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Benjamin A. Botkin Folklife Lecture Series Online Archive

All of the materials from American Folklife Center lectures are available to visitors in the Folklife Reading Room. Event flyer essays are available for all of the Botkin Lecture Series events listed here. Webcasts are available online unless otherwise noted (only a few webcasts are available prior to the 2006 season). For events that do not have webcasts online, audio or video recordings are available to researchers at the Library of Congress in the Folklife Reading Room. Select on the year of the lectures or speaker's names to read the full descriptions and to access any additional materials that may be available online. For the current schedule of the Botkin Lecture Series, go to the What's Happening at the American Folklife Center page.

2012 Lecture Series

Campus Traditions: Folklore from the Old-Time College to the Modern Mega-University, presented by Simon J. Bronner

Squeeze This! A Cultural History of the Accordion in America, A book talk by Marion Jacobson, July 12, 2012.

"Crafting Change: African American Folk Artists and the Civil Rights Movement," presented by Patricia A. Turner, June 26, 2011.

"Reflections on Memory and History: Collecting New Oral Histories of the Civil Rights Movement for the LOC/Smithsonian NMAAHC," presented by Joe Mosnier (webcast forthcoming).

"My Father, My Partner,"
presented by Nora Guthrie March 29, 2012 (webcast forthcoming).

"Dog Tags: History, Stories & Folklore of Military Identification," a book talk by Ginger Cucolo, January 26, 2012.

2011 Lecture Series

"The New Lost City Ramblers and Folk Music Authenticity," presented by Ray Allen, September 8, 2011. (webcast forthcoming)

"Newslore: Contemporary Folklore on the Internet," presented by Russell Frank, August 10, 2011. (webcast forthcoming)

Decoration Day in the Mountains, presented by Alan Jabbour and Karen Singer Jabbour. July 7, 2011.

"Reclaiming Lost Languages: The Breath of Life Archival Institute for Indigenous Languages," presented by Leanne Hinton. June 16, 2011. (webcast forthcoming)

"The Two Worlds of the Pennsylvania Dutch," presented by Don Yoder, University of Pennsylvania. May 5, 2011.

"Chorus and Verse: The Challenges of Designing the Roud Folk Song Index," presented by Steve Roud. April 14, 2011.

"The Capital Pool Checkers Club: Tradition, Competition, and Community in Washington, DC," presented by ethographic photographer Peggy Fleming with Professor Maurice Jackson and club members Oliver Griffin and Tal Roberts. March 18, 2011.

"Making a Way Out of No Way: Martin Luther King's Use of Proverbs for Civil Rights," presented by Wolfgang Mieder, University of Vermont. February 10, 2011.

Other 2011 Lectures and Related Events Sponsored or Co-Sponsored by AFC

Celebrating Native American Language Revitalization in Film. Presentations and film screenings, June 21, 2011.

"Chaplains: Reflections from the Past," Ross Trower, Linda George, Michael McCoy, Nathan Abramowitz 2011 Veterans History Project presentation (The link goes directly to the webcast. Running time 1:20:34).

2010 Lecture Series

The Makers of the Sacred Harp, presented by David Warren Steel. October 21, 2010.

"Translating Africa in Global Contexts," presented by Lee Haring, September 22, 2010.

"Place and the Politics of Belonging," presented by Debra Lattanzi Shutika, August 12, 2010.

"Cultural Democracy in a Time of Diminished Resources," presented by Bau Graves, July 22, 2010.

Hard Luck Blues: Roots Music Photographs from the Great Depression, book launch with Rich Remsberg. Presented in cooperation with the Center for the Book, Library of Congress. June 2, 2010.

"Folk Music from the Slovak Mountains: Lecture/Demonstration of the Fujara and Other Overtone Flutes," presented by Bob Rychlik. Presented in cooperation with the Music Division, Library of Congress.May 27, 2010.

"Alan Lomax — The Man Who Recorded the World: A Bio-Ethnography," presented by John Szwed, John M. Musser Professor of Anthropology, African American Studies, Music, and American Studies at Yale University. May 5, 2010.

"And Wheat Completed the Cycle": Flour Mills, Social Memory, and Industrial Culture in Sonora, Mexico, presented by Maribel Alvarez, Department of English, University of Arizona. April 21, 2010.

"Folklore and Seeing: Photographs from Cummins Prison, 1915-2010," an illustrated lecture by Bruce Jackson, University at Buffalo. March 25, 2010.

