Annual Conference Announcement

and Call for Papers

April 17-18, 2020

Willamette University, Salem, Oregon

Note: The deadline for submitting presentation abstracts and registration fees has been extended to Feburary 15.

Note: Visit the Transformation and Accommodations page to find places to stay during the conference.

On behalf of the Western States Folklore Society, the students and faculty of Willamette University invite you to join us in exploring the theme of “Folklore's Role in Trans-Pacific Communication,” and to exchange ideas on other topics within the field.

The Western States are essential to trans-Pacific communication in our increasingly globalized world, especially with respect to the reconstruction of identity within and between diverse cultural groups with distinct folk practices. An important issue for the Western States Folklore Society is the role folklore plays in trans-Pacific communication today. We encourage presentations that explore immigration, cyber-community, group identity, family folklore, diaspora experience, multilingual education through folklore, and other relevant issues.

As always, the theme is a suggestion for those considering presentation, not a requirement. We welcome proposals for individual papers and organized panels on any topic related to folklore.

Please note that this year’s Archer Taylor Lecturer will be Dan Ben-Amos (see above), whose definition of folklore as “artistic communication in small groups” has inspired many a study, pro and con.

Registration: Conference registration will begin Thursday evening, April 16. Papers will be presented on Friday, April 17 and Saturday, April 18. Nonmembers who join the Society at the time of registration are eligible for membership benefits, including reduced registration fees and a subscription to Western Folklore. The registration fee for regular members is $45; for non-members $70. The registration fees for student/retired members is $25; for non-members $45. Please make checks out to the Western States Folklore Society and address them to:

Western States Folklore Society
17591 River Ranch Rd
Grass Valley, CA 95949

International attendees who need letters for passport or visa application should make a request as soon as possible.

Paper presentations: Participants wishing to present a paper must submit by email a short (100-150 word) abstract by February 15, 2020. The following Abstract guidelines are also available on the Meetings page on the WSFS website.

Note: Please read the following description carefully, and be sure to follow the stated guidelines exactly. If accepted, your abstract will be printed as given. Be sure to proofread it for grammar and spelling.

Please submit abstracts of 100-150 words in Microsoft Word by February 15, 2020. Please use the following format:

LAST NAME, First Name (Affiliation in parentheses). Title in boldface. Abstract text (100-150 words only) in regular typeface (not bold). (Your email address, enclosed in parentheses)

  • Please use Microsoft Word: PDF and email text are not acceptable
  • The full abstract—including your name, presentation title, descriptive text, and email address—must be a single paragraph; do not separate title from text
  • Descriptive text must not exceed 150 words (that is, not including name, affiliation, title of presentation, and email address).

Abstracts that do not follow these guidelines will be returned to the author for revision.

Abstracts should be submitted to the Abstract Review Committee. Cut and paste the following address into your email program:

Registration fees should be postmarked the same day as the abstract submission and should be accompanied by a brief note indicating your name and paper title (non-presenters please indicate “non-presenter”). All correspondence will be handled electronically unless specifically requested otherwise.

Sample abstract:

MIEDER, Wolfgang (University of Vermont). “The American People Rose to the Occasion”; A Proverbial Retrospective of the Marshall Plan after Seventy Years. The American soldier-statesman George C. Marshall (1880-1959) was a major player in rebuilding the economies of Western Europe on democratic principles by way of the Marshall Plan. In his numerous addresses, speeches, and testimonies for this sociopolitical program he also stressed the necessity of humanitarian aid in the form of food, clothes, and other necessities. While his rhetoric was for the most part straight-forward and to the point, he also employed such proverbs as “A little knowledge is a dangerous thing,” “Practice what you preach,” and “Man does not live by bread alone” to add metaphorical expressiveness to his deliberations. Proverbial expressions like “to sell the same horse twice,” “to tighten one's belt,” and “to hang in the balance” made Marshall’s rhetoric more effective by supplying some colloquial color. (

Student Travel Stipends: The Society awards up to three stipends of $250 each to help students presenting a paper to defray travel expenses to the annual meeting. Known as the Elliott Oring Student Travel Stipend, the awards are given to students on the basis of their submitted abstracts as well as the distance they must come to present their papers.

Please check this page again for further information as it develops.