Institute of Indian Studies, she spent two years in fieldwork among Kutiyattam Sanskrit theatre artists in Kerala, India. Her work more broadly examines how changes in cultural practice reflect wider social and political changes over time, particularly as implicated in a universalizing modernity and shifting constellations of cosmopolitanism. It charts how changes in Kutiyattam's form and practice, from an upper-caste, exclusively temple-based theatre in the mid-twentieth century to a democratized, cosmopolitan UNESCO Intangible Heritage of Humanity by the early twenty-first, both index and represent a creative response to wider shifts happening in Kerala, postcolonial India, and the world at large.


This event is sponsored by the Graduate Assembly, Folklore Program, and the Townsend Center for the Humanities

For more information, email



October 24, 2013
Talk by Clara Saraiva

The Folklore Roundtable presents

A Folklore Roundtable

The invisibility of death amongst African migrants in Portugal: spirits and rituals across the ocean

by Clara Saraiva

Instituto de Investigacao Cientifica Tropical  and CRIA/FCSH-

Universidade Nova de Lisboa


Clara Saraiva is a senior researcher at the ScientificTropical Research Institute (Instituto de Investigacao Cientifica Tropical- IICT) and a Professor at the Department of Anthropology, Universidade Nova de Lisboa. She was an invited Professor at Brown University (2001-2002 and 2008) and at the Université d´Aix-en-Provence (France-2005). She is vice-president of the Society for International Ethnology and Folklore (SIEF), and board member of the Portuguese Anthropological Association (APA), of the Center for Research in Anthropology (CRIA), and of the Ethics Task Force of the World Council of Anthropological Associations (WCAA). Her main fields of research are religion and ritual (namely in Guinea-Bissau and the expansion of African and Afro-Brazilian religions in Portugal).

Thursday, October 31st 2013, 5:00 PM. Room 5303 Dwinelle Hall

Reception to follow

Sponsored by the Folklore Program, the Townsend Center for the Humanities, the Department of Spanish and Portuguese, Religious Studies, and the Graduate Assembly

For more information, email


October 24, 2013
Open House

Dear prospective students,

We are planning to schedule our Open House for the M.A. in Folklore for Wednesday November 13, 2013. It would be an all-day event.  We will email the interested students who have been in contact with us.  If you would like to attend, please email at your earliest convenience.



August 21, 2013
URAP programs and Open House for prospective MA Folklore applicants

We are excited to reopen for the Fall semester, and have upcoming events that will give both undergraduates and graduates a chance to learn more about the Archives, and our MA Program.

On August 22nd, our URAP program goes live. URAPs will disassemble collections of folklore, each consisting of approximately ten discrete items. Each individual item (a proverb, a riddle, a folktale, a legend, a custom, a folksong, a game, etc.) will be filed in the appropriate folder by genre/category within national divisions. The position is an excellent complement to taking the class Anthro 160: Forms of Folklore. Students learn in class about the way folklore genres are labeled and divided, and are able to apply that learning directly, by seeing how problematic those divisions sometimes are. Students desiring units will be required to work at least three hours per week during the semester (amounting to a total of at least 30 hours for the entire semester).

Although having some prior experience with folklore is certainly a plus, it is not required. Students continuing into the Spring will have opportunities to develop exciting research projects based on their own interests. Past projects have included collecting folklore from the Occupy movement, analyzing prison lore and folkspeech, and creating web-based platforms for interactive use of archive materials. Interns will also have the opportunity to teach unfamiliar and visiting scholars how to use the archives, and to supervise incoming URAPs. Past interns have gone on to receive Haas grants for independent research, apply to Museum and Library studies programs, and developed their applications for graduate school partly based on their work here.

In addition, we will have our Folklore Open House in the first week of November. Watch this space for details! To make sure you don't miss any updates, email, and we will add you to our prospective student mailing list.

July 22, 2013
Archive Summer Hours

We are pleased to announce that the UC Berkeley Folklore Archives are open for the Summer Session D. We will have open hours from 10 am - 12 pm and 2 pm - 5 pm; Monday through Thursday. Hours can also be set up by appointment.