Give My Poor Heart Ease: Voices of the Mississippi Blues, an illustrated lecture by William R. Ferris, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. February 17, 2010.

Additional 2010 Lectures

The following lectures were not part of the Botkin Lecture Series, but were sponsored or co-sponsored by the American Folklife Center in 2010.

Two Lectures Co-Sponsored by the Oral History in the Digital Age Project and the American Folklife Center: "Oral Narratives and Scholarship in the Digital Age," presented by Mark Kornbluh and "Imagining the Futures of the Spoken Word," presented by Douglas W. Oard. November, 2010. (Both lectures are presented in one webcast).

"Sam McGee's Railroad Blues and Other Versions of the Republic," presented by Greil Marcus, cultural critic and pop music scholar. Marcus excavates a few roots of the American Songbook, examining a handful of indelible and idiosyncratic country, religious, or blues songs from the 1920's, and their modern revisions. This was a pre-concert lecture for a performance by the Talich Quartet co-sponsored by the Music Division of the Library of Congress and the American Folklife Center. October 21, 2010 (webcast forthcoming).

"Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month: Leadership to Meet the Challenges of a Changing World," presented by Christopher Yung, Kurt Chew-Een Lee, Peter Young, and John Whang. A presentation honoring Asian and Pacific veterans sponsored by the Veterans History Project, American Folklife Center, June 2010 (the link goes directly to the webcast).

"Arnold Resnicoff on Faith and Foxholes: Religion in the Military," presented by Arnold Resnicoff. Lecture co-sponsored by the African and Middle Eastern Division and the American Folklife Center, May 6, 2010. (The link goes directly to the webcast. Running time 58 minutes.)

"Vanishing Pasts, Ethnographic Presents, and Digital Futures: The Case of the Maasai Audiovisual Archives," presented by Guha Shankar. Co-sponsored by the African and Middle Eastern Division and the American Folklife Center. The lecture describes an international ethnographic documentation training program, with specific examples from a collaborative project jointly produced by the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress, the Maasai Cultural Heritage Foundation, a community-based organization of Maasai people in Laikipia, Kenya, the World Intellectual Property Organization in Switzerland, and Duke University's Center for Documentary Studies. For more information see the web page, Cultural Documentation Matierals and Techniques. Guha Shankar is a folklife specialist at the American Folklife Center. April 7, 2010. The title link goes directly to the webcast. Running time 53 minutes.

See also, the Past Symposia information page for 2010: "Borderlines / Borderlands: Culture and the Canadian-U.S. International Boundary," and "Work and Transformation: Documenting Working Americans."

2009 Lecture Series

“If It Wasn't for the Irish and the Jews: Irish and Jewish Influences on the Music of Vaudeville and Tin Pan Alley,” presented by Mick Moloney. December 1, 2009.

"Hear, O Israel: Yiddish-American Radio 1925-1955," presented by Henry Sapoznik, University of Wisconsin. October 14, 2009.

"Built with Faith: Place Making and the Religious Imagination in Italian New York," presented by Joseph Sciorra, Queens University, City University of New York. September 23, 2009.

"Documenting Katrina and Rita in Houston," presented by Carl Lindahl, University of Houston and Pat Jasper, Austin, Texas, August 13, 2009.

"The High Lonesome Sound Revisited: Documenting Traditional Culture in America," presented by filmmaker John Cohen. June 11, 2009.

"The Sound of Islamic Music: Women's Voices and the Indonesian Religious Soundscape," presented by Anne K. Rasmussen, Associate Professor of Music and Ethnomusicology, College of William and Mary. May 13, 2009. (Webcast forthcoming)

We Had Sneakers, They Had Guns: The Kids Who Fought for Civil Rights in Mississippi, presented by illustrator and journalist Tracy Sugarman. May 15, 2009.

"Warning of Global Warming? Shamanic Tradition, Politics and Ecological Change in Siberia," presented by Marjorie Mandelstam Balzer, Georgetown University. April 30, 2009. (Webcast forthcoming)

"Living and Building between Tradition and Change: Vernacular Architecture in Northern Sweden," Mats Widbom, Cultural Counselor, Embassy of Sweden. March 24, 2009.

"Revolutionaries, Nursery Rhymes, and Edison Wax Cylinders: The Remarkable Tale of the Earliest Korean Sound Recordings," presented by Robert Provine, University of Maryland. January 27, 2009.

Additional 2009 Lectures

The following lectures were not part of the Botkin Lecture Series, but was sponsored by the American Folklife Center in 2009.

