ENGL 491.001 / ANTH 399.005 Fall 2001 Tu 7:20pm-10:00   West 263

Narratives of the Spirit World:    The Lore of Ghosts and Fairies
 (Special Topics in Folklore and Folklife)

Dr. Margaret R. Yocom,  English;
--Co-coordinator, Folklore & Mythology Minor
--Advisor, English Dept's Folklore, Myth. & Lit. Concentration
-- Director, N Virginia Folklife Archive, Rob A439

Office: Robinson A439   Phone: 993-1172
 Office hours: M 10:30-11:30, T 4-5 and by appointment
Mailbox: English Department, 487 Robinson
E-mail : myocom@gmu.edu
Webpage: http://mason.gmu.edu/~myocom
Archive Webpage: http://www.gmu.edu/folklore/nvfa
Listserve on folklife activities at GMU and in DC area:
--GMUFOLK (I'll bring in logon directions)
Bookcase outside my office: copies of all handouts

    "I read the other day in a book by a fashionable essayist that ghosts went out when the electric light came in. What nonsense! The writer, though he is fond of dabbling, in a literary way, in the supernatural, hasn't even reached the threshold of his subject. As between turreted castles patrolled by headless victims with clanking chains, and the comfortable suburban house with a refrigerator and central heating where you feel, as soon as you're in it, that there's something wrong, give me the latter for sending a chill down the spine!" -- Narrator of the short story "All Souls" by Edith Wharton

     "The fairies are the ultimate strangers, and serve as metaphor for all that is strange, not only in nature but in other people."
 --Barbara Rieti

    What can we learn from traditional tales whispered in the night about ghosts and fairies? We'll explore these stories of the spirit world to understand the workings of oral narrative, the role of gender and race in the telling of otherworldly tales, their connections to specific places and to environmental issues, their manipulation by certain individuals and groups for political ends, and the nature of those spirits that continue to make Northern Virginia their home.  Come prepared to tell a story or two: do you know what the Irish say happened to the fellow who had no story to tell? And, be prepared to check your disbelief at the door: do you know what happened to the girl who said there were no such thing as ghosts?

Required readings, in order of use:

Barbara Walker, ed. Out of the Ordinary: Folklore and the Supernatural. USU (1 article)
Wm Lynwood Montell, Ghosts Along the Cumberland: Deathlore in the Kentucky Foothills.
Gladys-Marie Fry,   Night Riders in Black Folk History.  UNC Press
Gillian Bennett, Alas, Poor Ghost! Traditions of Belief. Utah SU Press
Toelken and Iwasaka, Ghosts and the Japanese.  Utah SU Press
Barbara Rieti. Strange Terrain. ISER Press, Memorial University, Newfoundland.

Readings in ENGL 491/ANTH 399. Photo-copied booklet on sale in Bookstore.
Papers in ENGL 491/ANTH 399. Photo-copied booklet on sale in Bookstore.

Texts on reserve at Fenwick Library:   see last page of syllabus for the list of books I've put on reserve in the Johnson Center. Please let me know if you have any problems finding these materials. One copy--in some cases, two copies--of all course texts (except photocopied booklets) are on reserve.

Recommended books, not required. Thought you might enjoy adding some of these to your otherworldly library:
Thomas E. Barden, Virginia Folk Legends.
Angela Bourke, The Burning of Bridget Cleary
Jan Harold Brunvand, The Vanishing Hitchhiker. Norton.
Carol Burke, Vision Narratives of Women in Prison. University of Tennessee Press
Henry Glassie, ed.  Irish Folk Tales.  Pantheon. (Selections on fairies)
Reimund Kvideland.  Scandinavian Folk Belief and Legend.
Patricia Lysaght.  The Banshee: The Irish Death Messenger.
Ruth Ann Musick, The Telltale Lilac Bush and Other West Virginia Ghost Tales.
Peter Narváez, The Good People: New Fairylore Essays.  UP Ky.
W.Y. Evans Wentz, The Fairy-Faith in Celtic Countries. (Out of print)

SCHEDULE of topics: (Snow days, sickness, and class decisions to shorten or lengthen discussions may cause this schedule to change.You are responsible for attending class and keeping up with any announced changes.  Readings/activities listed below the date on this syllabus are to be prepared for that day's class. "Recommended reading" indicates a reading I recommend to you but one that will not appear on exam questions. For information on GROUPS 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 please see the course requirement section of the syllabus).