We are also excited to have JoAnn Conrad teaching a Folklore Topics Course entitled 'Monsters: Theory, History, and Public Perception', for the six weeks of Session D. JoAnn Conrad teaches folklore at UCBerkeley, and at CSUEast Bay (teaching the core Folklore course as well as courses in folk belief). Her areas of interest include narrative theory, fairy tale, gender, folklore and nationalism, and belief. She has worked in Norway, Finland, Turkey, Kazakhstan, the Soviet Union, and in the United States. She is a frequent contributor to Marvels & Tales, Enzyklopädie des Märchens, Fabula, and most recently has contributed to the Greenwood Encyclopedia of Folktale and Fairytale. Her current research involves the mapping of the imaginary national space, and also the intersection of medical practice, saints' legends, and fairy tales in early modernity.

April 21, 2013
Talk by Tim Tangherlini in Spring 2013

UC Berkeley Folklore presents

A Folklore Roundtable Lecture

Witchhunter: Computational Tools for a Folkloric Macroscope


Timothy R. Tangherlini

Wednesday, May 1

4 pm

Gifford Room (221 Kroeber)

Reception will follow

This talk will explore some of the tools that might be deployed in the hypothesized “Folklore Macroscope”. The macroscope provides “a ‘vision of the whole,’ helping us ‘synthesize’ the related elements and detect patterns, trends, and outliers while granting access to myriad details. Rather than make things larger or smaller, macroscopes let us observe what is at once too great, slow, or complex for the human eye and mind to notice and comprehend” (Börner 2011). This talk presents various tools, such as networked based classifiers, geosemantic browsing, and topic modeling as possible “plugins” for building a folklore macroscope.

Timothy R. Tangherlini teaches folklore, literature and cultural studies at the University of California, Los Angeles, where he is a professor in the Scandinavian Section, and the Department of Asian Languages and Cultures. He is also an affiliate of the Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, the Religious Studies Program, and a faculty member in the Center for Korean Studies and the Center for European and Eurasian Studies. He has published widely on folk narrative, legend, popular culture, and critical geography. His main geographic areas of interest are the Nordic region (particularly Denmark and Iceland), the United States, and Korea. He is the author of Interpreting Legend: Danish Storytellers and their Repertoires (1994), Talking Trauma. Paramedics and Their Stories (1998), and the co-editor of Nationalism and the Construction of Korean Identity (1999), and Sitings. Critical Approaches to Korean Geography (2008). He has also produced or co-produced two documentary films, Talking Trauma: Storytelling Among Paramedics (1994) and Our Nation. A Korean Punk Rock Community (2002).

Sponsored by UC Berkeley Folklore Program, The Townsend Center for the Humanities, and Graduate Assembly. For more info, visit For special seating, contact

November 29, 2012
Hours by appointment during Reading week

The Archive will not open for regular hours during the week of Dec 3-7. If you want to come in and see the collections, set up an appointment with the Archivist by emailing

November 6, 2012
Premiere Film Screening of 'The Story of Por Por', featuring filmmaker Steven Feld, on 11/07/12

Berkeley Folklore Roundtable presents

The Premiere Screening of

The Story of Por Por

(60 minutes, 2012)

A film by Nii Yemo Nunu and Steven Feld

Followed by a Q and A with Steven Feld

Wednesday, Nov 7, 2012

5:00 pm

125 Morrison

Reception to follow

Drawing on their work with Accra’s La Township Driver’s Union from 2005-2010, Nunu and Feld’s film chronicles Ghana’s intertwined histories of colonial-era lorry driving and the invention of Por Por, a music for squeeze-bulb truck horns played uniquely for union driver funerals. Nunu and Feld’s previous work together includes the CD, Por Por: Honk Horn Music of Ghana, produced for Smithsonian Folkways Recording in 2007 as a Fiftieth Independence Anniversary gift to Ghana, and the film A Por Por Funeral for Ashirifie, recipient of the Prix Bartók at the Paris International Festival Jean Rouch in 2010.

Steven Feld is a musician, filmmaker, Distinguished Professor of Anthropology and Music at the University of New Mexico, and a Visiting Professor in the Department of Anthropology and Folklore Program at UC Berkeley this semester. In 2012, Duke University Press published his Jazz Cosmopolitanism in Accra: Five Musical Years in Ghana, originally the 2009 Bloch Lectures in Music at Berkeley, and a thirtieth anniversary third edition of Sound and Sentiment: Birds, Weeping, Poetics, and Song, in Kaluli Expression.