"The Evolution of Welsh Music," a lecture illustrated with music examples, presented by Gwilym Morus, December 15, 2009. This lecture was co-sponsored by the Kluge Center and the American Folklife Center. (the link goes directly to the webcast; running time 1:02:15)

"Rock Hall of Fame Guitarist Chris Hillman," 2009 (the link goes directly to the webcast; running time 1:22:26). Chris Hillman discusses his career. Sponsored by the Music Divison and the American Folklife Center.

See also, the Past Symposia information page for a menu of additional symposia and related events for 2009, including "Robert Burns at 250," "Baseball Americana," and "Legends and Legacies."

2008 Lecture Series

"A Bard of Nature’s Making: Robert Burns and Scottish Traditional Culture," presented by Valentina Bold, University of Glasgow. October 21, 2008. (Webcast forthcoming)

"Kunqü: China's First Great Multi-art Theatrical Tradition," presented by Marjory Bong-Ray Liu, Arizona State University. September 4, 2008.

"'Do All Indians Live in Tipis?' and Other Compelling Questions for Education," presented by Edwin Schupman, National Museum of the American Indian. August 5, 2008.

"Old Cultures/New Contexts: Presenting the Traditional Music and Dance of Urban Immigrant Communities," Nancy Groce interviews Ethel Raim of the Center for Traditional Music and Dance. June 20. 2008.

"Seeing Mary: Belief, Politics, and Practice at Marian Apparition Sites," presented by Anne Pryor, Wisconsin Arts Board. June 3, 2008.

"Empires, Multiculturalisms, and Borrowed Heartsongs: What Does It Mean to Sing Russian/Mennonite Songs?" Presented by Jonathan Dueck, Ethnomusicologist, Visiting Assistant Professor, University of Maryland School of Music. May 21, 2008.

"From Oral Tradition to Critical Edition: The James Madison Carpenter Collection of Folk Music and Drama," presented by the James Madison Carpenter Project team: Julia C. Bishop, David Atkinson, Elaine Bradtke, Eddie Cass, Thomas A. McKean, Robert Young Walser, The Elphinstone Institute, University of Aberdeen, UK. April 23, 2008.

“Force and Violins: What the FBI had on Folksingers,” presented by David King Dunaway, Professor of English, University of New Mexico and Professor of Broadcasting, San Francisco State University. March 19, 2008.

Rediscover Northern Ireland Events 2008: Lectures
In 2008 the following lectures are available as webcasts. The lectures were co-sponsored by the American Folklife Center's Benjamin Botkin Lecture Series and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland. The Rediscover Northren Ireland Events 2008 also included a concert by Tommy Sands and family. Follow the above link to the event web page.

"'It's Of My Rambles...' A Journey in the Song Tradition of Ulster," presented by Len Graham, November 6, 2008.

"'I Am a Wee Weaver': Weaving and Singing in Northern Ireland," presented by Maurice Leyden, December 4, 2008.

Additional 2008 Lectures

See also, the Past Symposia information page for 2008: "Art, Culture, and Government: The New Deal at 75."

2007 Lecture Series

"Afghan Women’s Stories: The Problematics of Cover" presented by Margaret Mills, Ohio State University. September 19, 2007.

"Folklore’s Champion: Ben Botkin" presented by Roger D. Abrahams, Hum Rosen Professor of Humanities. Emeritus, at the University of Pennsylvania, August 15, 2007.

"Quilters' Save Our Stories" presented by Bernard Herman, Professor of American Material Culture Studies and Professor of Art History at the University of Delaware. July 24, 2007. (Webcast currently unavailable)

"Down in the Old Belt: Voices from the Tobacco South," a film screening and lecture by documentary film maker Jim Crawford. July 5, 2007. (Flyer essay only. No webcast was made for this film screening)

"All through the North, As I Walked Forth...": Northern Ireland's Place Names, Folklife and Landscape with presentations by Edward Redmond, Kay Muhr, and Henry Glassie. May 16, 2007. (Webcast currently unavailable). Symposium sponsored through the Botkin Lecture Series.

Additional 2007 AFC Lectures

In 2007 the following lectures were not part of The Botkin Lecture Series. These were associated with the Rediscover Northern Ireland Programme 2007. The lecture title link will go directly to the webcast.

