Asian Ethnology Podcast

Interview with Frank Proschan: Folklore, Folklife, and Intangible Cultural Heritage

Interviewer: Frank J. Korom, co-editor Asian Ethnology

Recorded 24 March 2018, Washington DC

This episode's guest is Frank Proschan, a consultant in cultural heritage who has worked for the Smithsonian Institution in various capacities including Folklorist and Folklore Specialist. He is also a member of the Asian Ethnology Editorial Board. He was also a Programme Specialist with UNESCO where he was responsible for the scientific and technical aspects of the monitoring and implementation of programs, projects, and activities in safeguarding intangible cultural heritage, in the context of the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage. He discusses his personal and academic background, as well as his professional activities.

Episode Summary

Intro :59

Early interest in anthropology, folklore, and folklife; work at the Smithsonian Institution 2:23

Study at The University of Texas 3:42

Learning and speaking languages; return to the Smithsonian 11:18

Travel to Southeast Asia; programs at the Smithsonian; work on the Kammu 15:19

Move to Indiana University’s Research Center for Semiotics and Language Studies; Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage and “Save Our Sounds” Project (Smithsonian) 21:10

Work at the office responsible for implementing UNESCO’s 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage 26:45

Negative “baggage” related to terms like folklore,” the introduction of “intangible cultural heritage,”and examples from different countries 34:55

Preserving intangible cultural heritage: Issues related to implementation 39:40

Outro 50:21

Music used with kind permission of the performer, shamisen master Koji Yamaguchi.

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