________ Tues, 28 August __________________________________________
Introduction to course and the study of folklore.
Key concepts in folklore: twin laws of variation, context, performance, core, folk belief.

Storytelling: "The Girl in the Lavender Dress"

_______  Tues, 4 September __________________________________________
Introduction to the study of belief and the supernatural:
-- In Walker, Out of the Ordinary.  Read Hufford, "Beings Without Bodies: An Experience-Centered Theory of the Belief in Spirits." [GROUP 1] See summary of article on page 9. Read the following sections:
--- pp. 11--18, first sentence;
--- p. 22 "Folk Belief and Official Culture" to p. 25, end of second full paragraph;
--- p. 27 "The Experiential Theory" to p. 31, halfway through second full paragraph "...characteristics that other folk traditions display.";
--- p. 34 "Possible Classes of Core Experience to p. 45.

Gender, Place, and Ghosts from the North Carolina Appalachians:
--Readings. Sawin, Patricia. 1994. "Inscribing Morality on the Landscape: Deviant Mountain Women in Bessie Eldreth's Ghost Stories" North Carolina Folklore Journal  42(2):75-90. [GROUP 2]

Deathlore as a context for ghost stories, from the Kentucky Appalachians:
Montell, Ghosts Along the Cumberland [GROUP 3].
-- Read in the Preface pages vii-ix and in the Prologue pages 3-10.
-- Read in Part 1 "Omens of Death" 13-15. In pages 17-42, read a sampling of at least 10 death beliefs. In pages 43-60, read #141-#148 and a sampling of at least 5 other death omen narratives.
-- Read in Part 2 "The Dead" pages 63-65. In pages 66-84, read at least 1 belief in each sub-category (sub-categories are written in italics).

-- Read in Part 3 "The Return of the Dead" pages 87-94. In pages 95-215, read at least two in each category (categories are written in CAPITALS after the story title). Choose favorite stories you'd like to discuss. Be sure to read at least the first four stories in the three following lists:

--#300 Woman Dressed in Black  DISAPPEARING GHOSTS
#306 The Ghostly Dancers DISAPPEARING GHOSTS
#331 The Somerset Ghost VANISHING HITCHHIKER
#333-336 The Vanishing Girl VANISHING HITCHHIKER
#338 Dying Man's Groans Still Heard CRIES OF THE DEAD
#388 Unseen Creature FRIGHTFUL CREATURES
#415 The Haunted Tree  HAUNTED DEATH SPOTS

--What makes a good ghost story?
#308 Bleeding Sheep on the Coffin   DISAPPEARING GHOSTS
#343 Noises in the Night UNEXPLAINED NOISES
#337 Ghost of  Man Hit by Auto   VANISHING HITCHHIKER
#471 The Grave Robbers  GHOST RELATED STORIES
#400 Bullets Go Through Ghost Dog ANIMAL GHOSTS
#406 The Stranger in the Room  GHOSTS REVEAL MONEY

--Playing on people's belief/disbelief in ghosts and their ideas about death:
#423 The Ghost in the Churchyard   SHAM GHOSTS
#458-462 Fork in Skirt  GHOST RELATED STORIES
#463-467 Corpse Sits Up in Coffin  GHOST RELATED STORIES
#468-470 A Live Substitute for the Corpse  GHOST RELATED STORIES
#471 The Grave Robbers  GHOST RELATED STORIES

--Recommended. Leloudis, James L, II. Tokens of Death: Tales from Perquimans County. NC Folklore Journal 25:2 (47-60).
--Recommended. Whitley, Marilyn. The Burial of the Dead: Customs, Beliefs, and Superstitions from Franklin County. NC Folklore Journal 25:2 (61-66).
--Recommended. Walker, in Walker, Out of the Ordinary.  Introduction, 1-7.  Also recommended are articles by Toelken and Bennett.
--Recommended: Hufford, David J. 1995. The Experience-Centered Analysis of Belief Stories: A Haunting Example in Honor of Kenny Goldstein. In Fields of Folklore: Essays in Honor of Kenneth S. Goldstein, 55-89. Bloomington: Trickster Press. (On a haunted house and a ghostly attack).

