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Mar 28, 2011

Call for Papers for Grad Conference at GMU


Jason Morris sent this promising conference announcement:

Ecological Inequalities and Interventions:
Contemporary Environmental Practices

The Cultural Studies Student Organizing Committee (SOC) of George Mason University invites paper proposals for our 5th annual Cultural Studies Graduate Student Conference. The Conference will take place on Friday, September 23, 2011 at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia.

Call for Papers

“Since most of history’s giant trees have already been cut down, a new Ark will have to be constructed out of the materials that a desperate humanity finds at hand in insurgent communities, pirate technologies, bootlegged media, rebel science and forgotten utopias.”
(Mike Davis, “Who Will Build the Ark?”, New Left Review, January 2010)

The current and future impacts of ongoing, globalized environmental crises have animated scholars, activists, and professionals from a wide variety of disciplines and backgrounds and generated a burgeoning field of work that seeks to come to grips with the ecologies of the present as well as the possible ecologies of the future. This conference will provide a forum for emerging scholars and practitioners involved in cultural studies, environmental studies, the arts and humanities, public policy, political ecology and related fields to engage in conversations regarding contemporary and prospective environmental practices and politics.

We seek to engage in efforts to develop a deeper understanding of human interventions – in the forms of work, art, and politics – into the environment. We also wish to examine the ways in which concepts such as “nature” and “human practice” inform, articulate with and determine one another.  “Ecological Inequalities and Interventions: Contemporary Environmental Practices” will offer an appropriately interdisciplinary forum for work in this emerging area of inquiry.

Possible paper topics include:

·      Environmental activism: past, present, and future

·      Labor, Nature and Culture

·      Marxism and Ecology

·      Ecology as critique and self-critique

·      Creative expression and Ecology

·      Neoliberalism and Discourses of Sustainability

·      Ecology and the Politics of the Global South

·      Environmentalism and Citizenship

·      Green economies

·      Academic interventions and public policy

We welcome proposals for traditional academic paper presentations, as well as alternative formats such as panel discussions, workshops, and film screenings. In addition we hope to publish select conference papers in an edited volume or curated journal issue.

Abstracts of 300 words and a current CV should be sent to Jason Morris (jmorrisf AT masonlive DOT gmu DOT edu) by 15 May 2011. Please include the title, presenter’s name, institutional affiliation, contact information, A/V requests and any other special needs required. Abstracts should be sent as .doc, .rtf or PDF file attachments.

Mar 24, 2011

Get a (folk)life: How folklore research helped an arts agency


A really fabulous article on the great work done on cultural asset research by folklorists Sarah Bryan and Sally Peterson:

After a two year process and eight months of research funded by a $15,000 contract, an arts council for Wilmington and New Hanover County is around the corner. The city has already agreed to appropriate funds for the council if the county takes the first step.  This month, there will be a County Commission meeting to decide that.

Folklorists aren’t usually asked to conduct this kind of cultural asset research, but the method shows great promise. Mr. Martin says that the North Carolina Arts Council has already shared their work on this project with their counterparts in Kentucky and adds that they would be happy to share with others.

Imagine the possibilities, though—what else can folklorists help us with? Stay tuned for more about how folklorist research can interact with more than just traditional arts, and can become a tool for cultural advocacy, tourism and business councils, and region-specific grantmaking institutions.

Mar 24, 2011

Maryland Traditions Session at UMBC


Good stuff from my old gang!

Introducing “Maryland Traditions”

A Panel Presentation on Sustaining Living Traditions

Wednesday, March 30, 2011 · 4:00 PM – 6:00 PM

Join us for a conversation with representatives of Maryland’s only statewide program to sustain living traditions through documentation and presentation. MD Traditions folklorists from Western MD, Eastern Shore, and the Capitol region share their efforts.

Mar 22, 2011


Interesting and helpful project based principles for sustainable design from The Living Principles that incorporates cultural sustainability into the process:

Every day, our world gets a little bit smaller and a lot more complex. So much so that even minor decisions can have major consequences. And not just for trees or frogs or polar bears, but for human lives. And livelihoods.

This we know: the planet will go on without us. But we cannot go on without it. At its core, sustainability is about people. In order to promote a healthy planet, we must start with a healthy society. Not just sharing the wealth, but redefining the word.

The Living Principles for Design framework is a catalyst for driving positive cultural change. It distills the four streams of sustainability – environment, people, economy, and culture – into a roadmap that is understandable, integrated, and most importantly, actionable. Designers, business leaders, and educators can use The Living Principles to guide every decision, every day.

We at the MACS program at Goucher have been primarily concerned with developing programs and approaches to activities that help foster cultural self determination and expression. How designers can serve in such projects, or how such projects can articulate with design initiatives at different levels is a profound question.

