Three university presses share grant from Mellon Foundation for book series in folklore

The University of Illinois Press, the University Press of Mississippi, and the University of Wisconsin Press, in collaboration with the American Folklore Society, have been awarded a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to establish a new book series entitled Folklore Studies in a Multicultural World. The grant funds a collaborative venture by the presses to develop and publish at least eighteen first books in the field of folklore. The grant is part of a larger initiative by the Mellon Foundation to support scholarship in underserved or emerging fields and to support the work of university presses in publishing in these fields.

“Because folklore is a networked discipline connected to many fields and departments, it can sometimes be difficult for good folklore books to find a publishing home,” said Dr. Timothy Lloyd, Executive Director of the American Folklore Society. “This initiative will create opportunities for some of the best work in our field to reach their audiences, thus helping to build a healthy communications ecology in our field.”

This new series will emphasize the interdisciplinary and international nature of current folklore scholarship, highlighting aspects of folklore studies such as world folk cultures, folk art and music, foodways, dance, African American and ethnic studies, gender and queer studies, and popular culture. “In effect, folklorists document the connections between a community and its cultural production,” the Illinois Press noted in announcing the grant. “In a ‘new age’ that tends to appropriate cultural fragments in isolation from their context, folklorists help supply the context and sense of cultural materials.”

With the support of the Mellon Foundation, the presses will organize and sponsor a yearly workshop at the AFS annual conference. These sessions will give invited authors a chance to collaborate intensively on their projects with publishing and scholarly professionals and aid presses in identifying and cultivating the most promising new scholarship. As a means of bringing these books and the series to the attention of scholars and readers beyond the academic field of folklore, the presses plan widespread, interdisciplinary promotion of the funded series and its books through print and electronic media.

Further information on this collaborative initiative, including guidelines for submitting book proposals, is available at