Welcome Message from CFS Director, Dr. Katherine Borland
Greetings Folklorists and Allies,
It is my pleasure to welcome you back to campus (sort of) for what will certainly be an unusual year. The volatility of the virus as well as the upcoming elections promise to keep us on our toes. It will be difficult to predict how our work inside and outside the classroom will go. Given our temporary inability to gather, open and regular communications are more important than ever, communicating our successes but also our challenges. To students—do not be shy about getting in touch with faculty mentors, advisors and staff. We are here for you. I hope all our folklorists will consider this year’s virtual Center for Folklore Studies your touchstone for connecting, for moral support and yes, for conviviality in whatever interesting new forms that may take.
As we begin a new year, we are delighted to celebrate the accomplishments of our most recent alums: Dr. Caroline Toy is Learning Experience Designer at Champlain University in Vermont, Dr. Affie Rezaei and Dr. Ehsan Estiri have joined the folklore faculty at Utah State University, Dr. Rachel Hopkin is currently leading a CFS sponsored podcast “Covid Conversations,” Dr. Cris Johnson, is Senior Federal Consultant at ERPi in Washington, leading a fraud investigation team, and our most recently minted PhDs, Dr. Nathan Young and Dr. Tessa Jacobs, are exploring their possibilities. Good luck Tessa and Nathan!
We also want to welcome our newcomers. We are delighted to have with us Dr. Mary Hufford, public and environmental folklorist extraordinaire, as a two-year Visiting Professor. Although Covid has delayed Mary’s physical arrival, we fervently hope to be rubbing elbows with her very soon. In the meantime, we depend on Zoom, phones and email to bridge our physical distance.
We’re also delighted to welcome Daisy Ahlstone and Zahra Abedinezhad, who are joining us from the Comparative Studies department. And we’re excited to welcome back from the field Sarah Craycraft, Jess Holler and Sydney Varajon. We can’t wait to learn of your fieldworking adventures. Welcome, welcome, welcome all.
Finally, at the risk of sounding PollyAnnish, I want to recall the venerable folktale about a trio of rascally young soldiers, who, with nothing in their pockets, borrow a pot of water and commence to make stone soup, an act that lures the neighborliness out of frightened villagers, who realize that they might have an old carrot or a bit of onion or even a scrawny chicken to throw in the pot. This year, more than ever, we count on you to keep us afloat. In exchange, we offer our gathering place as always (this time in Zoom) and the warm balm of human sociality.