Call for Papers: The Folklore Society’s AGM Conference 2017

The Folklore Society’s AGM conference 2017, jointly hosted with Traditional Arts and Culture Scotland, and Celtic and Scottish Studies, University of Edinburgh.

Friday 31 March – Sunday 2 April 2017
Scottish Storytelling Centre

Keynote Speaker: Professor Margaret Bennett, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland
This annual conference will focus on beliefs, practices, expressive and material culture related to the cycle of life from a historical and contemporary perspective.

Call for Papers

Submissions are invited for papers that explore a range of issues connected with the cycle of life.

Proposals of 250–300 words are invited for presentations of 20 minutes.

Proposals with ‘AGM Conference 2017’ in the subject line should be sent as a Word attachment to and copied to with the following:

  1. Title
  2. Author(s)
  3. Affiliation(s)
  4. Email and postal address for contact

All proposals will be peer reviewed and presenters will be notified within three weeks of the deadline.

The deadline for proposals is 5 January 2017

Contributions are invited from scholars across the fields of folklore studies, anthropology, cultural studies, ethnology and other related disciplines. This conference takes place alongside the AGM of the Folklore Society and members and non-members are warmly encouraged to contribute. Themes for discussion might include but are not limited to:

  • Cultural and behavioural change and its effect on historical and contemporary practices.
  • The effect of commercialisation of birth, marriage, death, etc.
  • The impact of changing societal attitudes and consequent legislation.
  • The influences of mass media, social networking and new media.
  • The role of the individual, the group, and/or the community in dynamic contexts.
  • The interplay between traditional beliefs/practices and the findings of medical science.
  • Expressions of intercultural and interfaith relations in the modern world.
  • The significance of expressive culture in respect of verbal forms, including narratives, songs, vernacular poetry, epitaphs, proverbs, verbal play, memorial websites, etc.

When the Folklore Society was founded in 1878, its original remit included the study of vernacular customs related to birth, marriage and death. In fact, the first monograph it published, Walter Gregor’s The Folk-Lore of North-East Scotland (1881), opens with a chapter on ‘Birth’ and several subsequent chapters relate directly to other significant life stages. Gregor was mindful of the dynamic nature of such vernacular cultural tradition, particularly in respect of their loss. Modern folkloristics takes a more pragmatic stance, interpreting such change in terms of resilience, hybridisation, acculturation, displacement, innovation and creativity. The breadth of life cycle studies embraces rites of passage, as conceived by the French ethnographer Arnold van Gennep (1909), and here, for example, research includes studies of traditionary behaviour associated with starting and leaving school/college, a particular occupation/vocation, recreation/sport and retirement.

Furhter enquiries – email

Image: A Prenuptial Blackening at Alford, Aberdeenshire, 22 July 2006. Photo by Ian Russell