Call for Submissions

On Shifting Ground: Migration, Disruption, and the Changing Contours of Home

A Call for Submissions | Vol. 11 (2024) | Guest Editors, Michelle Banks and Sojin Kim

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Deadline extended: Submissions now due April 1, 2024.

We live and produce our senses of community and place on shifting ground. Folklore and other traditional practices offer tools, strategies, and resources for both responding to and catalyzing change. Whether adapting traditional expressive behavior to meet new exigencies during and after migration or asserting them to challenge the status quo, people productively leverage the durability and dynamic nature of culture to strengthen community life through changes of many sorts—whether political, social, environmental, or cultural. The 2024 Journal of Folklore and Education seeks submissions that explore “disruption” and “migration” in relation to the process of reimagining home and tradition. We are interested in contributions that situate creativity and cultural production in moments and landscapes of flux and transformation, and how those affected by these forces forge strategies that disrupt established paradigms. Thus, topics such as identity, inclusion and exclusion, memory, transformation, and community also inform this issue.

We are interested in contributions that address, for example:

  • People’s experiences during and in response to migrations and/or displacements of different sorts (domestic, international, rural-urban, voluntary and forced, in response to climate, for economic reasons, etc.)
  • Cultural realignment (coalition building, mutual aid, rethinking/rebuilding communities);
  • Stories or examples of how people disrupt narratives of harm and pathology related to migration with cultural production that represents resilience, agency, transformation, generative practices
  • Praxis—the work we do—examples of how the work of educators, folklorists, or culture bearers/artists directly intervene in or disrupt conventions, persistent issues, or chronic conditions

We seek submissions that present case studies, programs, lessons, and research on the significance of arts that are based in community cultural life for the following audiences:

  • Educators in diverse settings with student populations that are changing because of migration, immigration, and gentrification and others, such as social service providers, who work in communities affected by these processes
  • Curators and program managers at museums, community centers, and cultural institutions addressing issues of representation and access in content creation and program development
  • Administrators addressing the need for tools that reflect the diversity of their students that may be used in teacher preparation and professional development
  • Students and community members who want to see their cultural knowledge valued in educational practices, curricula, and policy

We welcome contributions in many formats, including interviews, multimedia, photo essays, notes (a shorter format report), and lesson plans. Submissions due March 15, 2024. Please review Information for Authors prior to submitting.

Essential questions that contributors may use to inspire submissions include questions that

Consider migration through a cultural framework:

  • In what ways can the study of culturally specific oral and written traditional forms help young people connect their lives/cultures with those of others? Between literature and social studies? Between the arts and social studies?
  • How can folklore in education approaches share content, value, and insights about human relations, creativity, and problem solving?
  • The exploration of migration and disruption through a cultural lens may include both opportunities and pitfalls for students. What frameworks and models productively examine the role of media in informing stereotype or bias about cultural groups and their movements, understanding and addressing cultural appropriation, and trauma-informed pedagogy?

Examine how tradition intersects with contemporary challenges:

  • Culturally responsive teaching asks educators to recognize students’ cultural displays of learning and meaning making (see Gloria Ladson‐Billings). Culturally sustaining teaching sees culture more deeply as an asset that should be explicitly supported (see Django Paris). How can educators engage traditions—narratives, arts, and meaningful lifeways shared within families and groups—to foster learning and understanding across subject areas?
  • How can educators from multiple disciplinary areas, such as English language arts (including composition and literacy), ELL, art, music, science, or social studies use inquiry through folklife education in their teaching to create inclusive learning environments?
  • How can higher-education teacher-preparation programs incorporate cultural ways of knowing, creating, or learning as a key part of their literacy pedagogy?

About the Guest Editors
Michelle Banks is a cultural worker from Washington, DC, and was co-curator for the 2023 Smithsonian Folklife Festival program Creative Encounters: Living Religions in the U.S. She takes a transdisciplinary approach to work that explores the intersections of language, culture, and sustainability.

Sojin Kim is a curator at the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, where she works on projects focusing on migration, music, and public history. She was co-curator of the following Smithsonian Folklife Festival programs: D.C.: The Social Power of Music (2019), On the Move: Migration Across Generations (2017), Sounds of California (2016), and China: Tradition and the Art of Living (2014).

We are grateful for our Advisory Committee for their input on this special issue:

Sarah Craycraft, Head Tutor and Lecturer of Harvard’s Folklore and Mythology Program
Quetzal Flores, Alliance for California Traditional Arts
Jean Tokuda Irwin, Utah Division of Arts & Museums and Local Learning Board
Fariha Khan, University of Pennsylvania and Philadelphia Folklore Project
Brandie MacDonald, Executive Director, Indiana University Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology
Hector Morales, Percussionist and Teaching Artist
Karen “Queen Nur” Abdul-Malik, Independent Folklorist, Storyteller, and Teaching Artist
Maida Owens, Bayou Culture Collaborative and Louisiana Folklife Program Director
Lamont Jack Pearley, editor of the African American Folklorist and WKU Folklore graduate student
Nelda Ruiz, Southwest Folklife Alliance
Kate Schramm, Connecticut Museum of Culture and History