Disturbed Traditions: Memory, Narrative, Race, and Ethnicity in the Anthropocene

Renowned folklorist Barre Toelken once described how, while growing up in one of the small Massachusetts towns that was destroyed in 1938 in order to build the Quabbin Reservoir, members of his local community “and their descendants [continued] to gather near the shore for picnics and nostalgic conversation, and photos from early times there were saved like holy relics” (Toelken 1996, 411). This maintenance of a shared sense of place and local identity in the face of human-induced destruction is not unlike many others that folklorists have documented.

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