Co-sponsored by: The Berkeley Folklore Program, Department of Anthropology, Center for African Studies, Department of Music, Graduate Assembly, and the Townsend Center for the Humanities.

This event is open to the public. For information on special seating, please contact

October 8, 2012
Save the Date! Folklore Open House for Prospective Students and Roundtable featuring Steven Feld: November 7, 2012

Our Annual Open House for prospective students will take place on November 7th, 2012.

The tentative schedule for the day is as follows:

9:00 am: meeting with Professor Charles Briggs (Folklore Chair), and the current Folklore students

11:00 am - 2:00 pm: ANTH262: Theories of Traditionality and Modernity (co-taught by Profs. Charles Briggs and Steven Feld)

2:00 - 3:00 pm: lunch with Folklore students

3:00 - 5:00 pm: afternoon meetings with faculty of your choice
Please Note: We cannot guarantee that all faculty members will be available during this time. We encourage you to make appointments in advance with any faculty you would like to meet with and plan your trip accordingly. A list of folklore-affiliated faculty can be found on our website.

5:00 pm: the day will end with a

Folklore Roundtable film screening

The Story of Por Por

A film by Nii Yemo Nunu & Steven Feld

65 minutes, 2012, VoxLox

Ghanaian photographer Nunu and filmmaker-anthropologist Feld worked
collaboratively with elder members of the La Drivers Union of Accra from
2005-2010. Their film chronicles Ghana's intertwined histories of late
colonial-era driving and the invention of por por, a truck horn music
played uniquely for union driver funerals.

The film will be followed by a brief Q andf A with filmmaker Steven Feld, and a wine-and-cheese reception.

If you are interested in attending the Folklore Open House, please contact the Archivist at, and she will keep you posted with updates. The Open House requires RSVP. The film screening is open to the public.


September 21, 2012
Week of 10/01-10/07: Archive hours by appointment only

The Archive will not open during regular hours for the week of October 1st. To set up a time by appointment, please email the archivist at Thank you for bearing with us.

September 21, 2012
Annual Alan Dundes Lecture featuring Veena Das

Berkeley Folklore is pleased to present

the Annual

Alan Dundes Lecture

Time, Emotion, and the Poetic Voice


Veena Das
Krieger-Eisenhower Professor and Director of Graduate Studies,

Department of Anthropology, Johns Hopkins University

Thursday, September 27, 2012

5:00 pm

Gifford Room, Kroeber 221
Reception to follow

“In one of those provocative statements that made Alan Dundes famous for pushing the field of folklore beyond its accepted boundaries, he stated: “I suggest that folklorists once having admitted intellectually that legends contain fantasy proceed to dismiss this fact, blithely ignoring the total range of academic scholarship specifically concerned with the study of human fantasy.” Although Dundes had in mind the opening of folklore studies to psychoanalytic theory, while I take this paper in a different direction I am fascinated by his comments on the function of time in creating nearness and distance. In my lecture I will take two examples from Dhwani theorists of Indian aesthetics to consider how the poetic voice functions to create the experience of closeness or distance and thus to navigate the contradictory swirl of emotions to suggest affects that exceed meaning. I will then track how these complex philosophical notions about time and emotion are dispersed in everyday life. I return to the question of fantasy but now see it as shaping the textures and contours of everyday life giving temporal depth to relationships, moving along with habits and repetitions that are also the features of everyday life. Thus fantasy is not set apart from everyday life but shadows everything that we posit reality to be." - Veena Das

Veena Das is the Krieger-Eisenhower Professor and Director of Graduate Studies in Anthropology at Johns Hopkins University. She is the author of Life and Words: Violence and the Descent into the Ordinary and Structure and Cognition: Aspects of Hindu Caste and Ritual. The abiding concerns of her research have been to understand the working of long time cultural logics in contemporary events as well as moments of rupture and recovery. In recent years she has worked intensively on questions of violence, social suffering and subjectivity, tracing  intricate relations between biography, autobiography and ethnography.


Sponsored by: Berkeley Folklore Program, Graduate Assembly and the Institute for International Studies.

