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Exploring Memory and Tradition in Philadelphia Communities

This ongoing program of community-based ethnographic fieldwork in Philadelphia was begun by Meltem Turkoz, a graduate of the Program in Folklore and Folklife, with support from the CFE and the Center for Community Partnerships. Her field research in West Philadelphia led to a partnership with the Agape African Senior Center and an ABCS service learning course, Folklore 321/UrbSt 327, Exploring Memory and Tradition in Philadelphia Communities. Grounded in ethnographic research that identifies a role for service learning in a particular community, the course is taught in partnership with community center and school where elderly Liberian refugees learn to read and to write. Through the service learning course and related work study opportunities, the CFE is documenting traditional foodways and stories in the community. Elders have participated in two community storytelling events on campus, one at the Folklore Archive in 2005, the other at the Kelly Writer's House in 2006. This fall the seniors will again be our guests, sharing community stories on November 16 and December 1 in the Penn Humanities Center at 3619 Locust Walk.

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