Dorry Noyes (Ohio State University) makes a point during the
Saturday morning session, "Wholes, Fragments, and the Folklorist."
In honor of the tradition of lively and vigorous dialogue
that is one of Roger's legacies to the field, organizers sought to
create a "paperless" symposium: instead of reading formal papers,
participants were invited to post and respond to
short "opening chords" on the conference
website, which then fueled the "live" symposium's discussion sessions.
Mary Hufford (U. Penn) and Regina Bendix (Universität Göttingen) listen
as Roger Abrahams responds during a symposium session.
Photography by Meltem Turkoz, Steve Poizat-Newcomb, and Mary
Click here for the symposium homepage and cyber
|Philadelphia, March 22 & 23, 2002
Under the sponsorship of The Center for Folklore and Ethnography (CFE) at
the University of Pennsylvania and the Center for Folklore Studies at the
Ohio State University, Voice/Over: A Symposium in Honor of Roger D.
Abrahams brought widely-dispersed colleagues, former and current
students, and friends to
the campus of the University of Pennsylvania to honor Dr. Abrahams, the
CFE's founding director, on the occasion of his semi-retirement from
teaching, and to recognize his wide-ranging and vital contributions to
the theory and practice of folklore since the 1960s.
The third in a series of symposia sponsored by the CFE,
Voice/Over asked its participants to build upon conversations begun by
Roger Abrahams at the Center's inaugural meetings, at which he framed
discussions asking folklorists to re-consider questions of cultural
translation, exchange, and reproduction. With a focus on the emergence of
voicedefined here as the inflection of cultural form with
bodythis, the third symposium sought to begin to articulate the next
turn in the discipline of folklore studies, and to inspire the next
generation of students to carry it forward.
To facilitate these goals, the symposium's
Hufford at the University of Pennsylvania and Dorry Noyes at The Ohio
State Universitysought a format that would encourage and build upon
the tradition of lively discussion and energetic exchange that so
distinctively mark Roger Abrahams's teaching and mentoring.
A goal was set: to convene a "paperless" symposium, in which participants
could engage in pure conversation, fueled by "opening
chords"meditations, ruminations, arguments and other short
disquisitions on current trends, issues, problems, and possible
directions for the field of folkloreposted to the Voice/Over website
prior to the conference.
With participants arriving from as far as California and Germany, the
sessions got off to a lively start early Friday morning, and continued
through Saturday evening, interspersed with festivities, debates,
performances, toasts, meals,
and general conviviality, some of which you'll see pictured here.
Watch this space for further reports and reverberations: the chords
struck and the conversations begun at Voice / Over continue to resonate,
with projects, ventures, and further improvisations on the
verge or in the works.
Click here for more Voice/Over photos.