We have consolidated all of our University news sources into one location called BingUNews. Inside stories published through 2016 will remain available here. Stories published in 2017 and later will be found at BingUNews. Enjoy!
University to host state Folklore Society conference
November 8, 2011Tweet
The “legends and tales” of the Southern Tier and New York state will be in the spotlight when the New York Folklore Society’s Graduate Student Conference is held at Binghamton University on Saturday, Nov. 12.
The conference will include paper presentations from Binghamton graduate students, a reading from English professor Jaimee Wriston Colbert and a keynote address from English professor Elizabeth Tucker. It is free for faculty/staff, students and community members.
“This conference is a recognition of the significant work that is taking place on the subject of legends and tales from both graduate students and established scholars,” Tucker said.
The New York Folklore Society, which was formed in Albany in 1944 by Louis C. Jones and Harold Thompson, fosters the study and promotion of folklore and folklife of the state’s diverse cultures through education, advocacy, support and outreach. Folklore and folklife, according to the society, are “cultural ways in which a group maintains and passes on a shared way of life.”
“Ever since its inception, the New York Folklore Society has had a strong community emphasis,” Tucker said. “It’s meant to honor the traditions of areas and give the folklore back to the people.”
The society holds an annual fall conference and this is the second year it has conducted a graduate student event. (Last year’s conference was at New York University.) It was an easy decision when society Director Ellen McHale asked Tucker if Binghamton University would be interested in hosting this year’s conference.
“I thought it was a great idea,” said Tucker, who has collaborated with McHale on a soon-to-be released book on New York folklife. “My favorite area of scholarship is narrative, especially legends. The range of papers (for the conference) is fairly broad, from witchcraft in Elizabethan days up to the recent circulation of urban legends in folk tales and literatures.”
The conference will take place in AA-G007. The first of the graduate-student sessions (“The Fabled and the Fabulous”) begins at 10 a.m., with the second (“Legendary Transformations”) starting at 11:45 a.m. The latter session features Bambi Lobdell, PhD ’07, who now teaches at SUNY Oneonta. She will discuss “Mythical Elements in the Life and Legend of Lucy Ann/Joseph Israel Lobdell,” a relative who was incarcerated in the Binghamton Asylum in the 19th century. Lobdell’s book on the subject, “A Strange Sort of Being,” was published this year by McFarland & Co.
Tucker’s keynote address, scheduled for 2 p.m., is based on her book “Haunted Southern Tier,” which examines ghost stories and legends of the area, including those that affected local museums, churches and even Binghamton University.
“My presentation will offer the stories that are important to both University and community members here and have been circulating for many years,” she said. “I think it’s appropriate for the conference.”
Colbert will read from her work “Shark Girls” at 3 p.m. It will be followed by the panel discussion “Folklore in Practice: Collecting Narratives After Disaster Strikes.” The panel features Kay Turner from the Brooklyn County Arts Council and Constance Sullivan-Blum from the Arts Council of the Southern Finger Lakes. Turner will discuss the human impact of 9/11, while Sullivan-Blum will examine the effects of Hurricane Agnes and the flood of 1972 on its victims.
“They will interpret the stories of these two very difficult times,” Tucker said.
The conference will conclude with a 6 p.m. performance from Milbre Burch, a Grammy-nominated storyteller who will tell “Folktales About Gender, Identity and Humanity.”
Those interested in attending can register at http://www.nyfolklore.org/progs/conf2011.html or by e-mailing Tucker at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“I hope the conference will result in students, scholars and community members sharing ideas, learning new approaches, discovering new vantage points, questioning some of the established concepts while looking back into the past and looking forward,” Tucker said.