2023 WSFS Annual Conference

University of Nevada, Las Vegas 

Friday and Saturday, April 14-15, 2023

Theme: Folklore, Time, and Temporality

Western States Folklore Society invites you to join us in person at our 81st Annual Meeting, hosted by the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, April 14-15, 2023. The theme for this year’s conference is “Folklore, Time, and Temporality.”

Recent events in the world, ranging from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic to geopolitical conflicts to the ever worsening climate crisis, have brought heightened attention to previously taken-for-granted notions of time. Amidst disruptions in everyday temporalities, perceived relationships between past and present, and shared visions for the future, we have seen the ways in which folklore can serve as a resource for creating, enacting, and mediating alternative temporalities that lay bare the limits of conventional notions of time, as well as our individual and collective relationships with them.

Of course, the clear relationship between time and folklore (both the “stuff” and the field of study) is certainly not unique to this moment. With this theme, WSFS encourages presentations that consider the rich, dynamic relationship between folklore and time. Possible topics addressing this theme could include, but are certainly not limited to, cultural temporalities (cyclical, linear, etc.), queer temporalities, longue durée, deep time, ephemerality, “time out of time” in festival and ritual, life cycles, calendar customs, objects of memory, eschatologies, temporal contexts of performance, temporal elements of narration, and aesthetic dimensions of temporality.

As always, while presentations on this theme are encouraged, they are not required: we welcome all presentations on folklore-related topics for this conference. Participants may submit proposals for individual papers, forums, workshops, media presentations, or to propose new presentation formats. This year, participants also have the opportunity to submit individual proposals to be part of one of these panels with more specific themes (though this is not required):

  • Panel Title: Circles of Salt: Suspension and Protection in Ritual and Narrative
    Panel Format: Regular Paper Panel
    Chair: Kristiana Willsey (

  • Panel Title: Folklore During the Anthropocene: Navigating Forward During Perilous Times
    Format: Regular Paper Panel
    Chair: Tok Thompson (

  • Panel Title: Temporal Disruptions: “QBIPOC Time(s) as Social Resistance”
    Format: Regular Paper Panel
    Chair: Rachel González-Martin (

  • Panel title: Occupational Cultures and Las Vegas
    Format: Regular Paper Panel
    Chair: Montana Miller (

  • Panel title: The Folklore of Democracy: Tradition, Practice, and Democratic Values
    Format: Regular Paper Panel
    Chair: Anthony Bak Buccitelli (

  • Panel title: Expressive Culture of Death
    Format: Diamond Session
    Chair: Sheila Bock (

See here for the abstracts for each of these panels.

If you would like your proposed presentation to be considered for inclusion in one of these panels, be sure to identify the title of the panel in your email when you submit your abstract.

When you submit your abstract, we ask that you use the following format: LAST NAME, First Name (Affiliation in parentheses). Title in boldface. Abstract text (100-150 words only) in regular typeface (not bold). (Your email address, enclosed in parentheses) 

The deadline for submitting abstracts for presentations has been extended to  February 20, 2023. Please submit a short (100-150 word) abstract by email to

Important: when submitting your abstract, you must also pay the appropriate registration fee. See the Registration page for further information and to submit the fee via PayPal. If you prefer, you may submit the fee by check directly to Western States Folklore Society at the address given on the Registration page.              

Sample abstract:

JORDAN-SMITH, Paul (Western States Folklore Society). Of Black Holes, Virality, Uncertainty, and Incompleteness. Science, technology, history, and other scholarly disciplines are rich resources for generating folk idioms. By implicitly referencing their academic sources, such idioms self-justify, thereby establishing and extending their usage—just as do contemporary legends and other folk genres. This paper addresses how certain everyday idioms result from simplifying, broadening, distorting, or ignoring their original and narrower technical and historical meanings. Such sociolinguistic mechanisms may reveal underlying world views and transient attitudes like those described by Lakoff and Johnson. Here I explore a few quasi-scholarly idioms in light of Oring’s critique of memetics as well as more traditional approaches to an understanding of their creation, function, and use in everyday discourse. (

These abstract guidelines are also available on the Meetings page on the WSFS website. Registration fee information is available on the Registration page

The 2023 Archer Taylor Lecture will be given by Amy Shuman, Professor at the Center for Folklore Studies at The Ohio State University.