With the spring making slow progress, the preparations for the Folklore Fellows’ Summer School 1993 are accelerating. The participants on the course have been elected and are gradually starting to orientate towards work in the groups.
The process of reviewing the applications was far from easy. We received 122 applications from 39 countries on 5 continents. We were especially delighted by the extensive interest shown by the developing countries and the countries of Eastern Europe, where the problems to be discussed during the course are a vital part of the cultural reality. The applicants ranged from students to fully qualified and renowned folklore scholars.
The 30 participants come from 16 countries and they were selected on the basis of their applications, within the framework of a regional quota that guaranteed equal representation of the major culture areas. We also paid special attention to matching the participants’ special interests to the themes for group work. The fifth group still untitled in the last issue will be led by Charles Briggs and Lauri Harvilahti and deal with problems of textualization and national identity.
The lectures to be given in the FFSS form sets under the rubrics of Tradition and Renewal (Lauri Honko, Anna-Leena Siikala), Folklore, Discourse and Genre (Galit Hasan-Rokem, Annikki Kaivola-Bregenhøj), Folklore Scholarship (Satu Apo, Jawaharlal Handoo), Folklore Work in the Developing Countries (Jawaharlal Handoo, Lauri Honko), Ethics and Politics in Tradition Research (Barbara Babcock, Barbro Klein), Gender Studies (Barbara Babcock, Aili Nenola), Performance and Meaning (Charles Briggs, Galit Hasan-Rokem), Processes of Textualization (Charles Briggs, Lauri Harvilahti), and Identity and Folklore (Lauri Honko, Anna-Leena Siikala). Plenary discussions will be held on the methodological problems of AV-technique and computerization, the use of AV-technique in folklore research, and the establishment of a tradition archive.
The Folklore Fellows’ Summer School is an arena for folklore scholars and students from all over the world. The academic dialogue will be both enriched and restricted by the heterogeneity of the participants’ cultural and academic backgrounds.
Regionality and internationality as well as consensus and the confrontation of values are attributes of our academic culture, not only of the cultures that we study. As a culture of its own, folklore scholarship is both thematically and topologically organized. True international dialogue can only begin when all parties have found a voice of their own. The geopolitical currents of folklore research are of the utmost importance in a discipline that has traditionally constituted its object of study by looking at the Other, the culturally distant or peripheral. By the turn of the century, we will no doubt find new centers, frontiers and peripheries in the folkloristic field. What is the standing of the classical homestead of historical folkloristics, the Nordic countries? How is an East-European folkloristics going to take shape, and how will it relate to the scholarly traditions of Central Europe? Is the future of academic Europe that of unification or that of polarization? Will a new dialogue emerge between the current centers, Europe and America? Or is the center of Europe getting decentralized? How to empower the folklore scholarship of the developing countries to find their own identities and centers? These are just a few of the questions to be asked at the FFSS.
To focalize these dilemmas and to make them an asset, the FFSS has decided to organize another form of group work to complement the work done in the five thematical groups. Each participant will take part in a series of discussions on regionally specific problems in the theory and praxis of folklore research. The regional colloquia will give the participants an opportunity to exchange views with those from other thematical groups. After the initial session, which is chaired by one of the teachers, the participants will be expected to organize themselves and prepare a report on their discussions for the final discussion in the plenary. The plenary lectures will support the regional colloquia by touching upon the same problems of the social, political and geographical construction of a discipline.
We welcome the participants elected and thank all those who applied for the course. FF Network will keep you informed on the Summer School this year and in the years to come.
(FFN 6, March 1993: 3)