Programming the Smithsonian Folklife Festival: National Cultural Policies on the National Mall
Degree awarded: M.A. Performing Arts. American University
This work examines the Smithsonian Folklife Festival as a text for the enactment of national cultural policies and interests on an international stage. By placing the Festival in the context of emergent discourses in the fields of museum studies, arts management, folklore, and anthropology, the study aims to analyze the complex influences involved in the programming of the Festival's featured country program. Through literary analysis, interviews with Festival curators, and case studies of past Festivals, the work acknowledges the presence and influence of cultural, political, economic, and social domains in the programming process. Additionally, by looking at three major influences on foreign programming choices - timing/availability, national interests, and funding - the study provides an example of the ways in which public cultural events can serve as sites for the living, changing enactment of national cultural policies.