The 72nd Annual Western States Folklore Society (WSFS) Meeting: April 19-20, 2013

Location: University of California, San Diego, 9500 Gilman Drive, La Jolla, California, 92093. All conference proceedings will be held in the Cross-Cultural Center in Price Center East on the UCSD campus. Please view the campus map for details.

Conference theme: “Folklore in a Digital Age.”
The conference planners note:

Rather than disappearing, folklore is gaining new significance in the 21st century. Digital technologies, such as the Internet, smart phones, and digital photography, are changing our society and our discipline. Our society in the digital age embodies the global as it reasserts the local. Folklore plays a vital role in this process. Meanwhile, new media are altering the way folklore is performed, collected, and disseminated. This conference seeks to investigate the significance of folklore today by inviting papers on topics such as the role of folklore in the building of transnational communities, the development of cultural revitalization programs, and the emergence of indigenous movements. In addition, we invite papers addressing the impact of digital technologies on folklore, including topics such as digital folklore genres, virtual folklore archives, and intellectual property rights. We also seek papers examining folklore research, ethnography, and theory in a digital age.

Archer Taylor Lecturer: Prof. Carol Silverman, Professor and Department Head, Department of Anthropology, University of Oregon, Eugene, will give deliver the Archer Taylor Memorial Lecture for 2013.

Registration fees: Registration fees for regular members are $45; for non-members $70. Registration fees for student/retired members are $25; for student/ retired non-members $40. Registration checks should be sent to: Western States Folklore Society (WSFS), P.O. Box 3557, Long Beach CA 90803-0557.

Traditional Artist Spotlight: Michael Johnson

Umatilla Cornhusk False Embroidery

Sanna Parikka, OFN Intern

Artist Michael Johnson and his Apprentice Melinda Broncheau from the Confererated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation practice traditional cornhusk twining, creating unique cornhusk hats, baskets, and bags. Johnson’s art combines traditional twining techniques and designs with modern materials, including wool-based yarns. He learned this traditional art form from various elders who all have inspired him to pass the tradition on. The craft is called “false embroidery” due to the special technique of tying the husk ends.

For his apprenticeship, Johnson taught the intricate method of twining a traditional cornhusk hat. The creation of the hat included numerous steps from the design and twining of the base and the bear pattern to the finishing touches of decorative pearls and feathers, inside lining, and buck skin edging. The twining is the most tedious part of the process. It can take up to one hour for an experienced cornhusk twiner to finish just one row of a larger piece – working two to three hours per day, it took Melinda Broncheau nearly 70 days to complete the hat.

Cornhusk hats are often used in ceremonial namings, food gatherings, and traditional dancing. This particular hat will be a gift to Melinda Broncheau’s daughter.

All Aboard: Railroading and Portland’s Black Community: Exhibit, Programs, and Events at the Oregon Historical Society

This new exhibit and accompanying programs will focus on the work and lives of African American railroad workers in Portland in the 1800s to 1940s and the community that grew up around Union Station during that period. Content will include the evolution of work for blacks on the railroads and in black-owned businesses in Old Town, the context of this time period in Oregon’s racial history, the stories of the railroad workers and porters, and how their lives and communities were shaped by their work.
-From www.ohs.org

The exhibit will run until April 21st, with two panel remaining Panel Discussions on Sunday, February 10th, and Sunday, March 10th.

Click here for more details.