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Benjamin A. Botkin. Photo courtesy
of the National Council for the Traditional Arts.
Benjamin A. Botkin Folklife Lecture Series
Through the Benjamin A. Botkin Folklife Lecture Series, the American
Folklife Center presents the best of current research and practice
in Folklore, Folklife, and closely related fields. The year-round
series of monthly lectures invites professionals from both academia
and the public sector to present findings from their ongoing research
and fieldwork. The Botkin series is free and open to the general
public. In addition, each lecture is video and audio recorded by
the AFC for permanent deposit in the Archive of Folk Culture, where
students, scholars, and other interested people can access them.
Benjamin A. Botkin (1901-1975) was a pioneering
folklorist who believed that people continually create folklore
out of their collective experiences. According to historian
Jerrold Hirsch, Botkin "attempted to formulate an approach
to the study of American folklore that took into account the
nation's different regions, races, and classes, and showed
the interrelationship between folk, popular, and high culture." Botkin
worked on the interregional Folk-Say anthologies (1929-32),
was national folklore editor of the Federal Writers' Project
(1938-39), chief editor of the Writers' Unit of the Library
of Congress Project (1939-1941), head of the Archive of American
Folksong (1942-45), and author of numerous folklore treasuries,
beginning with A Treasury of American Folklore (1944). Botkin
left today's folklorists an inspiring treasury of ideas and
phrases that they readily use and honor, and the American Folklife
Center itself is heavily indebted to his work as both a folklorist
and a government official. For all these reasons, the American
Folklife Center has chosen to name this lecture series in his
honor. >> more about Benjamin
2009 BOTKIN LECTURES
Schedule to be posted.
Past 2009 Lectures:
January 27, 2009, 12:00 noon - 1:00 pm
Pickford Theater, 3rd Floor, James Madison Building
Revolutionaries, Nursery Rhymes, and Edison Wax Cylinders: The Remarkable Tale of the Earliest Korean Sound Recordings,
presented by Robert Provine, University of Maryland.
On July 24, 1896, the pioneering ethnologist Alice Fletcher recorded six wax cylinders documenting the singing of three Koreans who were studying in Washington, D.C. Now housed in the American Folklife Center Archive, these cylinders have proved to be the earliest known recordings of Korean music. As interesting as the recordings themselves, are the extraordinary circumstances surrounding how they came to be made, as well as the remarkable group of people, both Korean and American, who were involved in this landmark project. This richly illustrated lecture explores the historical circumstances and the musical significance of these remarkable and remarkably early wax cylinders. Ethnomusicologist Robert Provine is a Professor at the University of Maryland’s School of Music. From 1978 until 2000, he was Professor of Music at the University of Durham in the U.K. A past President of the Association for Korean Studies in Europe, he is author of Essays on Sino-Korean Musicology: Early Sources for Korean Ritual Music (1988), as well as numerous articles on Korean traditional music.
Includes descriptions of each lecture and informational essays
from the event flyers. Online video of the lectures are available
for selected events.
2008 Lecture Series
2007 Lecture Series
2006 Lecture Series