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Benjamin A. Botkin head and shoulders portrait
Folklorist Benjamin A. Botkin, 1926. Photo courtesy of the Botkin family.

Benjamin A. Botkin Folklife Lecture Series

Through the Benjamin A. Botkin Folklife Lecture Series, the American Folklife Center (AFC) presents distinguished experts speaking about their research and current issues and best practices in folklore, folklife, ethnomusicology, and related fields. Lectures are recorded for the AFC archive and posted on the Library's website. (See below for list of speakers and topics.) The series honors Benjamin A. Botkin (1901-1975), a pioneering folklorist who headed the Library's Archive of American Folksong from 1942-1945.

2015 Botkin Lectures

December 5, 2015 (Saturday)
1:00-2:30 pm
Coolidge Auditorium, Thomas Jefferson Building, Library of Congress

Couples dancing in eighteenth century costume.
English traditional dance. Photo provided by the Country Dance and Song Society.

The Playford Assembly: Celebrating the 100th Anniversary of the Country Dance and Song Society with Lecture, Music and Dancing

Dance historian Graham Christian will discuss his new book, The Playford Assembly, a major new collection of historic English dances published by the Country Dance and Song Society (CDSS) in celebration of their centennial year. Christian's talk will be enhanced by demonstrations of the dances by CDSS dancers and musicians. The Playford Assembly (a follow-up to the seminal 1990 collection The Playford Ball, also published by CDSS) features 125 historical dances, edited for use by contemporary dancers and dance leaders. Reflecting recent scholarship, it revives many of the older dances based on the advice of a committee convened by the author. He will discuss his selection process and the history of English country dance in England and the United States, as well as cultural aspects of the era in which the dances were created.

Graham Christian
Graham Christian

Graham Christian is a dance historian, English dance leader, choreographer, director, and musician from Amherst, Massachusetts. He holds a doctorate in 17th century English literature from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. He is also a librarian who holds a master’s degree in Library and Information Science from Simmons College. In addition to The Playford Assembly, he writes the dance history column "Tell Me More" for the CDSS News, appears as a caller for English Country dances all over the U.S., and is a frequent presenter at academic conferences on the history of social dance.

Botkin Lecture Series Past Events Archive

Includes descriptions of each lecture, photos, and informational essays from the event flyers. Links to webcasts of lectures are included as available.

2014 Lecture Series

2013 Lecture Series

2012 Lecture Series

2011 Lecture Series

2010 Lecture Series

2009 Lecture Series

2008 Lecture Series

2007 Lecture Series

2006 Lecture Series

2005 Lecture Series

2004 Lecture Series


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   November 4, 2015
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