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date: 20 October 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Since the early twentieth century, government agencies (local, county, state, and federal) in the United States have supported public folklore programs whose primary purpose is to identify, promote, celebrate, analyze, and archive the expressive culture (“folklife” or “intangible cultural heritage”) of its residents through ethnographic fieldwork and public programs, and to connect key individuals (“folklife practitioners,” or “tradition bearers”) to agency resources. This chapter chronicles the work of the ethnomusicologist as public folklorist in the United States, explores disciplinary connections between applied ethnomusicology and public folklore, and asks the question “How can an applied ethnomusicologist work meaningfully within the institutional and intellectual framework of public folklore?”

Keywords: public folklorist, public folklore, folklife, intangible cultural heritage, tradition, fieldwork

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