_______  Tues, 11 September _____ Ghost Tales in Black and White _________
-- In Gladys-Marie Fry's  Night Riders in Black Folk History, read the following:
Preface vii-viii; Prologue 3-10, 29-33 [GROUP 4. Members in GROUP 4 will choose between this part of the chapter and those below];
Chapter 1 The Problem of Slave Control 38-45, 52-58 [GROUP 4];
Chapter 2 The Role of the Master, Overseer in Use of Supernatural Subterfuge 59-81 [GROUP 4];
Chapter 3 The Patrol System 86-92 [GROUP 5. Members in GROUP 5 will choose between this part of the chapter and those below];
Chapter 4 The Reconstruction of the Ku Klux Klan 110-147 [GROUP 5];
Epilogue 212-215 [GROUP 5].

-- In Gillian Bennett's Alas! Poor Ghost, read the Introduction 1-3. Chapter 1 "Belief and Disbelief" 17-38 [GROUP 1]

-- Recommended: Montell, Ghosts Along the Cumberland.  Ghosts and racial issues:
#413 Return of the Hanged Chicken Thief   HAUNTED DEATH SPOTS
#430 Dividing Up the Dead (b)   SHAM GHOSTS

_______ Tues, 18 September ______________________________________
Ghosts Close to Home: Ghosts in our hometowns and families
--Guest speakers, former Spirit World students, will discuss their research findings:
Samantha Horsley (GMU grad, 1997), "Ghosts from Gloucester County" [NVFA #1997-008]
Sonya Rohrbach (GMU grad, 1999): "Italian women's ghost tales"[NVFA #1999-026]
Cindy Beauchemin (GMU grad):

-- -- In Gillian Bennett's Alas! Poor Ghost, read Chapter 2 "Contact with the Dead" 39-77 and Chapter 3 "Witnesses, Bereavement, and the Sense of Presence" 95-114.

-- Discussion of your fieldwork: collecting one ghost story
DUE: Typed draft of your First Collection paper to discuss in class

_______ Tuesday, 25 September ______________________________________
DUE: Collection paper

Ghosts at Work: Occupational Tales

--Storytelling: "Big Joe and Phantom 309" (performed by Tom Waits; written by Red Sovine)

-- Read in Readings.  Ellis, Bill. "Fast Food Ghosts." [GROUP 2]
-- Readings. Santino, Jack. 1988. "Occupational Ghostlore: Social Context and the Expression of Belief" Journal of American Folklore  101(400): 207-218. [GROUP 3]

From Latino traditions: La Llorona
-- Readings.  Jones, Pamela. 1988. "There Was a Woman": La Llorona in Oregon, Western Folklore 47(3):195-211. [GROUP 4. Members in GROUP 4 will choose between this article and that below.]
-- Readings. Hawes, Bess Lomax. 1986. La Llorona in Juvenile Hall, Western Folklore 27:153-170. [GROUP 4]
--Handout. "The Hippie Learns a Lesson." (From Kraul and Beatty. 1988. The Weeping Woman: Encounters with La Llorona. Santa Fe: The Word Press.)