For information on accessibility and special seating, please contact

September 13, 2012
Folklore Roundtable Lecture: Kathleen Stewart

Please join us for a

Folklore Roundtable Lecture

Worldings: Atmospheres, Refrains, Rhythms, Energetics…


Kathleen C. Stewart
Chair, Department of Anthropology, UT Austin

September 18, 2012
5:00 pm
Gifford Room, Kroeber 221
Reception to follow

"This talk gives an overview of a book project on worldings. It begins with the ethnographic proliferation of little worlds of all kinds in the United States, ranging from the tiny and temporary to the earth shatteringly complete. I approach these worlds as ways of living out a present that this both charged by forces of all kinds and continuously tipping into and out of emergent forms. Rather than attempt to make neat causal arguments, I try to approach worldings by opening a conceptual space around atmospheres, refrains, rhythms, registers, sensory attunements, tactile compositions, labors, energetics and the constitution of a life. I take these spaces to be angles on the prismatic structure of things that throw themselves together, spread or contract, and have durations, speeds and compositional excesses or weaknesses. Such concepts are also ways of approaching the dual phenomenal character of things that are strangely hard-wired but also radically partial, singular and shifting. Worldings are the kind of anthropological object that prompt engaged response.
" - Kathleen Stewart

Kathleen Stewart writes and teaches on affect, the ordinary, the senses, and modes of ethnographic engagement based on curiosity and attachment. Her first book, A Space on the Side of the Road: Cultural Poetics in an `Other' America (Princeton University Press, 1996) portrays a dense and textured layering of sense and form laid down in social use. Ordinary Affects (Duke University Press, 2007) maps the force, or affects, of encounters, desires, bodily states, dream worlds, and modes of attention and distraction in the composition and suffering of present moments lived as immanent events. Her current project, Atmospheric Attunements, tries to approach ways of collective living through or sensing out an attunement that is also a worlding.

Sponsored by: Townsend Center for the Humanities, Graduate Assembly, The Folklore Program and the Department of Anthropology.

For information on accessibility and special seating, please contact

April 23, 2012
Spring 2012 Conference: Towards an Ethnography of Mediatization

27 April 2012

Geballe Family Room (220 Stephens Hall)

Townsend Center for the Humanities

We live today in a world of mediatized objects, composite figures whose materialities are shaped through reflexive interactions between media ideologies and practices of engagement that take place in a host of sites, many located beyond "the media." So when does mediatization begin? If we think beyond an anthropology of the media to examine ethnographically the social lives of mediatized objects, how might we trace these trajectories of circulating mediatizations? A multidisciplinary group of panelists will address these questions by examining mediatized objects drawn from journalistic, religious, medical, and museum domains.

Conference Schedule:

9:00 am

Charles L. Briggs (UC Berkeley)

Introduction: Toward Ethnographies of Mediatization

9:15 am

Charles Hirschkind (UC Berkeley)

Media, Mediation, Religion

10:15 am

Deniz Göktürk (UC Berkeley)

Memory Sites of Migration: Moving Containers, Transient Archives

11:15 am

Coffee break (served in the Seminar Room)

11:30 am

Cecilia Rivas (UC Santa Cruz)

Achievement and Migration: Definitions of Salvadoran Success from National Media to the Diaspora

12:30 pm

lunch (provided; served in the Seminar Room)

1:30 pm

Charles L. Briggs (UC Berkeley)

Daniel C. Hallin (UC San Diego)

Clara Mantini-Briggs (UC Berkeley)

Bio-Mediatization: Constructing “the Media,” Making Pandemics

2:30 pm

Robert Glenn Howard (U Wisconsin, Madison)

VAXNet: Network Graphing the Vernacular Mediatization of Vaccines

3:30-3:45 pm

Coffee break (served in the Seminar Room)

3:45-4:45 pm

Dominic Boyer (Rice University)

Click and Spin: Aggregation and expertise in online news

4:45-5:45 pm

General discussion

5:45-7:00 pm

Reception (in the Seminar Room)


April 18, 2012
Welcome Steven Feld to Folklore Program for Fall 2012!

The Folklore Program is delighted to welcome Professor Steven Feld to the Folklore Program for Fall 2012. Professor Steven Feld is Distinguished Professor of Anthropology and Music (Ethnology) at the University of New Mexico. His work has been highly influential in areas and topics spanning: Cultural poetics and politics; aesthetics, sound, senses and media; world music; globalization, cosmopolitanisms and modernities; place; Papua New Guinea, and West Africa.

