Annual Meetings

The Western States Folklore Society (formerly California Folklore Society) holds Annual Meetings to encourage professional and amateur folklorists to meet each other, present papers, and engage in discussions of all aspects of folklore and folklife. The Meetings, usually held on a weekend in April and extending from Friday through Sunday morning, are hosted by different colleges or universities throughout the western states from the Rockies to the Pacific.

Presentations and abstracts: Members and nonmembers alike can present papers. Papers are presented in sessions with other papers and need to follow the session schedule. Single-paper presentations should run no longer than 20 minutes (about 2,000 words, or 8-10 double-spaced pages, max.). We strongly recommend that authors read their final versions aloud before presentation, to make sure they will not run over the limit. Abstracts must be 100-150 words in length (not including your name, presentation title, and email address) and must be accompanied by a registration fee.

You can email abstracts to the Abstract Review Committee at abstracts@westernfolklore.org. You will receive acknowledgment that your abstract has been submitted.

Here is a sample abstract from the 2019 Annual Meeting:

ECHEVERRIA, Begoña. (University of California, Riverside). “Basque folklore as feminist fodder.” This paper analyzes the first collections of folktales published in the Basque language, which have yet to be systematically categorized according to the ATU Index: Cerquand’s Ipar Euskal Herriko Legenda eta Ipuinak (1875-1876) and Webster’s Basque Legends: Collected, Chiefly in the Labourd (1879; published in the original Basque in 1993). Specifically, I examine Basque verses of “Bluebird,” “The Name of the Supernatural Helper,” “The Blinded Ogre,” “Sacrifice on the Bridge,” “The Animal as Bridegroom,” “The Maiden Who Seeks Her Brothers” and “The Gifts of the Little People.” I show that, in sharp contrast to the restricted and negative portrayals of female characters in other genres of Basque literature (songs and religious texts) female characters take up a wide variety of roles and identities in these tales. As such, they lend themselves to feminist reinterpretations of Basque culture and identity.

Registration fees: Special discount rates are available for regular members, student/retired/limited income members, and student/retired/limited income nonmembers. Nonmembers who join the Society at the time of registration are eligible for membership benefits, including reduced registration fees and a subscription to Western Folklore; see the Publications page for information about the journal.

Student Travel Stipend:The Society awards up to three stipends of $250 each to help students presenting a paper to defray travel expenses to the annual meeting. Known as the Elliott Oring Student Travel Stipend, the awards are given to students on the basis of their submitted abstracts as well as the distance they must come to present their papers.

Archer Taylor Lecture: One important event in the Society’s Meetings is the invitational Archer Taylor Lecture Series, given by a folklorist of note. Many lectures are subsequently published in the Society’s journal, Western Folklore. In 2020, the Archer Taylor Lecture will be given by Dan Ben-Amos. For a list of previous lectures, visit the Archer Taylor page: