This issue is larger than usual. It has been decided to add a section for reviews. The scholarly world is sometimes slow to respond to books sent for review, and the policies of various journals vary, so we cannot be sure where and when the first reviews of a new FFC volume, for example, will appear. It seems better to be self-reliant and provide at least one review of each volume within a reasonable time. The most recent volume plus three earlier ones could be reviewed in the present issue, thanks to Finnish colleagues who helped at short notice. More reviews have been promised for the next issue. We hope that Folklore Fellows abroad will join the expanding circle of reviewers. If you are interested in writing a review, please send the editor a letter or fax, and you will be informed about our deadlines. We will also work backwards and try to cover the books we have published during the past few years.
It is not only the FFC we want our readers to notice. Another interesting category is books which are valuable but not easily available to the international readership because of language, place of publication or for some other reason. Such works behind barriers are welcome for presentation provided that their content is in line with folkloristic interests. For example, our special networks (FF in Oral Epics, FF in Gender Studies) mark certain areas as particularly welcome to our review activities. The reviewer will get an FFC volume of her/his choice as small thanks for the contribution. Needless to say, the reviews can be critical. Should a debate ensue, we are prepared to provide space for that, too.
In this issue we will launch a new special network on the topic of research ethics. I am pleased to announce that Prof. Dr. Ulrich Marzolph, Göttingen, Germany, has promised to act as contact person and coordinator. The initiative taken by him is particularly welcome because research ethics is widely debated in many countries, and even formal bodies of judicial action have been created, e.g. in Finland. Folkloristics, ethnography and anthropology should be exemplary in showing sensitivity for the proper presentation of the Other, not as a heuristic integer, but as a living human being and rightful owner of culture. Rules concerning fieldwork, archiving, editing and publication must be spelled out in order to guarantee that we are not subduing the voice we want to present. Laws of copyright must be amended to cover oral works as well, and the rights and duties of informants (co-researchers), scholars and the institutions preserving the materials must be defined. During the 1980s I had the opportunity to work at Unesco with two documents mentioned by Professor Marzolph. The field is by no means untouched, and both theoretical and practical problems abound. Yet the time is ripe to continue the work in this field and draw upon the vast international experience of Folklore Fellows. Creating a bibliography of relevant publications, perhaps reviewing the most important and recent ones, and organizing fora for debate are just the first steps on the road toward the goal, a unified “FF Code of Ethics”.
The new home for the editing of the FF Communications, FF Network and several books to be published, some elsewhere, will be the Kalevala Institute to be formally inaugurated on March 9, 1998. Those who have visited NIF in Turku will find the Institute partly in the same premises, Hämeenkatu 2 A 11 and 12 (5th floor). We have reserved a guest room and working space for colleagues visiting us. An audiovisual laboratory and archive are housed in the Fennicum building of Turku University, at Henrikinkatu 3. Our next issue will describe the Kalevala Institute and its projects in more detail.
One line of editing is dedicated to oral epics. There will be several volumes from this area in the FFC during 1998. The activities of the FF in Oral Epics are being transformed into books. The first one recently appeared in Oral Tradition. Those who participated in the sessions of the Panel on Oral and Semiliterary Epics at the ISFNR Congress in Mysore, January 1995, may be interested to know that the final editing and page-making of the proceedings has been transferred from Mysore to Turku and that they may expect to read the proofs in January or February 1998. The book will be called The Epic: Oral and Written, edited by Lauri Honko, John Miles Foley and Jawaharlal Handoo, and the publisher will be the Central Institute of Indian Languages, Mysore. Another book in the making stems from the Turku conference on Textualization of Oral Epics in June 1996. The participants have already responded to editorial requests and the final editing is in progress. The publisher will be found during the spring.
The year 1999 will be the 150th anniversary of the New Kalevala. The Kalevala Institute will be organizing a conference and workshop on “The Kalevala and the World’s Traditional Epics” in Turku in August, in conjunction with the 5th Folklore Fellows’ Summer School, arranged by the folklore departments of the universities in Finland. The theoretical thread combining the two events consists of a reassessment of our concept of variation in folklore and the role of “thick” materials, exemplified through several field projects.
(FFN 14, December 1997: 1, 10)