Professor Feld will teach a semina in the Anthropologies of Sound and Music (Anthropology 189) and co-teach the core Folklore seminar (Folklore C262A) with Professor Briggs, with a particular emphasis on circulations.

More info about these courses and other Folklore courses for Fall 2012 can be found in our course listings

March 22, 2012
Alan Dundes Lecture - Memory, Taboo, and National Calamities: 9-11 from an African Perspective: by Kwesi Yankah

Please join the Folklore Program for our annual Alan Dundes Lecture:

Memory, Taboo, and National Calamities: 9-11 from an African Perspective


Friday, April 6, 2012 4:00pm-6pm

Sutardja Dai Hall, Room 250

Lecture with reception to follow

In his talk, Kwesi Yankah, linguist and folklorist, uses the tragedy of 9-11 as a frame of reference to examine differential attitudes to national calamities and commemorative sites. His paper revolves on the integration of verbal taboos and unmentionable calamities within judicial systems in parts of Africa, and emergent dilemmas within the contemporary nation state. The situation is compounded by intrusive norms of the global media that confront customary lore in Africa.

Kwesi Yankah is Professor of Linguistics at the University of Ghana, and until last August, the Pro-Vice Chancellor, for Academic and Student Affairs at the University. Other positions he occupied in his long career at the University of Ghana include, Head of Linguistics, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Dean of Students.

He was educated at both University of Ghana and Indiana University, where he earned his PhD in Folklore. His groundbreaking work on the proverb at Indiana earned him the Esther Kinsley award for outstanding doctoral dissertation in 1985, the first non-American to win the award. Since then he has published widely in various international journals, and has written two well-known books: Speaking for the Chief: Okyeame and the Politics of Royal Oratory, published by Indiana University Press, and The Proverb in the Context of Akan Rhetoric, whose second edition was just released by the Africa Diasporic Press of New York. These two books are widely read in universities worldwide. He also co-edited the much-acclaimed Encyclopedia of African Folklore, published by Routledge.  Kwesi Yankah is currently working on a book project with University of Michigan Press on Language, Culture and Democracy.

Yankah has been guest lecturer in several universities in US, Europe, and Africa, and has held fellowships and visiting professorships at several universities including Stanford University, University of Pennsylvania, University of Michigan, and is currently visiting professor at the Anthropology Department, here at Berkeley. For next year, he has been invited to fellowship at the Institute of Advanced Studies in Berlin, Germany.

Sponsored by: The Folklore Program, Graduate Assembly, the Center for African Studies, and African American Studies

March 16, 2012
Roundtable Lecture: John Lindow : Viewing Nordic Pre-Christian Religions from 21st-Century Perspectives

Please join the Folklore Program for a Folklore Roundtable

Viewing Nordic Pre-Christian Religions from 21st-Century Perspectives
Friday, March 16, 2012 4:00pm-6pm
Gifford Room, Kroeber 221

Reception to Follow

This lecture treats some of the theoretical and methodological issues facing an international effort to produce a new scholarly treatment of Nordic pre-Christian religion, replacing the standard handbooks, of which the most complete is now more than seventy years old. This older scholarship was essentially philological in nature, but we now recognize that only an interdisciplinary approach will serve, one that links the textual traditions to the material world in time and space, accepts the plurality of the record, and brings to bear the theoretical insights of several disciplines, even when they may conflict.

John Lindow is Professor in the Department of Scandinavian and a member of the Graduate Group in Folklore at UC Berkeley. His research and teaching focus on medieval Scandinavian textual traditions and on more recent folklore of the Nordic region, from Greenland to Karelia. He has treated Scandinavian mythology and early religion in three books: Scandinavian Mythology: An Annotated Bibliography (1988), Death and Vengeance among the Gods: Baldr in Scandinavian Mythology (1997), and Handbook of Norse Mythology (2001). Among his other books are Comitatus, Individual and Honor (1975), Swedish Legends and Folktales (1977), and, with Carol J. Clover and others, Old Norse-Icelandic Literature: A Critical Guide (1985; reprint 2005). With Carl Lindahl and John McNamara, he is co-editor of the Encyclopedia of Medieval Folklore (2000).

