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Archive: October 2023 (10 Posts)

Ivan Castillo serving food and smiling at the camera at the Project Neutral Grounds Launch in New Orleans in November 2022

2023 Homegrown Foodways Film Series: Baltimore and New Orleans: Bringing Two Cities in Dialogue with Each Other through Mexican Food

Posted by: Michelle Stefano

A guest blog post by Professor Sarah Fouts, University of Maryland, Baltimore County, on this year’s AFC Homegrown Foodways Film Series: Baltimore and New Orleans, which features two films premiering on the Folklife Today blog: El Camino del Pan a Baltimore on Tuesday November 7th @ noon ET; and El Camino del Mole a New Orleans on Tuesday November 14th @ noon ET.

Heather Hodges Headshot

AFC Board of Trustees Names New Chair Heather Hodges

Posted by: Nicole Saylor

Heather Hodges was elected chair of the American Folklife Center Board of Trustees at the fall board meeting September 15, 2023. Lori Pourier, CEO of the First Peoples Fund, was elected vice chair. Heather replaces Amy Kitchener, Executive Director for the Alliance of California Traditional Arts, who served as Board chair from 2019-2023. Heather is the Director of Institutional Advancement at the Historic New Orleans Collection, where she raises awareness and finds resources to support the museum's work. Heather has served on the AFC Board since 2020, and her collaborations with AFC date back to 2017. We are thrilled to have her leading the Board in the lead-up to the 50th anniversary of AFC in 2026. She sat down with me recently to talk about her background and her vision for her new role.

Reproductions of two covers--on the left a stylized woodcut of a woman dancing with the devil, on the right a comic-style cover of a man fleeing from ghosts.

Graphics for Halloween and Dia de Muertos

Posted by: Stephen Winick

In this post, we're providing a Blast from Holidays Past, featuring graphic art that we used in the Halloween and Dia de Muertos exhibit LOC Halloween: Chambers of Mystery. As part of that exhibit, which occurred here at the Library of Congress back in 2017, we presented some spooky covers from the Brazilian chapbook genre known as literatura de cordel, as well as some posters created by Library of Congress artist Joon Yi. See these beautiful examples of graphic arts here in the blog, then follow the link to our updated resource guide to Halloween and Dia de Muertos!

Three young girls in colorful makeup and clothes.

Photos for Dia de los Muertos Newly Online

Posted by: Stephen Winick

For Dia de los Muertos 2023, we thought we'd add some never-before-seen photos to the blog of a classic Dia de los Muertos celebration 24 years ago. These photos were submitted to the American Folklife Center as part of Local Legacies, a collection project undertaken by the American Folklife Center in the late 1990s to help celebrate the Library's Bicentennial in 2000. Members of Congress participated in identifying and documenting traditions. Representative Barbara Lee's team submitted the Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) festival from the Fruitvale neighborhood of Oakland, California. Project documentation in the collection included nine 8 x 10 color photographs, which we're reproducing in this blog.

Shape note singers in Chicago, 1977.

New Research Guide: Shape-Note and Sacred Harp Traditions

Posted by: Douglas D. Peach

The American Folklife Center (AFC) has published a new research guide, highlighting collections materials related to shape-note singing and Sacred Harp traditions in the United States. Read this post by Deena R. Owens, the guide's creator and a former AFC intern, to learn more about the research guide, the shape-note singing tradition, and Owens' experiences with this musical culture.

A painting of a May Day procession including a Jack in the Green

Green Man Connections: Jack in the Green and More

Posted by: Stephen Winick

For many years, people have drawn connections among several figures in traditional art: the traditional English Green Man (a wild man clad in leaves who was part of pageants from the mid-sixteenth century); the drawings and carvings of faces covered in leaves (sometimes also called Green Men but previously known as the Foliate Head); the Jack-in-the-Green of Mayday celebrations; the similar figure known as the Garland; and the popular folk hero Robin Hood. This post looks at the history of these connections, from the late Middle Ages to the twenty-first century, illustrated with pictures of the Foliate Head and Jack-in-the-Green.

Portrait of Beverley Diamond

Botkin Folklife Lecture Premiere: Beverley Diamond

Posted by: Stephen Winick

Welcome to a video premiere in the Benjamin Botkin Folklife Lecture Series! This lecture, Listening to Divergent Histories through Canadian Music, features ethnomusicologist Beverley Diamond, Professor Emerita, Memorial University, St. John's, Newfoundland. Dr. Diamond is a Canadian ethnomusicologist who assumed the Canada Research Chair in Traditional Music at Memorial University in 2002. She has worked extensively with indigenous peoples in North America, Norway and Finland exploring the relationship of music to issues of cultural identity. In this video, Listening to Divergent Histories through Canadian Music, Dr. Diamond reflects on how her approaches to documenting culture have shifted over fifty years, echoing not only changes in the academic realm but changes in her relations with Indigenous and other culturally diverse communities. You’ll find the video embedded in this blog post.

Meet the Inaugural Cohort of Oral Historians for the COVID-19 American History Project

Posted by: Douglas D. Peach

The American Folklife Center (AFC) is proud to announce that Gran Enterprises LLC, Dismantle Culture and Media Alliance LLC, and Nicole Musgrave have been selected as the inaugural cohort of oral historians for the COVID-19 American History Project. Read more about the researchers' work, and the COVID-19 American History Project, in this blog post.

Green Man Connections: The Foliate Head

Posted by: Stephen Winick

In this post about the Green Man, a figure from traditional folk culture, we look at connections between the Wild Man figure known as a Green Man in sixteenth-century England and the Foliate Head, a carved image of a face surrounded by or disgorging leaves. We demonstrate that this connection was made by artists in the Middle Ages and Renaissance before it was suggested by scholars.