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Conference: 42nd International Ballad Conference of the Kommision für Volksdichtung, Akyaka, Turkey, 7-13 October 2012‏


42nd International Ballad Conference

of the Kommision für Volksdichtung

7-13 October, 2012, Akyaka, Türkiye

The Hacettepe University Center for Traditional Musical Culture

Invites submissions for papers for the 42 nd International Ballad Conference of the Kommission für Volksdichtung.

The conference will be held in Akyaka, from 7 October to 13 October, 2012. Akyaka is a small town in the Gökova region in the province of Muğla in the southwest of Turkey by the Mediterranean Sea. It is renowned for its warm climate, idyllic beaches, green nature, natural creeks and traditional architecture. Due to its advantageous location, natural beauties and ancient treasures, Akyaka was declared cittaslow by the International Coordinating Committee.

Conference theme

“Symbols in Folk Songs and Ballads”

The 42nd International Ballad Conference will focus on symbolic structures, and the motifs that underlie them, in folk songs and ballads. The motivation of our decision on this theme is that Turkish folk songs are decorated and constructed with the distinctive and deep-rooted symbols.

Folk songs whose basic function is carrying culture from one generation to another are often created in oral cultures and transmitted orally. During this transmission process some parts of the songs remain relatively stable, usually those related to poetic form: verse structure and meter, rhymes and refrains.

But oral poetry and folk song are not only comprised of form. They are rich in symbols and meanings created by shifting patterns of language, motifs and imagery, patterns that are given depth by the cultural contexts in which the songs are sung, transmitted and revived.

Within folk songs and ballads, a color, a smell, a sound, an action or an object, may become a symbol, imbued with a meaning beyond its literal signification. Symbolism is a multi-layered process, which creates relationships between singer and song, singer and audience, composer and culture, relationships as complex as human behavior itself. By focusing on the ever-changing cultural contexts of this symbolic process, we will investigate such issues as continuity, function and meaning, communication and expression, contexts and ownership.

Papers are invited on:

· Symbols and symbolic meaning in folk songs and ballads (these may be mythological, cultural, national, mystical, magical, regional and local, psychological, etc.);

· Contemporary manifestations of symbolic structures in ballad performance;

· Contemporary cultural dynamics: relations, interactions and transformations between different singing traditions with regard to symbolic meanings;

· Symbols as universal archetypes or cultural constructs;

· Song symbolism in relation to that found in other literary genres;

· Symbolic relations between folk songs and material culture.

We also welcome papers on any aspect of song and ballad studies.

Paper will be accepted in one of the official languages of the Kommision für Volksdichtung: English, French, German.


Submission is invited by 15 March 2012. Abstracts will be peer-reviewed.

· Paper should follow the theme of the conference

· Abstracts (up to 300 words) should give the reviewers a closer idea of the intended paper

· The author’s name, title, address, affiliation and contact details should also be provided, along with a brief account of the author’s career and research interests

· It is intended that a selection of the papers will be published

· Please submit abstracts within an e-mail,or as a Word attachment, to:

Gülay Mirzaoğlu or

Zehra Kaderli

(If you do not receive e-mail acknowledgment of your submission, please resend)

The decision about the acceptance of papers will be made by 15 April 2012