Since 2007 the AFS, the China Folklore Society, and folklore studies institutions in both countries have worked cooperatively to build relationships between folklorists and folklore studies institutions in China and the US.
After four years of preliminary meetings and exchanges, in 2011 AFS received a two-year grant from the Henry Luce Foundation to expand and formalize these relationships. Between 2011 and 2013, with Luce Foundation funding supplemented by support from the Ford Foundation, the Lingnan Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Asian Cultural Council, and the China Ministry of Education, we produced a series of four bilingual conferences (in Guangzhou, Nashville, Wuhan, and Washington, DC) comparing folklore and ICH policy, case studies, field methods, and archiving practices in both countries. We also managed two years of an international exchange program for younger folklorists from both countries.
These activities used the lenses of the field of folklore studies and intangible cultural heritage (ICH) to compare and analyze a wide range of activities in China and the US—supported by government, the private sector, and community-based organizations—intended to sustain tradition-based culture through research, documentation, education, presentation, and conservation.
Then in 2013 the Luce Foundation awarded AFS a further three-year grant to take up a new phase of this work. Between 2013 and 2016, AFS--again working in partnership with the China Folklore Society and in collaboration with a number of institutions in both countries--is managing a program of conferences and professional exchanges for staff at China and US ethnographic museums, and the development of a number of new resources to support, and share information about, folklore studies scholarship in both countries.
Follow these links to download the bilingual program books from our 2011-2014 China-US folklore and ICH conferences:
Conference 1, Guangzhou, November 2011
Conference 2, Nashville, April-May 2012
Conference 3, Wuhan, November 2012
Conference 4, Washington, DC, May 2013
Conference 5, Santa Fe, NM, November 2014
Conference 6, Guiyang, April 2015
For more information on the museum-related activities of the current project, please consult its more detailed project page.