Sponsored by: The Folklore Program, Graduate Assembly and Townsend Center for the Humanities


February 16, 2012
Aaron Fox—Native American music repatriation: Colloquia of the Musicologies

The U.C. Berkeley Folklore Program is pleased to invite you to a talk co-sponsored with the Music Department:

Aaron Fox—Native American music repatriation: Colloquia of the Musicologies

Performing Arts - Music: Colloquium: MUSIC DEPARTMENT event | March 2 | 4:40-6 p.m. | 128 Morrison Hall

Sponsors: Department of Music, Folklore Program

Aaron Fox (Columbia University) will talk about his work on Native American music repatriation in Alaska and Arizona and related non-Native American community-based projects in Appalachia.

His talk is titled "Repatriating Laura Boulton's 1946 Iñupiaq Recordings: A Report from Alaska" and the photos are of the Tagiugmiut Dancers, a group formed to perform the repatriated collection (made up of young descendants of the primary singers on the recordings). The second photograph is a detail of their regalia. Photographs by Aaron Fox.

An ethnomusicology event in the Colloquia of the Musicologies
Tickets not required

Refreshments: Reception follows

Event Contact: 510-642-2678

October 19, 2011
Folklore Program Welcomes Kwesi Yankah, Visiting Professor for Spring 2012

Dr. Kwesi Yankah is the leading folklorist in and of Africa. His books on proverbs and on the okyeame
or "chief's spokesperson" in Ghana are two of the most widely cited sources on African folklore, and
he is the co-editor of African Folklore: An Encyclopedia. He received graduate degrees from both the
University of Ghana (M.A.) and Indiana University (M.A. and Ph.D.). Professor of Linguistics at the
University of Ghana, he has served as the Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Pro-Vice Chancellor.

July 12, 2011
Visionary Culture in Transnational Perspective: The Lady of All Nations

Please join the Folklore Program for a Folklore Roundtable

Visionary Culture in Transnational Perspective: The Lady of All Nations
Wednesday, August 31, 2011 4:30pm-6pm
Gifford Room, Kroeber 221
Reception to Follow

Visionary and apparitional culture has become a major religious force all around the globe. The visions and messages not only create a grassroots traditionalist and conservative religious movement, the alleged apparitional interventions of Mary and Christ are also interpreted as being of a highly systematic character and part of a supernaturally determined plan. For this reason and because of the content of the messages this culture has become more and more adapted to various apocalyptic and end-time narratives and groups. The highly controversial transnational devotion of the Lady of All Nations, based on a long series of Marian apparitions and messages in Amsterdam and professed to be the last phase within the modern Marian era, is subject to such appropriation processes. As a consequence an apparitional war started among the different cultus leaders and groups of devotees, dispersed over different countries. The main discord emerged however between the original apparitional site in Amsterdam and the village Lac-Etchemin in Canada, where the local visionary, supported by her Army of Mary, professed to be the living reincarnation of the Virgin Mary herself in order to underpin her salvational claims and reject the Amsterdam assertion.

Peter Jan Margry is an ethnologist. He studied history at the University of Amsterdam, and was awarded his PhD by the University of Tilburg (2000) for his dissertation on the religious culture war in the nineteenth-century Netherlands. He became director of the Department of Ethnology at the Meertens Institute, a research center of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences in Amsterdam. He is guest-professor Religious Studies at the university of Leuven (Belgium) and Executive Vice-President of the International Society for Ethnology and Folklore. As a senior research fellow at the institute, his current focus is on contemporary religious and memorial cultures. He has published many books and articles in these fields, among them a four-volume standard work on the pilgrimage culture in the Netherlands. He coedited (with H. Roodenburg) Reframing Dutch Culture. Between Otherness and Authenticity (Ashgate, 2007). In 2008, he published the edited volume Shrines and Pilgrimage in the Modern World: New Itineraries into the Sacred (Amsterdam University Press); in 2011 the coedited (with C. Sánchez-Carretero) the volume Grassroots Memorials. The Politics of Memorializing Traumatic Death (Berghahn).

Sponsored by: The Folklore Program, Graduate Assembly and Townsend Center for the Humanities

July 1, 2011
Applications for Folklore Program

Please note: the deadline for applying to the Master's in Folklore is DECEMBER 15, 2011. It is not December first as listed on the Graduate Division website.

August 27, 2009
Designated Emphasis in Folklore Students receiving degrees from other departments may now declare a designated emphasis in Folklore Studies. The designated emphasis is designed to complement core PhD programs and provides exciting opportunities for interdisciplinary study and cross-collaboration. 

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