Abstracts from PSAC, 1998 

Space and Place in the Occupation of Tree Planting
by John Bodner (MUN)

This paper outlines the dual effects of work technique and space as a social construction in the shaping of an occupational folk group. Of central importance is the question of how the tradition (as both a conservative and dynamic force) of tree planting is re-created by young seasonal workers from year to year. It will be argued that the study of occupational groups needs to be broadened beyond considerations of technique to include the study of workers' environment (both that which they create/control and that in which they operate with only a limited degree of agency.) Studying both the skills involved in free planting as the "central shaping principle of an occupation," and the spatial arrangement of the camp in which the tree planters live, addresses issues of innovation, invention, and continuity.

Talking About the National Museum and Folksong Research in Newfoundland: "Who is Margaret Sargent Anyway?"
by Anna Keamey Guigne (MUN)

In 1949, having recently graduated from the Toronto Conservatory of Music with a degree in Musicology, Margaret Sargent joined the National Museum of Canada. She worked for two years transcribing material from Marius Barbeau's wax cylinder recordings.  During this period, on behalf of The National Museum, in 1950 Sargent also conducted fieldwork in Newfoundland, Canada's newest province.  Her work was later taken over by Kenneth Peacock.

Today little is known of Sargent's activities while in the province.  Some suggest that she collected very little because she was so inexperienced.  Drawing on frrsthand documentation from Sargent as well as correspondence of the period, I examine her motivations for going to ewfoundland and her findings in relation to folklore studies of the period.  In so-doing I re-evaluate Sargent's contribution to Folklore Studies in Canada.

The Hazards of the Global Village: An Examination of E-mail Virus Hoaxes as Contemporary Urban Legends
by Kristin M. Harris (MUN)

This paper will examine the phenomenon of the computer e-mail virus hoax as it exists in our technologically entrenched society.  With increased and widespread use of the World Wide Web in our lives, concerns about use and misuse of this technology prevail.  Buzzwords and symbols such as "global village; "surfing the net" and :) are part of a codified language that has invaded our everyday sensibilities.  Thus it is not at all surprising that urban legends about e-mail viruses such as "Penpal Greetings" and "Join the Crew" exist.  Along with all the advantages that this advanced technology brings, new fears about dominance and dependence arise.  This paper will discuss the use of the word "virus" as a metaphor for the fear of medical viruses that has taken hold of contemporary society, and analyze the ramifications of these contemporary legends on the culture of the Internet.

'You Don't Have to be Filmish': The Toronto Jewish Film Festival
by Mikel S. Koven (MUN)

Are film festivals true festivals as folkiorists understand the term?  Some folkiorists shy away from viewing festivals whose focus is popular culture oriented, seeing instead a commercialization factor as replacing the expression of the community itself (Stoelje, 1992, 261-262; Abrahams, 1982, 171).  Through this paper, I shall be outlining the many ways in which the Toronto Jewish Film Festival community is indeed a festival, and could even be classified as a "nativistic movement."  For here is a festival developed by, run by, and attended by members of the Toronto Jewish community, with the specific affect to be part of a city-wide cultural revival.  Film, for this festival, is just the medium of cultural transmission that was chosen.

The Make-Workers Behind the Label: The Hibernia Offshore Oil Development and Oppositional Newfoundland Identity
by Lara Maynard (MUN)

The application of the "make-work" label to the Hibernia Offshore Oil Development and its broader association with Newfoundland has been lamented as being akin to the Newfie joke.  This paper relays the comments of Newfoundland workers involved with the Construction phase of the Hibernia offshore platform on the label and then considers how their responses rely on ideas of oppositional identity, including the dichotomies of "have" and "have not" Canadian provinces, and Newfoundland and the "mainland" other.

'Following the Swallow': How a Folksong Took Off
bu Neil V. Rosenberg (MUN)

""She's Like the Swallow," a lyric folksong that has been documented from oral tradition only four times since it was first collected in Newfoundland by Maud Karpeles in 1930, is, in spite of its relative rarity in local singing traditions, one of the best-known Newfoundland folksongs in Canada.  The reasons for this popularity lie in the ways in which it has been presented in print and on record. After describing the ethnographic data and suggesting a possible "Ur-form", this paper examines the song's media history.  Showing how both text and tune of the two variants presented in the media have been recast from their original ethnographic forms for publication, it discusses its art song and folk revival histories.  The aesthetic and ideological changes it has undergone are discussed in terms of issues of region and class in the uses of folk song for purposes of symbolic identity.

Words of Wisdom: Accident Narratives in a Pulp and Paper Mill
by Contessa Small (MUN)

In this paper I will discuss occupational accident narratives collected from Corner Brook, Newfoundland pulp and paper mill workers.  Relying mostly on personal experience accident narratives, I will introduce issues related to death, danger, safety and survival in the workplace, and address how mill workers actively and passively participate in accident narration in order to socially and personally deal with these issues.  I claim that the abundance of first and second hand accounts of accident narratives not only indicates worker awareness of this potential danger in the workplace, but also points to strategies for handiing this potential.  Characteristics and classification of the death narrative, the injury narrative and the close call narrative will also be provided along with illustrations of each type.

'I Could Just Go On and On (and On!)': An Analysis of Annual Christmas Letters
by Diane Tye (MUN)

Writers of annual Christmas letters come from a broad cross section so that their expressions differ markedly in content, structure and language.  Authors draw on conventions that range from poetry and religious symbolism to humour and cynicism; messages may be explicitly expressed or coded.  Yet in their reporting of physical, social, emotional and spiritual journeys, letters externalize inner challenges and affirm ties to kin and community. 

Abstract from Taste, Texts and Markets the 1998 IASPM-Canada Conference

Garage Sales and Ice Cream: Marketing Classical Music to Popular Audiences in Austin
by Holly Everett (MUN) 

KMFA-89.5 FM is a listener-supported, non-profit classical music station broadcasting out of Austin, Texas, a city better known for its popular music (e.g., "Austin City Limits").  Now in its thirtieth year of operation, KMFA has gone from fewer than 100 member/supporters to over 6,500, each of these pledging annual financial support.  Throughout its history, the station's board of directors, staff and listeners have wrangled over the station's mission, not to mention the very definition of "classical music."  While current programing continues to focus on compositions in the Western classical tradition, it also collapses cultural hierarchy culture/popular culture) by including Broadway show tunes, "traditional" fare by ensembles such as the Chieftains, and orchestral arrangements of songs by groups like The Beatles, in order to capture a broader audience.  

In the mid 1990s, KMFA hired a development director to increase not only the station's revenue, but also its public profile.  A number of events, including garage sales and old-fashioned ice cream socials, were staged to increase interaction between station personnel and listeners.  While, publicly, KMFA pursued a larger share of Austin's radio market, competing with two other public radio stations, internal constructions of the station's mission were crashing and, in many cases, crumbling. 

Abstract from the 1998 Women's Studies Conference

Playing Out Female Sexuality: An Analysis of Women's Shower Games
by Contessa Small and Diane Tye (MUN)

Based on interviews, participant observation, and archival documentation, this paper explores games played at home-based wedding and baby showers held in Newfoundland.  Here we argue that games incorporating implicitly sexual talk and joking or the mimicry of sexual acts are a traditional form of female bawdy humour.  Relying on folklorist Joan Radner's theory of feminist coding, we show how shower games not only help bond party participants but help celebrate. 


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 version 2001