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2005 Botkin Lectures

Online Archive of Past Benjamin A. Botkin Folklife Lectures

All of the materials from the Botkin Lectures are available to visitors in the Folklife Reading Room. Selected materials will be made available online as digital versions are available and as permissions from the authors can be obtained.

The PDF files of the event flyers on this page require Adobe Acrobat Reader (free from Adobe).

Tuesday, December 13, 2005 at Noon
Pickford Theater, 3rd Floor Madison Building

Song and Silence Book CoverSara M. Davis, a New-York based writer and former researcher in the Asia Division of Human Rights Watch discussed her book, Song & Silence, in which she reveals how Tai Lües are reviving and reinventing their culture in ways that contest the official state version.

Read the event flyer essay

Carefully avoiding government repression, Tai Lües have rebuilt Buddhist temples and made them into vital centers for the Tai community to gather, discuss their future, and express discontent. Davis also describes the resurgence of the Tai language evident in a renewed interest in epic storytelling and traditional songs as well as the popularity of Tai pop music and computer publishing projects. Throughout her work, Davis weaves together the voices of monks, singers, and activists to examine issues of cultural authenticity, the status of ethnic minorities in China, and the growing cross-border contacts among Tai Lües in China, Thailand, Burma, and Laos.

For more information see: (Columbia University site)

Thursday, November 17, 2005 at Noon
Madison Hall 1st Floor Madison Building

Image of Malkhaz Erkvanidze"Collecting and Performing Traditional Song in the Republic of Georgia"

In this webcast ethnomusicologist, scholar and performer Malkhaz Erkvanidze talks about collecting traditional sacred and secular music in the Republic of Georgia. Members of the Anchiskhati Choir assist him with performance of material he and the members of his ensemble have collected.
Read the event flyer essay

View the webcast of this lecture and performance

Anchiskhati ChoirMalkhaz Erkvanidze is a world authority on Georgian polyphonic choral music. He has spent his life rescuing the church hymns and prayers that were suppressed under Soviet communism. His four books of Georgian hymns have been published with CDs; and he has written many articles about the distinctive musical structure of Georgian polyphony. He leads the "Dzveli Kiloebi" or Old Modes group within the Anchiskhati choir, dedicated to preserving the authentic Georgian tuning system with the traditional singing styles. He teaches at the Tbilisi State Conservatoire, the State Seminary and the Academy of Theology; and is the consultant to the Patriarch of Georgia, Ilia the Second, on liturgical chant.

The Anchiskhati Choir is the world's leading exponent of Georgian polyphonic choral music. Members of the Anchiskhati Choir come from different regions of Georgia where they have absorbed the unique singing traditions of their parents and grandparents. Singing weekly in the famous 6th century Anchiskhati church in Tbilisi, Georgia, the ensemble collaborates as a group of expert and passionate ethno-musicologists, who collect, teach, hold workshops and regularly perform in Georgia and abroad.

For more information see: (Anchiskhati Choir site) (Anchiskhati Choir site)

Tuesday, October 11, 2005 at Noon
Mumford Room, 6th Floor Madison Building

Image of the book - Ireland"The Beautiful Bridge: Crossing The Span Between Oral Tradition and the Written Creative Word" — by Frank Delaney author of the New York Times
bestseller "Ireland: A Novel"
Image of Frank Delaney

Read the event flyer essay

Scott Simon, NPR's Peabody-Award-winning correspondent and host of Weekend Edition Saturday introduced the speaker.

One of the most interesting bridges in cultural life crosses the span between the oral tradition and the written creative word, linking the spoken history of peoples to the literature they produced when they began to write. This lecture guides people across this bridge from the oral to the written. Describing first the principles of storytelling in ancient Irish communities and then making connections between Irish traditions of myth, saga and legend, award-winning novelist Frank Delaney demonstrates how the writers of Ireland relate to the country's past.

