Academic journal article Western Folklore

On Second Thought: Learned Women Refl Ect on Profession, Community, and Purpose

Academic journal article Western Folklore

On Second Thought: Learned Women Refl Ect on Profession, Community, and Purpose

Article excerpt

On Second Thought: Learned Women Refl ect on Profession, Community, and Purpose. Edited by Luisa Del Giudice. (Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 2017. Pp. v + 352, acknowledgements, introduction, notes, references, list of contributors, index. $29.95 paper.)

Luisa Del Giudice, teacher, activist, and independent researcher, was named honorary fellow of the American Folklore Society in 2008, and has spent her career writing, lecturing, and organizing public education projects about italian and italian diaspora narratives and oral histories. This volume includes women across a wider circle of disciplines, cultures, and interests. Contributors were not selected by the usual call for papers but found their way to the project through direct contact with the editor. Consequently, the book feels like a gathering of friends recounting their individual stories about the challenges of maintaining an "embodied integration of head and heart" in the context of professional and academic requirements for publication and service.

Guided by Del Giudice's vision that the book be written for academic audiences, but accessible to the general public, the result is a captivating collection of personal essays from folklorists, activists, anthropologists, artists, historians, memoirists, and writers that is not hindered by academic jargon. What we see as readers are complex and intriguing narratives against the backdrop of scholarly and professional pursuits. For example, Christine Zinni recounts how working in her family's garden and listening to her grandmother's stories encouraged her to write oral histories and fostered an "increased awareness of the longer history of the land," as she worked with indigenous groups around the world. Each author effectively explains the challenges of their personal and professional lives surrounded by institutions that often require impersonal voices.

The authors were asked to "give a second thought" to how they had chosen their current occupations and avocations. …

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