“Fake News” the topic of forthcoming issue of the Journal of American Folklore

Here’s a release from WKU’s Department of Folk Studies and Anthropology about the upcoming release of a special issue of the Journal of American Folklore, edited by WKU faculty in Folk Studies, on the topic of "fake news."

The Editors of the Journal of American Folklore (JAF), currently based in the Department of Folk Studies and Anthropology at Western Kentucky University, are pleased to announce a forthcoming issue on the topic of “fake news.”

The issue is composed of papers presented at a series of four pre-organized panels that examined multiple aspects of “fake news” at the 2017 Annual Meeting of the American Folklore Society. The editors of the Journal of American Folklore saw an important opportunity to get this timely work by folklorists out to a wider audience and approached the presenters about putting together a special issue of the Journal based on these papers.

Readers will encounter a host of familiar topics, like “the Bowling Green Massacre”—of particular interest to the JAF editors, who are based in Bowling Green, Kentucky, the site of this fictitious “massacre”—and the false theory that President Barack Obama was not a U.S. citizen. Readers will also learn about historical examples of “fake news” such as an 1893 “celebrity death hoax” surrounding the man who served as Mark Twain’s guide in Istanbul and about what once seemed to be straightforward “fake news”—articles in the satirical news publication, the Onion. There are examples from beyond the U.S., such as the creation of the fictional Republic of Veyshnoria in 2017 and a phantom “Polish Plumber” blamed for the failure of the French people to ratify the constitution of the European Union in 2005. In these and other articles, folklore scholars are wrangling with how to define “fake news” and how to understand and combat it.

Over the coming weeks, authors, including Timothy H. Evans of Western Kentucky University, will be blogging about their articles at http://www.press.uillinois.edu/wordpress/. The special issue on “Fake News” from the Journal of American Folklore (vol. 131, no. 522) will be available on JSTOR and in print in mid-October.

Published by the University of Illinois Press for the American Folklore Society, the Journal of American Folklore has been in continuous publication since the Society’s founding in 1888. In it are published scholarly articles and other features, notes, and commentaries directed at a wide variety of audiences, as well as separate sections devoted to reviews and obituaries. Materials reviewed in the journal include books, exhibitions and events, sound recordings, films and videos, websites and internet media. The content of the journal reflects a wide range of professional concerns, theoretical orientations, and communicative modes. Its contents are not restricted to folklore in the United States, but also feature international submissions.

For information on the submission process, visit the American Folklore Society at http://www.afsnet.org/?page=JAFContribInfo and the University of Illinois Press at http://www.press.uillinois.edu/journals/jaf/jafsubmissions.html.

The editors of this issue, all based at WKU, are Ann K. Ferrell, Editor-in-Chief; Michael Ann Williams, Co-editor; and Brent Björkman, Erika Brady, Timothy H. Evans, and Kate Parker Horigan, Associate Editors. The co-editorship rotates from among the associate editors and recently rotated to Kate Parker Horigan; Michael Ann Williams remains an Associate Editor. Folk Studies and Anthropology is a department of the Potter College of Arts & Letters.

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