Learn more about Frank Delaney (Frank Delaney's Personal Web site)

Wednesday, September 28, 2005 at Noon
West Dining Room, 6th Floor Madison Building

Image: cover of book by Kip LornellThe Beat: Go-Go's Fusion of Funk and Hip-Hop — ethnomusicologist Kip Lornell discussed the book he coauthored with Charles C. Stephenson Jr.

Read the event flyer essay

The Beat: Go-Go's Fusion of Funk and Hip-Hop is the first book to explore the social, cultural, and musical phenomenon of African-American music largely known for its spirit, its energy, and its vitality. Sometimes locally known as "the most evolved form of funk," it is the funkiest form of black popular music unembraced by the cultural mainstream, perhaps known as well in Europe and the Far East as it is across the United States. Recognizing that music cannot be separated from the culture from which it derives, the book is equal parts black life, youth culture, local politics, the mass media, hip hop culture, urban aesthetics, entrepreneurship, and the struggles of everyday life. In addition to the narrative, the book includes a list of recommended recordings, as well as a selected list of articles concerning Go Go music published in a variety of periodicals. A CD featuring tracks by many of Go Go's key artists has been released by Liaison Records in conjunction with the publication of this book. Kip Lornell was joined in the audience by recording artist, D.C. music legend, and 2005 NEA National Heritage Fellow Chuck Brown.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005 at Noon
West Dining Room, 6th Floor Madison Building

Jersey DevilRead the event flyer essay

Tales of the Jersey Devil — an Illustrated Lecture by Stephen D. Winick, Ph.D., of the American Folklife Center.

The Jersey Devil is New Jersey's answer to Bigfoot or the Loch Ness Monster: a mysterious creature said to inhabit the remotest part of the State. Over the years, many stories have been told about this creature, from firsthand sightings to campfire tales, and from a highly-developed origin myth to reports of hoaxes and scams. The Jersey Devil also persists in contemporary New Jersey lore as a mascot and an icon of the State; the New Jersey Devils hockey team is the most famous example. From 1999 until 2005, folklorist Stephen D. Winick directed the Delaware Valley Folklife Center in southern New Jersey--prime Jersey Devil territory. He investigated the famous creature's presence and persistence in both folklore and popular culture, and curated a traveling exhibit entitled Tales of the Jersey Devil. In this lecture, he tells us many strange and wonderful stories about this monster, recounts the history and development of the tale, and shows us many unusual Jersey Devil artifacts.

Thursday, July 21, 2005 at noon
Room 139, Madison Building

Image: American Indians on horseback"Bridles, Bits and Beads: Folk and Fieldwork from the High, Wide and Handsome State of Montana" — an illustrated lecture by Dr. Alexandra Swaney of the Montana Arts Council

Read the event flyer essay

The fast horses and Indians you see conjure up a stereotypical landscape of the Old West. It's an image from the Real Bird family's re-enactment of the Custer's Last Stand. There still are cowboys and Indians in Montana -- those are some of the peoples who live there and many still do practice their traditional arts. But as everyone who lives there knows, Montana is changing rapidly and becoming more of a playground for people of means, and less of a bread and beef basket to the country. In addition, there are traditional folk in Montana that defy many of the usual characterizations we have in mind.

Bridles, Bits and Beads was the first traveling folk arts exhibit curated and toured throughout Montana by Alexandra Swaney in her first two years as folklife director at the Montana Arts Council. Dr. Swaney presented a slide show with commentary covering this exhibit along with an overview of the Montana Folklife Program of the last ten years, accompanied by audio selections. Artists discussed include:

Bill Allison, saddle maker from Roundup, Montana
Nina Russell, jazz pianist
Bill Ohrmann, visionary painter
Iris Allrunner, star quilter and porcupine quiller
John "the Yank" Harrington, Irish accordionist.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005 at 12:00noon
Pickford Theater, 3th floor of the James Madison Building

Image: Jane Beck with a photo of Daisy Turner"From Virginia to Vermont: a Trek from Slavery to Freedom" — an audio illustrated lecture by Jane Beck, Folklorist and Executive Director of the Vermont Folklife Center in Middlebury, Vermont
Read the event flyer essay

