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Implied NowhereAbsence in Folklore Studies$
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Shelley Ingram, Willow G. Mullins, and Todd Richardson

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781496822956

Published to University Press of Mississippi: January 2020

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781496822956.001.0001

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Folklore in Vacuo (and Other Disciplinary Predicaments)

Folklore in Vacuo (and Other Disciplinary Predicaments)

(p.201) Six Folklore in Vacuo (and Other Disciplinary Predicaments)
Implied Nowhere

Todd Richardson

University Press of Mississippi

In the form of a lyric essay, this chapter interrogates the motives and methods of mainstream folklore scholarship. The author identifies a variety of factors that discourage folklorists from taking more expressive chances in order to understand the specialized style that has come to dominate folklore scholarship. This hyper-professionalization of folkloristic writing has, the author argues, led to what Benjamin Botkin once called “folklorists talking to themselves or folklore in vacuo.” In order to make folklore studies resonate with a broader audience, the author calls for folkloristic writing that is more imaginative and less thesis-driven, writing that invites the curious in rather than excluding them in the name of scholarly prestige.

Keywords:   Professionalization, Popularization, Creative Scholarship, Benjamin Botkin, Folksay

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