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Occupational Folklore
White Plains, NY
March 2, 2013



2013 New York Folklore Society Annual Conference

Theme: Occupational Folklore
Saturday, March 2, 2013
ArtsWestchester (Westchester Arts Council)
31 Mamaroneck Avenue, White Plains, NY 10601

On March 2, 2013, the New York Folklore Society was pleased to partner with our colleagues at ArtsWestchester to offer a lively conference on the theme of Occupational Folklore.

Set against the background of the Shore to Shore Exhibition, 40 participants enjoyed rich discussions on the boat builders and boatyards of Westchester and Long Island, the teaching of traditional boat building, the latest occupational research on the racetrack backstretch community, the Erie Canal grain elevator workers and dairy famers in Northern New York. The day closed with a panel discussion from mentors of traditional trades including boat building, stone masonry and African drumming. NYFS thanks all our participants who made NYFS’ 65th Annual Conference such a tremendous success.

READ Lisa Overholser’s article on the conference in Voices, including an interview with our guest speaker Adam Green, founder and executive director of Rocking the Boat, a non-profit organization that uses traditional boat building as a vehicle to empower the youth of the South Bronx.


For over 65 years, the New York Folklore Society (NYFS) has held a themed conference as a part of its annual membership meeting, typically with guest speakers, such as master artists and academic scholars. This year, in collaboration with the Folk Arts Program of ArtsWestchester, we invited graduate students, and more experienced scholars, as well as public sector folklorists to present their research in a series of panels and paper presentations.

2013 Theme: Occupational Folklore—The impact of Hurricane Sandy reached far and wide across the Northeastern coastline, and among those affected have been those who work in traditional maritime occupations. In some cases, traditions that have been passed down through generations, and the livelihood that depends on these traditions have been wiped out in the blink of an eye. Occupational folklore presents a unique set of challenges and issues, and for our 2013 annual conference, we focused on regional occupations, the culture of work, and other related folk culture.

The conference coincided with a joint exhibition of the maritime occupational traditions of boat building on the Hudson River and Long Island’s Sound and South Shore, jointly produced by ArtsWestchester and Long Island Traditions. Conference attendees viewed the exhibition, and attended a related public program in association with the conference.


LI Traditions LogoArts Westchester logo


Deadline for paper submissions:
February 2, 2013.

occupational folklore call for papers
Student presenters are encouraged to participate, in order to platform at a local conference to share their work and connect with other young academics from around the New York State and surrounding region. The NYFS seeks to encourage young scholars to continue their studies and become active contributors to the fields of folklore, ethnomusicology, anthropology, and more. This conference presents students with the opportunity for feedback on works-in-progress and mentorship from the academy.

This multidisciplinary conference welcomes papers and presentations based on research in occupational culture, including but not limited to narratives, customary lore, or material expressions related to skilled crafts in the region. While the regional focus of submissions is not circumscribed by geography, we especially encourage papers related to the cultural traditions and occupational lore of New York State and the tri-state region of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut.

QUESTIONS? Please contact: Dr. Lisa Overholser, info@nyfolklore.org, 518-346-7008

READ Lisa’s Report on the 2011 Annual Conference in Voices, 37:3-4, 2011. VIEW pages on previous conferences.

RETURN to the Main Conference Page.

White Plains is located in New York’s lower Hudson Valley and is easily accessible by car or by public rail transportation (MTA) from New York City. It lies in close proximity to Connecticut and Long Island.

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The New York Folklore Society’s programs are made possible in part with public funds from the Folk Arts Program of the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

Council on the Arts

NEW YORK FOLKLORE SOCIETY ♦ 129 Jay Street ♦ Schenectady, NY 12305 ♦ 518.346.7008 ♦ Fax 518.346.6617 ♦ nyfs@nyfolklore.org