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Voices, Fall-Winter 2009:
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Volume 35
Fall-Winter
2009
Voices

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Features

4

Carving Out a Life: Reflections of an Ithaca Wood-Carver
by Mary Michael Shelley


13 From Wild Man to Monster: The Historical Evolution of Bigfoot in New York State
by Robert E. Bartholomew and Brian Regal


16 Xiao Xiannian: New Sounds for Chinese Strings
by Pete Rushefsky


23 Fieldwork, Memory, and the Impact of 9/11 on an Eastern Tennessee Klansman:
A Folklorist’s Reflection

by Trevor J. Blank


Departments and Columns
3 Announcements


10 Upstate: The “Lore” Back to the “Folk”
by Varick A. Chittenden


11 Downstate: Is Sex Play?
by Steve Zeitlin


12 Songs: Tim Finigan’s Wake
by Dan Milner

32 Foodways: The Bronx Seedless Grape
Makalé Faber Cullen

22 Good Spirits: Tiny Feet on the Stairs
by Libby Tucker


28 Still Going Strong: Juggler
by Paul Margolis

29 Play: The Making of a New York Folk Hero
by John Thorn

30 Reviews


Cover: Barn with Long Cloud Sky, by Mary Michael Shelley
Cover: “Barn with Long Cloud Sky,” by Mary Michael Shelley


FROM THE EDITOR

From the Fall-Winter 2009 issue of Voices:

The articles featured in this issue of Voices contain a variety of voices whose messages are “traditional”—in the surprising, the comforting, and even the most alarming senses of that disciplinary keyword.

In the photo essay “Carving Out a Life: Reflections of an Ithaca Wood-Carver,” self-taught carver Mary Michael Shelley describes how she responded simultaneously to her Northeastern farm family heritage, liberal arts education, and the emerging feminism of her time to claim a form of man’s work—carpentry and carving—as her own. In the article “From Wild Man to Monster: The Historical Evolution of Bigfoot in New York State,” sociologist Robert E. Bartholomew and historian Brian Regal offer us a wealth of primary source narratives of Bigfoot and other “wild man” sightings in New York State, from the early nineteenth century to the present. Pete Rushefsky’s profile of a Manhattan-based Chinese hammered dulcimer master, Xiao Xiannian, captures not only the pedagogical evolution of a virtuoso yangqin player, but also the determination of a Chinese family to survive political persecution and economic oppression by encouraging musicianship among their children. And in Trevor Blank’s honest and disturbing report, “Fieldwork, Memory, and the Impact of 9/11 on an Eastern Tennessee Klansman: A Folklorist’s Reflection,” we are challenged together, as readers, to join a young ethnographer in making sense (with Klan-buster Stetson Kennedy’s help) of an encounter with an American racist, struggling with partial—but not complete—remorse for his views and hate-group affiliation after the events of September 11, 2001.

As folk artists and culture workers, we spend much time considering what speech, art, ritual, belief, music, material culture, customs, work, play, and other cultural forms may be worth remembering in New York State. We may have devoted our lives to working toward their preservation. Are there portions of “tradition,” however, which might be better forgotten than preserved or examined? Under what circumstances should the details of the political persecution of immigrants before their arrival in the U.S. be recalled, for example, and for what purpose? Does the history of hate groups in New York State, or any other part of the United States, fall into the first category or the second? Do we evolve past hate by speaking it and remembering it, sometimes verbatim—or through silence, healing, and forgetting? Or is there more involved in the process, the progress toward and beyond “tolerance”? For more on the history of hate groups in this state and across the nation, visit Alabama’s Southern Poverty Law Center web site, www.splcenter.org, and click on the Hate Groups Map, as well as What You Can Do.

Voices welcomes Dan Milner in this issue. Dan’s new “Songs” column will bring the depth of his lifelong song scholarship and ballad and folksong performance experience to bear on investigating New York song texts and their histories, contexts, and meanings within and beyond New York State. Please keep your thoughts coming our way, in the form of full-length feature articles, personal essays, field notes, photography, artwork, and letters to the editor. We look forward to reading and publishing your responses to this issue.

Eileen Condon
Acquisitions Editor
New York Folklore Society



 






Farmer Taking a Snooze by Mary Michael Shelley

Xiao Xiannian performs on a large yangqin

doll

Sean Blue, juggler

Fall–Winter 2009, Volume 35:3–4

Acquisitions Editor Eileen Condon
Managing Editor Sheryl A. Englund
Design Mary Beth Malmsheimer
Printer Eastwood Litho

Editorial Board: Varick Chittenden, Lydia Fish, José Gomez-Davidson, Nancy Groce, Lee Haring, Bruce Jackson, Libby Tucker, Kay Turner, Dan Ward, Steve Zeitlin

Voices: The Journal of New York Folklore is published twice a year by the New York Folklore Society, Inc.



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