--Recommended: Dégh, Linda and Andrew Vázsonyi. 1976. Legend and Belief. In Folklore Genres, edited by Dan Ben-Amos. Austin: University of Texas.
--Recommended: Dégh, Linda. 1995. The Legend Conduit. In Narratives in Society, edited by Linda Dégh. Helsinki: Academia Scientiarum Fennica.
--Recommended from NVFA: #1978-18 Narratives of Hospital Workers by T. Hennessee; NVFA #1996-97 Memorate: Evidence of a Haunted Sandwich Shop by John Stanley.
--Recommended: Film: La Ofrenda (on the Central Mexican festival, Days of the Dead. Johnson Ctr)

______ Tues, 2 October    Chasing Down Ghosts: Nightime Visits to Haunted Sites
--Guest speaker: Stephanie Hall (American Folklife Center, Library of Congress) will speak on two of her research projects: (1) "Ghost-Hunting on the Eastern Shore's Pocomoke Forest" and (2) "Sceptics," organized groups of critical thinkers such as the National Capitol Area Skeptics who promote scientific responses to the supernatural and paranormal.

--Montell, Ghosts Along the Cumberland.  Visits to haunted sites, as well as ghost tests:
#308 Bleeding Sheep on the Coffin   DISAPPEARING GHOSTS
#309 Ghosts Enter House Carrying Casket   DISAPPEARING GHOSTS
#358 The Light on the Hill (b) GHOSTLY LIGHTS
#391-393 When John Gets Here  FRIGHTFUL CREATURES
#446 The Voice from the Grave  GHOSTS THAT WERE NOT GHOSTS

--Readings.  Bird, Elizabeth. "Playing with Fear: Interpreting the Adolescent Legend Trip" Western Folklore [GROUP 5]

_______ Tues, 9 October _____  No class:  Columbus Day Recess _____________

_______ Tues, 16 October ____ No class __________________________________
I'll be at the American Folklore Society Conference in Anchorage, AK. We'll have class, instead, on our final exam night, December 11th.  Use this time to work on your annotated bibliography, your fieldwork, and your papers.

_______ Fri 19/20/21 October _____ Fieldtrip: "Leesburg Hauntings"________

_______ Tues, 23 October _____ Ghosts in Asia ________________________
-- In Toelken, Ghosts and Japanese. [GROUP 1] Read pp. 6-11, 12-34 (1st 2 lines only on p. 34); 43-48 (1st paragraph only on p. 38); 57 ("This phenomenon...)-60.
-- In Toelken, Ghosts and the Japanese. [GROUP 2] From pages 60-116: in each of the five sections ("Mothers and Children," "Revenge and Anger," "Omens," "Ghosts at Sea," "Passions"), read at least the first five stories and the discussion about those stories.

-- In Readings.  Read "Korean Ghost Stories" by former student Minyoung Kim, NVFA #1997-76

Storytelling: stories from Vietnam by Aaron Hartman and other students.

_______ Tues, 30 October _____ Hallowe'en   ___________________
Storytelling: do you have a tale to tell? Friends are welcome, especially friends with a story.

--Storytelling: Local ghosts
[GROUP 3]   Reading for Group 3 only. Each member of Group 3 should read one Northern Virginia Folklife Archive collections and be ready to tell (not summarize, tell) and discuss a story from the collection you choose. You'll need to come in during office hours or make an appointment so you can read these in my office where the Archive is housed:

Here are some tales, but see the on-line list of Archive titles at http://www.gmu.edu/folklore/nvfa. Just type the word "ghost" in the search category, and you'll see what's possible.
#1995-29 Ghost Stories in Alexandria, VA (Family)--D. Cushman
96-23 Ghost Tales of Confederate Soldiers--H. DiSandro
96-30 Supernatural Legend about Hitchhiker, Chantilly (Walney Road)--S. Donahoe
96-43 Personal and Family Supernatural Narratives (Ghosts)--A. Finn
96-54 Ghosts in Family Home (Memorate; Culpepper)--H. DiSandro
97-2   Memorate: Return of Grandfather--R. Caron
97-26 Vienna, Va's Cliff Ghosts--A. Phipps
97-42 Culpepper, VA Ghost Story (black farmhand, white daughter of farmer)--D. Bradford
97-51 Haunted Church: Aquia Episcopal Church--M. Rogenski
97-58 Ouiga Board Stories--R. Caron
97-64 Funeral Home Practical Joke, Woodbridge--T. Brewer

_______ Tues, 6 November _____ Introduction to the Living Tradition of Fairylore
-- In Readings. Read Rieti, Strange Terrain: Fairylore from Newfoundland.  xiv-xvi, 1-18, 52-85.  [Group 4]: 86-100, 110-121 [Group 5] .

