Members of the Mason Folklore Community travelled to Ottawa, Canada this past July to participate in the 39th annual Perspectives on Contemporary Legend Conference, hosted by The International Society for Contemporary Legend Research (ISCLR). Graduate student Betty Aquino and alumni Kristina Downs (MAIS ‘07) and Kaitlyn Kinney (MAIS ‘19) presented on contemporary legend narratives.
Betty Aquino was awarded the Dr. David Buchan Student Essay Prize for her paper, “The New Halloween Sadist: The ISIS Sleeper Cell of Northern Virginia,” the prize was created to honor the memory of Dr. David Buchan (1939-1994), leading international ballad scholar. Aquino’s paper focused on a narrative that spread through Northern Virginia in online spaces around Halloween of 2021 and its impacts to the community: “The [ISCLR] committee was taken by the topical analysis of a current narrative in different media, and the interplay of that media across the legend’s various iterations in both private and public channels.”
Kristina Downs is the current Secretary-Editor/Executive Director of the Texas Folklore Society at Tarleton State University and Assistant Professor in the Department of English and Languages. Her paper “Billy the Kid Probably Never Slept Here: Texas’s Not-Dead Outlaw Legends,” considered the influence of the Billy the Kid legend on tourism and downtown revitalization efforts of Hico, Texas. She also examined two similar legends of infamous criminals faking their own deaths and relocating to parts of Texas and discussed the broader frame of outlaw legends. Kristina Downs was also awarded the position of Member at Large, Early Career Scholar, North American by the ISCLR committee.
Kaitlyn Kinney of Folkwise / Wisefolk Productions, LLC. introduced Death with Dignity as a thanatological social movement in her presentation “The Good Death Legend: Brittany Maynard and Thanatodotes in Death with Dignity.” In her paper she explored the repiner narrative, a personal experience narrative that communicates others’ intersubjective traumas of medicalized death or dying.
September 01, 2022