New Position, New Conference, New Friends, New Book!

It’s been a minute since I posted, but I’m at the American Folklore Society’s annual meeting this week. All of the activity on Twitter has inspired me to re-commit to connecting with colleagues and communities via this web presence. This is part of a broader effort to re-connect, post-dissertation, with more popular forms of writing and more diverse audiences than just the academy. However, I do need to start with an important detail: Claflin University has generously provided the necessary leave and support for me to be here. For that and so many other forms of support, I am truly grateful. My first couple of months at Claflin have been fantastic, and my family’s first several weeks in Orangeburg have also placed us in a warm and welcoming community.

I have come to participate in a pre-conference workshop co-sponsored by the university presses at Mississippi, Illinois, and Wisconsin with funding from the Andrew Mellon Foundation. It’s been a very exciting and fulfilling day. The workshop involved six authors this year, all of whom provided meaningful feedback to each other on our respective projects. It also involves senior folklorists as mentors and the acquisitions editors at these three university presses. I am so grateful to the folks at University of Illinois Press for their interest in my project and to the FSMW team for putting on this tremendous workshop. I look forward to our reception tomorrow afternoon as well, which will provide further opportunities to build networks across disciplines.

The new friends, colleagues, and acquaintances include those recently added to my Twitter feed, but rather than creating a chain of suggestions for following, I encourage motivated readers to participate in the conversation themselves.

Ultimately, this workshop and this conference point toward a book project that grows out of my dissertation and the subsequent work that I continue to do on that project. In case you’re new to this forum, it’s all about music and wellness in Uganda. Stick around in the coming months for more as that project and other new interests develop close to our new digs!


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