DUE 9: Annotated bibliography for Semester Project

_______ Tues, 13 November  _____ Wanderers "in the fairies"________________
Hauntings among the Alaskan Inuit
-- Read in Readings: from Ugiuvangmiut Quliapyuit: King Island Tales, pp. 256-57, 180-207. [GROUP 1]

Fairy Changelings and the Politics of Nation and Gender
-- Readings. Bourke, Angela. 1995. Reading a Woman's Death: Colonial Text and Oral Tradition in Nineteenth-Century Ireland. Feminist Studies 21(3): 553-586. [GROUP 2]

_______ Tues, 20 November __________________________________________
--DUE: Draft of  fieldwork paper for work in class.

--Storytelling: presentation by GMU 1999 graduate Lara Henry on her fieldwork in Ireland on the banshee. Recommended, in NVFA #1997-15 The Banshee: Tales from Ireland--L. Henry

--Introduction to ballads

_______ Tues, 27 November _____ Ballads of the Supernatural _____________
-- Guest lecture: Professor John Burns on "Supernatural Ballads in Scotland"
-- Read handout "Ballads of the supernatural."  From Friedman, The Viking Book of Folk Ballads of the English-Speaking World.  [GROUP ]
-- Read handout: Thomson, People of the Sea. "Songs of the Seals" 211-214.

_______ Tues, 4 December ______ The Selkies of Ireland and Scotland ________
-- Read in Readings: Thomson, People of the Sea. Introduction, 11-14; Chapter 5, 109-131; Chapter 7, 146-160; part of Chapter 8, 171-175; part of Chapter 9, 181-200.

-- Read in Readings the summary of the film The Secret of Roan Inish and the study questions.
--Watch the first half of the film The Secret of Roan Inish by John Sayles before class. Video rental stores have it or view it in the Johnson Center, on reserve. We'll watch second half in class.

DUE: Semester project

_______ Tues, 11 December  __________________________________________
Storyteller: perhaps we'll hear a guest storyteller tonight.


How I compute your grade:

First collection paper    20%
Semester fieldwork paper   30%

Exam Questions (throughout semester) 30%
-- all (approx. 6) questions are of equal value

Class participation    20%
-- includes drafts of Semester fieldwork paper
-- includes Response Papers

To receive a passing grade in the course, you must complete work in each of the above categories. You won't pass the course, for example, if you have passing grades in the rest of your work but neglect to do one of the papers.



1. Response papers and class participation

(A) Response papers. To facilitate discussion, we'll be dividing our class into five groups: Group 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5. The syllabus indicates which group is responsible for which reading. For a "Group 1" reading, for example, members of Group 1 write a Response Paper (see below) on the assigned reading. Everyone else in class is also responsible for reading the assigned text, but I will especially call on members of "Group 1" in class.  Anyone—from any group—may talk about any reading, however.

--When it's your group's turn to hand in a response paper, you'll each answer either two or three (your choice) of these three questions on one sheet of paper, single-spaced:
--1. What do you think was one of the most important ideas in today's reading? (Give page numbers)
--2. What feature of the day's reading interested you the most?  (Give page numbers)
--3. What question would you like to have discussed today concerning this reading?  (Give page numbers, if relevant).

--You may mix and match these questions.  For example, one day you may not have a question you'd like to discuss, so list another most important idea about the reading instead. Or, one day there may not be any difference between the ideas you think are important and those that interested you.  As long as you hand in a page with three developed observations on it, you've fulfilled the assignment.  Please label the titles clearly, though: "most important," ‘interested me," "question."
--Please number your papers: "Group 1, Response Paper #1," "Group 2, Response Paper #1," for example.

