The Journal of Folklore Research welcomes theoretical and comparative studies on any aspect of folklore, folklife, and ethnomusicology. Papers should be based on field observation and/or analysis of archived or published texts of known provenance. Texts should be treated in their social, cultural, ethnographic, and/or historical contexts. Papers should also engage with the scholarly literature in folklore or ethnomusicology.

In addition to regular articles, we also have the following occasional departments:

  • Encounters with Folklore: Pieces in this section address issues of fieldwork in a briefer and more reflexive vein than the traditional scholarly article.  Submissions on folkloric or ethnomusicological traditions that are under-represented are encouraged. As with all other sections of the journal, work by minority scholars, broadly defined, is especially welcome.   The journal is particularly interested in work that deals with ethics, methods, and issues of reciprocity for this section.   
  • Critical Pasts, Critical Paths:  JFR will be continuing its occasional section, “Critical Pasts, Critical Paths,” (formerly titled, “In Retrospection”), in which three or more scholars offer shorter contributions, (roughly 2,500 words), taking a fresh look at seminal works or figures.  The goal is not only to situate the scholar or contribution in their original contexts, but also to discuss their lasting and/or newfound applicability today. These offerings are also an opportunity to highlight foundational works in folklore and related fields that may have been overlooked or need a second glance. These explorations may also include, besides traditional “texts,” critical analysis of collections or productions of influential films, musics, body of works, performances, or material culture.  Thus, contributions by key figures, defined broadly to also include artists and/or community scholars, may be explored through a range of content.  We strongly encourage collaborative proposals curated by colleagues interested in pursuing an offering for “Critical Pasts, Critical Paths.” 
  • Translations: We accept translations of works previously published in another language into English. Other offerings in translation that may of interest to the journal’s readership will also be considered.  

Materials in the following departments receive internal editorial review but not external peer review:

  • Dialogues: It is our hope that the journal stimulates thought, debate, and criticism among our readers, and from time to time we publish commentaries and critiques of work recently published in our pages. On these occasions we also extend to the original authors the opportunity to make rejoinders.
  • Forums: a series of papers on a topic of contemporary theoretical or professional importance, followed by invited responses by experts.

Special Issues: JFR occasionally publishes peer-reviewed special issues devoted to a single topic of interest to the field. Folklorists and ethnomusicologists interested in proposing special issues should contact the Editors with a detailed outline.

Authors are also welcome to submit thematically linked manuscripts (such as those that originated as part of a conference panel) without the mediation of a guest editor. Please note that these manuscripts should be fully developed scholarly articles­—substantially more robust than conference papers—and that they will be evaluated individually. JFR reserves the right to accept or reject individual manuscripts and cannot promise that related articles will be published together in the same journal issue.

Book Series:  JFR has an exciting partnership with Indiana University Press that produces a book series, Encounters: Explorations in Folklore and Ethnomusicology.  Many of the volumes in this series, like The Legacy of Dell Hymes (2015); UNESCO on the Ground (2015); The Stigmatized Vernacular (2016); and The Faces of Tradition in Chinese Performing Arts (2020); were once special issues of JFR