Call for Papers:
Folklorists are fallible
(Tartu, Estonia, June 9th-10th, 2017)
Folklorists, just like anybody else, are fallible. This special seminar aims to draw out the patterns of fallibility that folklorists show, and to explore what we might learn from this. In this light, submissions are invited within two major (and possibly overlapping) categories, the mistakes made by the famous researchers of the past and the mistakes we ourselves have made.
Errors may be found at every stage of fieldwork and analysis, including:
- choosing informants,
- presenting oneself in the field,
- being at cross-purposes with one's interlocutors,
- mistaking tone (light-hearted or serious?, literal or metaphoric?),
- misreadings in the archive,
- selecting follow-up questions,
- making judgments about comparability,
- presenting findings to scholarly and general audiences.
The principle underlying the seminar is that the discovery of error is something positive thing that gets us closer to the truth (or at least further from older errors), and that awareness of the limitedness of human knowledge is salutary. Thus, rather than highlighting faults in an effort to undermine the work of folklorists, it seeks to highlight faults in order for us to do our work better, both in terms of treating our own and others' past research more shrewdly and in better planning our own future research. A publication (or a special issue of a journal) to share any findings that may emerge from the event.