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Benjamin A. Botkin head and shoulders portrait
Folklorist Benjamin A. Botkin, 1926. Photo courtesy of the Botkin family.
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Benjamin A. Botkin Folklife Lecture Series

Through the Benjamin A. Botkin Folklife Lecture Series, the American Folklife Center (AFC) presents distinguished experts speaking about their research and current issues and best practices in folklore, folklife, ethnomusicology, and related fields. Lectures are recorded for the AFC archive and posted on the Library's website. (See below for list of speakers and topics.) The series honors Benjamin A. Botkin (1901-1975), a pioneering folklorist who headed the Library's Archive of American Folksong from 1942-1945.


2015 Botkin Lectures

April 24, 2015
12 noon to 1:00 PM
Whittall Pavilion, Ground Floor, Thomas Jefferson Building

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Terika Dean
Terika Dean
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“A Bourgeois Town”: Lead Belly in Washington, D.C., presented by Terika Dean, Lead Belly Estate and Alvin Singh, Lead Belly Archive.

To celebrate the 125th birthday of the legendary folk singer Huddie "Lead Belly" Ledbetter, American Folklife Center archivist Todd Harvey welcomes Lead Belly family members Terika Dean and Alvin Singh for a discussion about their famous relative, his contributions to American culture and world music, and an overview of the significant Lead Belly materials in the Center’s archive.

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Alvin Singh
Alvin Singh
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Terika Dean is Lead Belly’s great-great niece. Mrs. Dean is a board member for the Lead Belly Foundation and currently works as the Licensing Manager for the Lead Belly Estate. She assisted with the recently opened exhibit "Lead Belly: A Musical Legacy" at the Grammy Museum in Los Angles and the just released CD boxed-set "Lead Belly: The Smithsonian Folkways Collection."

Alvin Singh is an author and entrepreneur who has served as a consultant for Fortune 500 organizations, governments, non-profits organizations and technology start-ups. As historical curator of the Lead Belly Archives, Singh provided material for major Lead Belly exhibits at the Grammy Museum and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Co-author of the book Lead Belly: A Life in Pictures, he currently lives in South Africa.

May 5, 2015
12 noon to 1 PM
Whittall Pavilion, Thomas Jefferson Building

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Goffredo Plastino
Goffredo Plastino
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Alan Lomax in Italy, 1954-1955, presented by Goffredo Plastino, Newcastle University, Newcastle, UK. 

Dr. Goffredo Plastino is a Reader in Ethnomusicology at Newcastle University in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England. He holds advanced degrees from the University of Rome and the l'École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales of Paris, has done fieldwork in Southern Italy and Spain, and published extensively on ethnomusicology, popular music, organology, jazz, and photography. The Chair of the International Association for the Study of Popular Music, he is coeditor of the Routledge Global Popular Music Series, and served as editor for the Italian Treasury in the Alan Lomax Collection (Rounder Records), an annotated CD series culled from a previously unedited recordings collected in Italy by Lomax and Diego Carpitella between 1954-55.

June 10, 2015
12 noon to 1 PM
Whittall Pavilion, Thomas Jefferson Building

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Nathan Salsburg
Nathan Salsburg
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"Listen to Our Story": Alan Lomax, Folk Producer / Folk Promoter, presented by Nathan Salsburg, Association for Cultural Equity.

Alan Lomax is known primarily as a folklorist and a documentarian, terms that suggest that his work was largely in service of the preservation of traditional and vernacular culture. Salsburg, curator of the Alan Lomax Archive at the Association for Cultural Equity in New York, discusses a different aspect of Lomax's career, tracing his many years publishing and presenting folk music through a variety of media—from records to radio to television—and argues that his technological and curatorial savvy were key to the success of his activist mission of "cultural equity." 


Botkin Lecture Series Past Events Archive

Includes descriptions of each lecture, photos, and informational essays from the event flyers. Links to webcasts of lectures are included as available.

2014 Lecture Series

2013 Lecture Series

2012 Lecture Series

2011 Lecture Series

2010 Lecture Series

2009 Lecture Series

2008 Lecture Series

2007 Lecture Series

2006 Lecture Series

2005 Lecture Series

2004 Lecture Series

 

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   April 21, 2015
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