On November 14, 2017, I spoke to an “International Folkloristics” seminar at the University of Tartu, Estonia, on “The Practice of Folklore,” a preview of my forthcoming book with the same title. It was videotaped and can be viewed here. The introduction is by Professor Jonathan Roper of the Department of Comparative Folklore; thanks also to Professor Ulo Valk for his invitation and hospitality.
“The core matters of American folklore and folklife studies evident in the literature are on folk groups, bearers, contexts, and genres in face-to-face interaction, with attention to ever-relevant, qualitatively investigated questions of tradition, creativity, imagination, identity, performance, practice, art, and communication. New technology has bred broader field documentation and facilitated “computational folkloristics” with the analysis and mapping of huge amounts of coded material, or “big data.” Whether interpreting the traditions of “virtual” social networks or “real” gatherings, in futuristic corporate offices or around campfires of the past, and indeed among the young or old, folklorists in their scholarship seek answers as a significant contribution to the humanities and social sciences questions of how and why people express, and repeat, themselves.”