Kindred Spirits

Steve Zeitlin


Zeitlin, Steve. “Downstate: Kindred Spirits.” New York Folklore, vol. 39:1-2, 2013. p. 13.


In my work as a folklorist, I have long realized that we are not so much studying the folks we interview and celebrate, but rather documenting their work and partnering with them. They are not our “informants,” a sorry term often used in the discipline, but our collaborators. We are not “studying them,” but learning from them. Much of my work as a folklorist involves documenting cultural forms, but much of it, too, is about connecting with kindred spirits from other walks of life, and collaborating with them to find creative ways to give out-of-the-mainstream art forms and individuals the attention they deserve.

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