Folklore and Resistance Roundtable Recap!

If you missed our Folklore and Resistance roundtable on Sunday, we have fabulous news for you: you can watch the whole thing right here!

We also made a gorgeous PDF of the speaker’s suggested action items, which you can get (and implement immediately) by clicking here!

This good news also applies if you already saw it live and want to watch it again… we definitely will!

We expected the roundtable to be good. We invited people whose work we admire and who we knew could deliver the helpful, positive, powerful messages that are so desperately needed right now.

We just didn’t know how much they were going to bring it!

Seriously, if you haven’t already watched, GO WATCH

And if you enjoyed the conversation, please join us for our upcoming course Rapunzel’s Circle: Folklore and Resistance, in which we will use story to inspire rest, resilience, and action!

Here’s a quick recap of the roundtable:

We (Sara and Brittany) recognized that all stories (and all folklore) are inherently political – maybe especially the ones that people like to insist are not.

Dr. Margaret Yocom spoke about the power of personal narrative, enchanted objects, and fragmentation for resistance. 

Dr. Jeana Jorgensen talked about the power and treachery of storytelling, providing criteria for evaluating a story’s truth and utility. You can actually read her whole presentation on her website by clicking here!

Dr. Maria DeBlassie explained how being in a state of disenchantment disconnects us from hope, while re-enchantment connects us to hope and ourselves. 

Daisy Ahlstone revealed the web that connects ecology and folklore and urged us to understand our own place there.

Terri Windling echoed Marina Warner’s call to occupy narrative and reminded us that stories not only help us understand each other but also grant us real agency.

With the help of our roundtable participants, as well as emails from many of you, we’ve also assembled a bunch of the resources and recommendations mentioned during the roundtable. (Special shoutout to Gypsy Thornton of Once Upon a Blog, who took copious notes and shared them with us!)

Recommendations for queer fairy tales and fantasy –

Kissing the Witch by Emma Donoghue, S.T. Lynn’s Black and trans collections of fairy-tale retellings, Cinderella is Dead by Kalynn Bayron, Ash by Malinda Lo, The Magic Fish by Trung Le Nguyen, Silver in the Wood by Emily Tesh, When the Moon was Ours by Anna-Maria McLemore, Carry On by Rainbow Rowell, In Other Lands by Sarah Rees Brennan, folktale type ATU 514: “The Change of Sex” (you can read Psyche Ready’s excellent MA thesis on the topic here), A Universe of Wishes ed. by Dhonielle Clayton, the Flat Earth series by Tanith Lee, Sword Stone Table edited by Swapna Krishna and Jenn Northington, Ellen Kushner’s Riverside books

Other book recommendations:

  • Kalla and Broockman Science: https://news.berkeley.edu/2020/06/26/want-to-persuade-an-opponent-try-listening-berkeley-scholar-says/
  • Kalla and Broockman “Trans-formation: Testing Deep Persuasion Canvassing to Reduce Prejudice Against Transgender People”: https://dataverse.harvard.edu/file.xhtml?persistentId=doi:10.7910/DVN/WKR39N/IXS2SS&version=3.0
  • The Practice of Everyday Life by Michel de Certeau
  • What is Art For? by Ellen Dissanayake
  • “Objects of Memory” by Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimbiett in Folk Groups and Folklore Genres: A Reader
  • Commons by Myung Mi Kim
  • Charles Simic, “My Shoes”
  • “We’ll Watch Out for Liza and The Kids”: Spontaneous Memorials and Personal Response at the Pentagon, 2001.” by Margaret Yocom: https://margaretyocom.com/publications/articles-on-folklore-and-more (See the “Folk Arts & Politics” section of webpage)
  • Literary Folkloristics and the Personal Narrative by Sandra Dolby Stahl
  • “Tradition” by Henry Glassie in Eight Words for the Study of Expressive Culture edited by Burt Feintuch
  • Entitled: How Male Privilege Hurts Women by Kate Manne
  • “‘Fake Vets’ and Vital Lies: Personal Narrative in a Post-Truth Era” by Kristiana Willsey in the Journal of American Folklore
  • Entangled Life by Merlin Sheldrake
  • Mushroom at the End of the World by Anna Tsing
  • Radical Mycology by Peter McCoy
  • The Multispecies Salon ed. by Eben Kirksey
  • Performing Environmentalisms: Expressive Culture and Ecological Change ed. by John McDowell, Katherine Borland, Rebecca Dirksen, and Sue Tuohy
  • Sustaining Interdisciplinary Collaboration by Regina Bendix, KLilian Bizer, and Dorothy Noyes
  • Folklore Unbound by Sabra Webber
  • Posthuman Folklore by Tok Thompson
  • Ordinary Affects by Kathleen Stewart
  • Humankind: In Solidarity with Non-human People by Timothy Morton

What can you do when you’re too overwhelmed to move the mountains that are in front of you? What do you do when you’re burned out?

Sara – Sometimes you just can’t, and that’s OK. Sometimes you need to rest so that you can recover, recharge, and then get back into the fight. (Brittany added that you need to embrace your inner Sleeping Beauty!)

Jeana – Recommends reading Emily and Amelia Nagoski’s book Burnout to be seen in your burnout. Burnout is systemic, a pattern, you are not at fault for needing rest or needing to back-off. Saying NO is important. Pay attention to your “shoulds.”

Peggy – Play in your head stories of women who have been very important to you in your life (grandmother, teacher/lecturer, friends etc). When I think I can’t do something, I call stories up about those women and it helps.

Maria – Heal our relationship to pleasure, and redefine our relationship to success. It’s easy to get caught in a cycle of overextending yourself for a good cause. Sometimes, part of overwork is a strategy for avoiding certain things that need attention. Part of saying “no” is part of saying “yes” to another part of yourself or what’s important for your integrity of self. Pleasure – true pleasure – can be restorative. 

Terri – As an older woman and one with challenged health, it’s not always possible to be on the front lines anymore, and it’s easy to feel guilty about that. Ellen Kushner once told her that in every war, there are people on the front line, and there are people on the backline making soup for the people on the front line. The people on the front line can’t fight without the soup.

Again, we made a beautiful PDF of the action items recommended by all our participants.

Click here to grab your copy!

It’s so easy to feel overwhelmed and like you have to fix everything, immediately. And so it can be incredibly powerful to remember that all actions, maybe especially small ones, matter… and that you can take one right now.

Lastly, the lovely Deborah Sage wrote this gorgeous poem in honor of the event –

Upon Attending the Folklore and Resistance Roundtable

We have been on this path before.
Through a dark wood on our way to a
House of cake and spun sugar, an
Unscalable tower, a
Glass mountain.

We have met wolf and witch,
Huntsman and helper,
Dragon and dreamer. We have
Hidden in the hollow of a tree,
Found safe haven from evil queens in
Relentless pursuit, and
Danced with fairies while the world
Slept.

We have been fearful and fearless,
We have resolved and resisted. We have
Slipped and slumbered in the shadow
And shelter of night.

Sometimes we have come to a new kingdom,
Sometimes not, but
We know this perilous path of needles,
This thicket of thorns.

We know we come through.

Thank you, again, to all of our roundtable panelists and to our excited and engaged audience. Together, we made this a truly special event.

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