"North American Influence on a North Irish Folksong Collection", presented by John Moulden. Part of the Rediscover Northern Ireland Programme 2007. May 2, 2007. Running time 0:59:23

"There's More that Unites Than Divides Us" Spoken and performed by Gary Hastings and Brian Mullen. Part of the Rediscover Northern Ireland Programme 2007. May 29, 2007. Running time 1:29:01

See also, the Past Symposia information page for a menu of additional symposia and related events for 2007, including "Laborlore Conversations IV: Documenting Occupational Folklore Then and Now," the complete presentation of the "Rediscover Northern Ireland Programme," and "How Can I Keep from Singing?: A Seeger Family Tribute."

2006 Lecture Series

"La Quinceañera: A Coming of Age Ritual in Latino Communities," presented by Norma E. Cantú, Professor of English, University of Texas at San Antonio. November 8, 2006.

"The Changing Worlds of the Patuas of West Bengal." Frank Korom, Associate Professor of Religion and Anthropology at Boston University, Wednesday. October 11, 2006.

"What's in a Name?  AIDS, Vernacular Risk Perception and the Culture of Ownership," presented by Diane Goldstein, Professor of Folklore at Memorial University of Newfoundland. October 4, 2006.

"Cowboy Poetry: History, Origins, Influences, Forms." presented by David Stanley, professor of English at Westminster College. September 14, 2006.

"Politics and Poetics: Fieldwork in Afghanistan and Jamaica." presented by Margaret Mills, Professor, Ohio State University Dept of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures and Center for Folklore Studies; and, Kenneth Bilby, Research Associate, Smithsonian Institution Dept of Anthropology. August 3, 2006.

"Not the Same Old (Folk) Song and Dance: Field Recordings in the European Communities of the United States," presented by Matthew Barton, Motion Picture, Broadcasting, and Recorded Sound Division, Library of Congress. July 27, 2006.

"Waking up the People," presented by Linda Goss, professional storyteller, Artist-In-Residence at the Rosenbach Museum, and a featured artist in Philadelphia Folklore Project's Local Knowledge project. June 29, 2006.

"Facing the Music: Traditional Culture and Copyright," Dr. Bryan Bachner, Assistant Director of Legal Research at the Law Library of Congress and chief of the Eastern Law Division. May 31, 2005.

"The Folklore Behind Ecology, or Why Scientists in Ecology Need Help from Folklorists," Dr. Daniel B. Botkin, Professor Emeritus, Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Marine Biology, University of California, Santa Barbara. April 5, 2006.

See also, the Homegrown lecture/concert:"Mister Jelly Roll, Mister Lomax and the Invention of Jazz," presented by writer and jazz scholar John Szwed and pianist Dave Burrell. January 18, 2006.

2005 Lecture Series

Sara M. Davis, a New-York based writer and former researcher in the Asia Division of Human Rights Watch discussed her book, Song & Silence, in which she reveals how Tai Lües are reviving and reinventing their culture in ways that contest the official state version. December 13, 2005. (No webcast available)

"Collecting and Performing Traditional Song in the Republic of Georgia," presented by Malkhaz Erkvanidze Ethnomusicologist, scholar and performer on collecting traditional sacred and secular music in the Republic of Georgia. Members of the Anchiskhati Choir assisted with performances of material he and the members of his ensemble have collected. November 17, 2005.

"The Beautiful Bridge: Crossing The Span Between Oral Tradition and the Written Creative Word," presented by Frank Delaney, author of the New York Times bestseller Ireland: A Novel. Scott Simon, NPR's Peabody-Award-winning correspondent, and host of Weekend Edition Saturday introduced the speaker. October 11, 2005. (No webcast available)

The Beat: Go-Go's Fusion of Funk and Hip-Hop. Ethnomusicologist Kip Lornell discussed the book he coauthored with Charles C. Stephenson Jr. September 28, 2005. (No webcast available)

"Tales of the Jersey Devil" — an Illustrated Lecture presented by Stephen D. Winick, Ph.D., of the American Folklife Center. August 23, 2005. (No webcast available)

"Bridles, Bits and Beads: Folk and Fieldwork from the High, Wide and Handsome State of Montana" — an illustrated lecture presented by Dr. Alexandra Swaney of the Montana Arts Council. July 21, 2005.

"From Virginia to Vermont: a Trek from Slavery to Freedom" — an audio illustrated lecture presented by Jane Beck, Folklorist and Executive Director of the Vermont Folklife Center in Middlebury, Vermont. June 23, 2005. (No webcast available)

"A Conversation with Stetson Kennedy." Kennedy, now 89, talked about his life and work in conversation with Dr. Peggy Bulger, Director of the American Folklife Center. May 24, 2005.