--Please make two copies of your replies. When your group has an assignment, be in class a few minutes before class begins. Put one copy on my desk for me. Usually, group members will read each others' papers in the first 5-10 minutes of the class. These Response Papers will help us focus our thoughts in preparation for class; they'll help me follow your progress in the class and give me an indication of the effectiveness of the reading assignments.

-- Full credit. I give full credit to response papers only when they are handed in on time and when you attend the entire class. You will not get credit for your work if you hand in a response paper and then don't attend class. I don't accept late response papers.

(B) Class discussion. My assessment of your participation in class. Also included here at any brief writings that are not exam questions.

2. Exam questions given throughout semester
--Instead of a final exam, I'll be asking you to write what I call "exam questions" throughout the semester. I'll give you two kinds of questions: in-class and take-home.
-- In-class. From time to time, I'll ask you to write for about ten minutes on the reading you've prepared for class that day or for that day and several days before. Sometimes I'll announce the questions ahead of time; other times, I'll just begin or end class by asking you to write.
--Take-home. Other times, the questions will take the form of one-to-two page essays on class readings. I'm using this exam question format because I want to encourage you to keep up with your reading and because I think that these questions, interspersed throughout the semester, reinforce learning better and prepare you for writing your paper than an exam at semester's end would.

How I grade your work:

-- For me, an A means that, in my opinion, you understand all the concepts (for example, twin laws, function, tradition), that you have done an outstanding job in your analysis, and that your prose is free, or almost free, of writing errors.
-- B - I think you understand most of the concepts and you've done a very good job in your analysis. Your writing needs some work.
-- C -  I think you need more work on the concepts and in your analysis, and/or your writing shows a pattern of errors that needs attention.
-- D -  I can see that there's a good deal for you to work on before you understand the concepts we've discussed, and/or your writing shows several patterns of errors that need attention.
-- F -  I haven't received a paper. Or, the paper I've received isn't complete or doesn't address most of the questions. Or, the paper shows evidence of plagiarism.

-- University dates, Fall 2001 (see http://registrar.gmu.edu/acadcal01f.html):
 Last day to drop with no tuition liability (full semester courses only*) September 5
 Last day to add classes by 8 p.m. on September 11
 All individualized section forms due  (full semester courses only*) by 8 p.m. on September 11
 Last day to drop with 33% tuition penalty: by 8 p.m. on September 11
 Last day to drop (full semester courses only*) by 5 p.m. on September 28
 Incomplete work from Spring/Summer 2001 must be due to instructor: October 26
 Last day of classes   December 8

--My late paper/classroom work policy: All papers are due in class, at the beginning of class, on the day of the assignment.  Papers left in my mailbox, papers handed in later that day are late papers. If you talk with me before the day that the paper is due, I will discuss the possibility of your handing in your paper at another time. If you are sick on the day of the paper, call me during office hours or leave a message at #1172. If you contact me in these ways and bring your paper in during the next class, I will not deduct anything from your grade.

If you hand your paper in late, I will take off one letter grade unless you have a doctor's excuse or documentation of a death in the family. All late papers must be in to me within one week of the due date. I make these policies so I can treat all students equally. Also, because our class is large and the writing substantial, I need to have your papers so I can get them graded and back to you in a timely fashion.

If you miss a class, you are responsible for getting notes from and any announcements made in class. Please get the names and numbers of one or two classmates. I can't answer emails asking what we did in class on the day you were absent.

--Exam and oral presentation policy: I re-schedule exams and oral presentations only in the event of illness or a death in the family. If you miss an exam/oral presentation because of illness, have someone call me at #1172 on the due date.  To re-schedule, bring a doctor's excuse and come talk to me.  If you miss an exam/oral presentation due to a death in the family, call me before or on the day of the exam.  To re-schedule, bring me a copy of the funeral bulletin or any other printed document and come talk with me.

--Pre-requisites: Please note that you must have successfully completed three credits of a 100-level English course and six credits of 200-level English courses before taking this class.