Mar 18, 2011

Culture, Metaphors, Consumption


Nice open access article by Rick Wilk on Culture and consumption:

In this article I ask how deeply consumer culture has become embedded in contemporary American society. I suggest that we need to begin with greater conceptual clarity, particularly on terms that are part of the very phenomenon we are trying to study—consumption and freedom, for example. Metaphor theory helps to distinguish between folk concepts and analytical categories as a basis for understanding why consumption is so central, so deeply embedded in fundamental concepts of family, gender, individualism, ethnicity, and nationality. It also helps reveal inconsistencies in environmentalists’ ideas about freedom, individual action, and the role of the state in regulating consumption. The article concludes with the deliberately provocative argument that “sustainable consumption” is not the best way to phrase or frame the goals of reducing the amount of energy and materials used and wasted in the United States.

Mar 10, 2011

Conference Call and Open House for Goucher Cultural Sustainability Program Prospective Students


Open House and Conference Call

Culture doesn’t always fit inside a glass case.

Goucher’s limited-residency master’s program in cultural sustainability empowers today’s activists with real-world tactics for preserving and enriching the identity of communities at risk.

We invite you to learn more about our groundbreaking degree program by attending an upcoming information session or joining a conference call.

Information Session
Saturday, April 2, 2011
2 – 4:30 p.m.
Batza Room in the Athenaeum
Goucher College
1021 Dulaney Valley Rd
Baltimore, MD 21204

RSVP now to or 800-697-4646

Click here for directions to Goucher.

If you can’t attend the information session, consider joining our upcoming conference call.

Conference Call
Thursday, March 10, 2011
5 p.m.

Once you RSVP for the conference call, you will be sent a conference call code.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Mar 10, 2011

New Cultural Sustainability Institute at Vermont Folklife Center!


Our friends at the Vermont Folklife Center are launching an exciting series of workshops and gatherings this Spring:

We are launching the Cultural Sustainability Institute this spring with a workshop series that explores the concept of cultural sustainability, and provides participants practical training in ethnography and oral history, the use of audio, video and photography documentation in cultural sustainability projects, and the creation of community cultural inventories. These workshops are open to the general public, students, educators, scholars, staff of non-profit organizations, policy makers, and others interested in better understanding their communities and the larger world around them. The first workshop, “An Introduction to Cultural Sustainability” will be held on Friday April 8, 2011 from 10:00am-3:00pm. The workshop series runs through November 2011.

For more information on the Cultural Sustainability Institute, including detailed descriptions of workshops, please visit online at:

Mar 3, 2011



A terrific young photographer Pari Dukovic, recently shared his work around Kirkpinar with me. A few things are worth noting about this. First Pari’s images are really incredible, and his efforts to document and celebrate this tradition are admirable. I like how he is using Kickstarter

to finance his effort to return for a documentation of the 650th (official) anniversary of this event. Finally, this UNESCO recognized tradition itself is remarkable in its longevity and history and reminds us of the cultural depth and diversity of athletics.

Feb 23, 2011

Eight Principles of Uncivilisation from the Dark Mountain Project


From the Dark Mountain Project:

  1. We live in a time of social, economic and ecological unravelling. All around us are signs that our whole way of living is already passing into history. We will face this reality honestly and learn how to live with it.
  2. We reject the faith which holds that the converging crises of our times can be reduced to a set of‘problems’ in need of technological or political ‘solutions’.
  3. We believe that the roots of these crises lie in the stories we have been telling ourselves. We intend to challenge the stories which underpin our civilisation: the myth of progress, the myth of human centrality, and the myth of our separation from ‘nature’. These myths are more dangerous for the fact that we have forgotten they are myths.
  4. We will reassert the role of story-telling as more than mere entertainment. It is through stories that we weave reality.
  5. Humans are not the point and purpose of the planet. Our art will begin with the attempt to step outside the human bubble. By careful attention, we will reengage with the non-human world.
  6. We will celebrate writing and art which is grounded in a sense of place and of time. Our literature has been dominated for too long by those who inhabit the cosmopolitan citadels.
  7. We will not lose ourselves in the elaboration of theories or ideologies. Our words will be elemental. We write with dirt under our fingernails.
  8. The end of the world as we know it is not the end of the world full stop. Together, we will find the hope beyond hope, the paths which lead to the unknown world ahead of us.
Feb 21, 2011

Snark meets high theory and cuteness


We can do better.


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Goucher's MA in Cultural Sustainability provides students with the training to identify, protect, enhance and work effectively with communities around what makes them unique: their traditions, ways of life, cherished spaces, and vital relationships to each other and the world. Read More

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