Jane Beck talked about the oral histories she conducted with Daisy Turner from 1983-1988. Daisy Turner, born in Grafton, Vermont on June 21, 1883 was the daughter of Alec Turner (1845-1923) a former slave. When Beck first met her, she was 100. Over the next four and a half years, Beck developed a relationship with Daisy, which resulted in over 60 recorded oral history interviews. Beck was struck by what a remarkable window Daisy provided on antebellum life in Virginia through the stories she learned from her father Alec during these interviews.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005 at 12:00pm
Room 119, 1st floor, Thomas Jefferson building

Image: Stetson KennedyStetson Kennedy, now 89, talks about his life and work in conversation with Dr. Peggy Bulger, Director of the American Folklife Center.

Read the event flyer essay

Read the News Release

View the webcast of this presentation

Stetson Kennedy, has spent the majority of his life fighting for human rights in the deep south of America. Crusading for human rights, fighting the Jim Crow laws and helping equality take hold in the south. He was born in Jacksonville, Florida in 1916. As a teenager he began collecting Cracker and African-American folksay material while he was collecting ''dollar down and dollar a week'' accounts for his father, a furniture merchant. He left the University of Florida in 1937 to join the WPA Florida Writers' Project, and was soon, at the age of 21, put in charge of folklore, oral history, and ethnic studies. Slowly becoming one of the pioneer folklore collectors during the first half of the twentieth century.

During and after the late 1940's when Kennedy infiltrated and exposed the Klu Klux Klan and other hate groups- Woody Guthrie, Richard Wright, and W.E.B. Du bois were among his friends. Kennedy's far-flung multiracial experiences nourished and supported his love and concern of humankind. The life Stetson has lead prompted FSU director of Black Studies Dr. William Jones to predict that, "Kennedy may well go down as the first investigative historian."

More information about Stetson Kennedy can be found on his personal Web site at

Wednesday, March 23, 2005 at 6:30pm
Room 119, 1st floor, Thomas Jefferson building

Image: Book - May It Fill Your SoulMusic in Bulgaria: Experiencing Music, Expressing Culture, an illustrated lecture by Prof. Timothy Rice, ethnomusicologist, UCLA
Book signing will follow

Read the event flyer essay

Timothy Rice is founding co-editor of the ten-volume Garland Encyclopedia of World Music and the author of May it Fill Your Soul: Experiencing Bulgarian Music (University of December 4, 2008 rous field trips to the Balkans since 1969, has been published in major journals, including Ethnomusicology, Yearbook for Traditional Music, and Journal of American Folklore. He has also published articles on ethnomusicological methods, cross-cultural music theory, and music education. Prof. Rice spoke about his fieldwork in Bulgaria and the role of music in the postcommunist transition in Eastern Europe.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005 at 6:30pm
Mumford Room, 6th floor of the James Madison Building

Image: Book - Between Midnight and Day"Between Midnight and Day" — an illustrated lecture by Dick Waterman, photographer, agent, manager, and promoter of traditional Blues artists.

Read the event flyer biographical essay

Read the Media Advisory

Between Midnight and Day: The Last Unpublished Blues Archive (Thunder's Mouth Press/Insight Editions, 2003) features many of the most important photographs from Dick Waterman's unparalleled vintage blues archive. Here Waterman presents rare images, many previously unseen, and illuminates them with his own first-hand commentary offering his unique perspective as an agent, representative, photographer, and friend to some of the most influential figures in American music. Waterman includes personal recollections and 120 color photographs of blues legends like Buddy Guy, John Lee Hooker, Lightnin’ Hopkins, Chuck Berry, Ray Charles, Bob Dylan, Son House, "Mississippi" John Hurt, Skip James, Janis Joplin, B.B. King, Fred McDowell, Bonnie Raitt, Otis Rush, Roosevelt Sykes, Big Mama Thornton, Sippie Wallace, Muddy Waters, Junior Wells, Bukka White, and Howlin’ Wolf. Contributors include critically acclaimed music biographer Peter Guralnick, Grammy award-winning musician Bonnie Raitt, and author Chris Murray.

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