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Richard M. Dorson Memorial Folklore Lecture

Join us for the Richard M. Dorson Memorial Folklore Lecture. This year's lecturer is Carl Lindahl.

"The Fieldwork Contract, the Involuntary Frame, and the Voice beyond Me"

A folklore field recording is rarely better than the relationship between performer and  fieldworker. Institutional assumptions have continually troubled the ties between the two.  With strikingly few exceptions since the eighteenth century, the goal of fieldwork has been expressed, implicitly or directly, as the self-discovery of the ethnographer rather than as an understanding of the people whose lives we are charged to represent. Narratives shared by survivors of Hurricane Katrina and the Great East Japan Earthquake reveal ways in which ethnographers’ self-absorption undercuts our attempts to understand others. Fieldwork experiences from Appalachia and Cajun Louisiana suggest that the most successful folklore fieldwork lies in recognizing, entering, and testing the involuntary social frames that create and demarcate folk communities.

A folklore field recording is rarely better than the relationship between performer and  fieldworker. Institutional assumptions have continually troubled the ties between the two.  With strikingly few exceptions since the eighteenth century, the goal of fieldwork has been expressed, implicitly or directly, as the self-discovery of the ethnographer rather than as an understanding of the people whose lives we are charged to represent. Narratives shared by survivors of Hurricane Katrina and the Great East Japan Earthquake reveal ways in which ethnographers’ self-absorption undercuts our attempts to understand others. Fieldwork experiences from Appalachia and Cajun Louisiana suggest that the most successful folklore fieldwork lies in recognizing, entering, and testing the involuntary social frames that create and demarcate folk communities.

A light reception will follow the lecture.

Carl Lindahl is the Martha Gano Houston Research Professor at the Department of English at the University of Houston. He is also the Director of the Houston Folklore Archive, Co-Director, Surviving Katrina and Rita in Houston, on the International Editorial Board of Fabula: Zeitschrift fur Erzahlforschung, and on the
International Editorial Board of Folklife (Belfast).

Start
Friday March 29, 2013 06:00 PM
End
Friday March 29, 2013 08:00 PM
Location
Performance & Lecture Hall (800 N Indiana Ave)
Contact Email
folkethn@indiana.edu
Cost
Free
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