Abstract and Keywords
Seeking remnants of verbal traditions they thought were being lost to industrialization and urbanization, the earliest folklore scholars took to the countryside. Analyzing folk culture in a fuller context, a generation of folklife scholars in the twentieth century set out to identify patterns in the rural landscape in materials, such as traditional artifacts and folk belief, that would illuminate the old traditional way of life and expand the purview of American history. A vital subject requiring more study and that connects to all other aspects of rural culture is traditional farming practices in the agricultural year. With regard to social history, folklife scholars have a critical role in the debate concerning the effect of commercialism on preindustrial farming that have implications for the valuation of family farms, rural communities, and sustainability into the twenty-first century. Among the topics in the rural setting that call for further folklife research are narratives of loss, the creation of local economies, and sense of place.
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