Folklore Theory

From the Editor

The Spring–Summer
2011 issue of Voices
brings readers another
tasty mix of story, ethnography,
and analysis
of New York traditions,
upstate and downstate.
We open with SUNY–Oneonta English
professor Jonathan Sadow’s “Bagels and
Genres,” an insightful and witty musing on
what—in critical theory, as in life—makes a bagel a bagel, from Vegas to Montreal to
New York.


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