We have a special bonus episode for you this month! In July, TJ Smith, our executive director, was invited to visit China as part of an exchange program hosted by the American Folklore Society. For this episode, hosts TJ and Kami sit down to discuss his trip. As a companion to the interview, TJ has written a blog post about his journey, complete with some great photos. Enjoy!
Back in April, I was contacted by Jessica Anderson Turner, executive director of the American Folklore Society (AFS), and asked if I would be interested in taking part of an ongoing cultural exchange program with AFS’s counterpart in China, the China Folklore Society (CFS). You can read more about AFS and CFS here, but the relationship was started in 2007 to connect folklorists and institutions. For over a decade now, American and Chinese folklorists have been meeting and sharing ideas about the unique and diverse cultures of their respective nations, as well as discussing how to best safeguard and preserve folk traditions.
Folklorists from America and China alternate between institutes and workshops hosted in both countries. To this date, AFS has sent over 60 American folklorists to China to participate in the program, including professional folklorists like our group who serve as faculty to a small number of Chinese graduate students and early-career folklorists.
This year’s folklore summer institute was held at Sun Yet-sen University in Guangzhou, China. Located in southeast China, Guangzhou is the third largest city and a bustling economic center. Sun Yet-sen is a top-tier, international university, and provided a stunning backdrop to the week of the institute. I don’t want to go on too long about this, but I did want to supply some more photos from the trip to provide some visual aids to accompany the podcast.
In preparation for the podcast, TJ interviewed American Folklore Society executive director Dr. Jessica Turner over breakfast at the University Hotel at Sun Yet-sen. Please pardon all the background noise, as they were in a very busy hotel cafe.