--Classroom practices: Please arrange your schedule so that you come to class on time; latecomers searching for places in already crowded classrooms disrupt our conversations. When I determine your discussion grade, I factor in repeated late arrivals and absences. Also, if you bring a cell phone or any other sound-producing equipment to class, please turn it off at the door.

--English Department statement on plagiarism.  Plagiarism means using the words, opinions, or factual information from another person without giving the person credit. Writers give credit through accepted documentation styles such as parenthetical citation, footnotes, or end notes. A simple listing of books and articles at the end of a paper is not sufficient. Plagiarism is the equivalent of intellectual robbery and cannot be tolerated in the academic setting.

--University workload policy: Many GMU students work in order to meet expenses, and each student needs to find an appropriate balance between employment and academic load.  University policy urges students employed more than 20 hours a week to take a part-time academic load (less than 12 hours).  Students employed 40 hours a week should attempt no more than 6 hours. Students whose workload exceeds these limits will not receive consideration from the University for problems arising from the pressures of employment and academic load. Please see section on "Academic Load" in the University catalog.

--Office hours:   I encourage you to come see me during my office hours or any other time I'm in.  You don't have to have a particular reason to visit; just drop by. Sometimes I'm called away to meetings during my office hours; I'll put a note on my door when such an event happens. If you're busy during the hours I've listed, please make an appointment with me.

Outside activities:

 Washington DC houses more folklorists than any other part of the country, so there are a wealth of folklore events--lectures, workshops, exhibits, festivals, fieldtrips, dances, singings, storytellings--throughout the year here sponsored by the Smithsonian Institution, the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Council for the Traditional Arts, the American Folklife Center of the Library of Congress, many local libraries, and others. For their websites and the sites of organizations mentioned below, see "Folklore Links" on my homepage: http://mason.gmu.edu/~myocom.

 Every summer during the last week of June and the first week of July, the Smithsonian sponsors its Festival  of American Folklife on the Mall in DC.  One of the best folklife festivals in the nation, this events brings together traditional performers from across the United States with those from at least one other nation.

 The Folklore Society of Greater Washington sponsors many events by both traditional and revivalist performers--dances several nights a week (square, contra, and international), song and storytelling concerts, gospel sings, sacred harp sings, and story and song-swapping evenings.  They host weekend get-a-ways filled with singing, dancing, and storytelling.  During the third weekend in January and the first weekend in June, they host folk festivals that feature traditional and revival performers. To join the Society and get a monthly newsletter with a list of all local events and/or to get a listing of events coming up, call the Folklore Society of Greater Washington Hotline at 703-281-2228 or access their website.

 The Virginia Folklore Society and the Mid-Atlantic Folklife Association meet once a year.  Here, folklore scholars, students, and those interested in folklore gather to give papers on their research, see new folklore films, talk about what's new in folklore, and enjoy each other's company--often over a good meal.  VFS meets in late fall; MAFA, in the spring. Would you like to give a paper?

 The Northern Virginia Folk Festival Association sponsors a folk festival every other year in Arlington, in the spring.

 The Birchmere in Alexandria and Wolf Trap in Vienna brings in many traditional musicians and musicians who sing in the folk style.

 Every Tuesday night, the Reston Folk Club meets at the Tortilla Factory Restaurant for an evening of open mike folk singing and--once a month--invited guests.

 The Washington Storytellers Theatre, located at the Writers' Center in Bethesda near the Metro and a lot of restaurants, hosts over eight performances a semester, with professional storytellers from the area and across the country. Other storytelling events are often listed by the Post in their Friday Weekend section; check the museum and the children's section.

 The area is also home to over 75 different ethnic groups.  Their festival and events, neighborhoods, craft stores, restaurants, grocery stores, and churches are good places to visit.

 Other events speak of the folklife of the region—harvest festivals, wine festivals, oyster festivals, blossom festivals.  The Post provides a pretty good list in its Friday Weekend section.  See also the posting of events I keep record of on the Folklore Bulletin Board outside the English Department office.

--GMU Storytelling Club. Wednesdays, 8pm. Email President Katy Brown (kbrown1@gmu.edu)