"Music in Bulgaria: Experiencing Music, Expressing Culture" — an illustrated lecture presented by Prof. Timothy Rice, ethnomusicologist, UCLA. March 23, 2005. (No webcast available)

"Between Midnight and Day" — an illustrated lecture presented by Dick Waterman, photographer, agent, manager, and promoter of traditional Blues artists. February 23, 2005. (No webcast available)

See also, the Past Symposia information page for a menu of additional symposia and related events for 2005.

2004 Lecture Series

"From Bridge to Boardwalk, an Audio Journey Across Maryland's Eastern Shore" — an illustrated lecture based on the CD and book of the same title presented by Douglas Manger, folklorist at the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, Tatiana Irvine, independent radio producer, and Elanie Eff, folklorist at the Maryland Historical Trust. October 21, 2004. (No webcast available)

"The Lore of America's Coal Miners: A Fresh Look at the George Korson Collection," presented by Angus Kress Gilespie, Rutgers: The State University of New Jersey. September 20, 2004. (No webcast available)

"From Patent Medicines to Patents for Indigenous Knowledge -- Material and Spiritual Economies" — an illustrated lecture presented by Margaret Kruesi, American Folklife Center. August 31, 2004. (No webcast available)

"Basque Culture in the Western United States," — an illustrated lecture presented by Maria Carmen RA. Gambliel, Director Folk and Traditional Arts Program, Idaho Commission on the Arts. July 16, 2004. (No webcast available)

"Ivan Kupalo: Ritual in Post-Soviet Ukraine" — an illustrated lecture presented by Dr. Natalie Kononenko, Professor of Slavic Languges, Lituratures, and Folklore at the University of Virginia. June 16, 2004. (No webcast available).

"Eight Sounds of Chinese Musicc" presented by Nora Yeh, Ethnomusicologist, American Folklife Center. The lecture was illustrated with sounds and images of Chinese intstruments from 2100 BCE to the present. May 25, 2004. (No webcast available)

"Yodel-Ay-Ee-Ooo: The Secret History of Yodeling Around the World" presented by Bart Plantenga. Featuring yodelers Randy Irwin and Cathy Fink. April 27, 2004. (No webcast available)

"Giving a Voice to Sorrow: Creative Responses to Death" — an illustrated lecture presented by Illana Harlow, of the American Folklife Center. March 23, 2004. (No webcast available)

"Voices from the Days of Slavery: Former Slaves Tell Their Stories" presented by John Barton, American Folklife Center. Februrary 25, 2004. (No webcast available)

"Chinese Folk Art Today," — an illustrated lecture presented by Yong Xianrang, Artist and professer emeritus of the Bejing Central Academy of Fine Arts. January 22, 2004. (No webcast available)

Additional Lectures Available as Webcasts from 2005 and Earlier

2005 Lecture:

"Bringing in the May" presented by Jennifer Cutting, American Folklife Center. This Web cast was created as part of the Library's Journeys and Crossings Series. Jennifer Cutting describes and displays some of the folk traditions surrounding May Day (May 1) in Britain and the United States. May, 1, 2005. Time: 16 minutes. (This video is also available via the Library of Congress You Tube Channel.)

Living Legend Interview:

2003 Interview:

Odetta! An Interview for the American Folklife Center in 2003 Odetta was presented with a Living Legend Award by the Library of Congress. She was interviewed about her remarkable career by AmericanFolklife Center Director Peggy Bulger. Time: 35 minutes.

Witness and Response:

2002 Lectures:

"Pearl Harbor Oral Histories," presented by Ann Hoog, American Folklife Center. This Web cast was created as part of the Library's Journeys and Crossings Series. Ann Hoog discusses After the Day of Infamy: 'Man-on-the-Street' Interviews Following the Attack on Pearl Harbor. June 8, 2002. Time: 8 minutes. (This video is also available via the Library of Congress You Tube Channel.)

Ann Hoog discusses the September 11, 2001 Documentary Project. Forms part of the Witness and Response, September 11, 2001 Acquisitions at the Library of Congress Library of Congress online exhibition. The video is presented on the American Folklife Center's section of the exhibit found at Witness and Response, September 11, 2001: American Folklife Center along with recordings of narratives, photographs of spontaneous memorials, and artwork by children related to the first weeks after September 11, 2001.


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