Current Undergraduate Course Offerings

Autumn 2014 | Spring 2015

All undergraduate courses count towards
the Undergraduate Concentration or Minor in Folklore

Autumn 2014 Undergraduate Courses
 

Introduction to Folklore – Comparative Studies 2350/English 2270
Instructor TBA
WeFr 11:10AM-12:30PM University Hall 0082
GE Cultures and Ideas
#17699, #19180

Introduction to Folklore – Comparative Studies 2350/English 2270
Instructor TBA
TuTh 3:55PM-5:15PM Smith Lab 1048
GE Cultures and Ideas
#33293, #33203

Folklore is the culture that people make for themselves. Not all of us are specialists, but all of us tell stories, shape our environments, cultivate communities, and take care of our souls and our bodies.  The forms of folklore circulate from person to person and group to group, adapting to every change of situation: they are both traditional and new with every performance. This course introduces you to some of these forms and the ways that folklorists study them. You'll learn the basics of these folkloristic skills: 

  • Field observation and ethnography. Learn how to size up an unfamiliar situation, participate in it appropriately, and describe it in writing.
  • Interviewing and rigorous listening. Learn how to understand what someone is telling you without imposing your own agenda on the conversation.
  • Understanding diversity. Learn how communities in the US and internationally develop distinctive forms of expression that can foster strong identities, conflicts, and cultural bridges.
  • Interpreting culture. Learn how to “read” a wide variety of cultural messages according to their own conventions.
  • Connecting the languages of the academy to the idioms of ordinary people. Learn how more effective mutual listening can take place between communities, experts, and institutions.

Prereq: English 1110 (110) or equiv. Not open to students with credit for English 2270 (270), or 2350H.


Folklore of Contemporary Greece – Modern Greek 2680
Dr. Georgios Anagnostou
TuTh 2:20PM-3:40PM Enarson Classroom Bldg 0246
GE Visual and Performing Arts; Diversity Global Studies
#32330

A general survey of socio-cultural trends and issues in modern Greece through close examination of ethnographies and other folk expressions.

Prereq: Not open to students with credit for 268.


Norse Mythology and Medieval Culture – Scandinavian 3350
Dr. Merrill Kaplan
TuTh 9:35AM-10:55AM Ramseyer Hall 0100
GE Lit; Diversity Global Studies
#30825

What do we know about Thor and Odin, and how do we know it? This course examines the myths of the Old Norse gods and the sources in which those myths are recorded. Students will gain insight into the world view and beliefs of the pagan North by reading (in English translation) the most important textual sources on Scandinavia's pre-Christian mythology. Placename, archaeological, and other evidence will also be discussed. Students intrigued by the Viking Age, medieval Northern Europe, or the interpretation of myth will find much of interest.

Required texts: Andrew Orchard's translation of The Elder Edda (any edition; ISBN 978-0141393728 is fine); Anthony Faulkes’s translation of Snorri Sturluson’s Edda (any edition; 978-0460876162 is fine); John Lindow’s Norse Mythology: A Guide to Gods, Heroes, Rituals, and Beliefs (ISBN 0-195-153820); Optional: H. Mattingly and S. A. Handford’s translation of Tacitus, The Agricola and the Germania (again, any edition; 978-0140455403 is the most recent)

Prereq: Not open to students with credit for Scandnav 222.

Linguistics 3602H- 10: Language and Social Identity in the US
Dr. Gabriella Modan
TuTh 2:20PM - 3:40PM Hagerty Hall 062 
GE Diversity: Social Diversity in the US; GE Social Science: Individuals and Groups;Honors Course
#25781
 
This course explores how people use language to create identities for themselves and others in social interactions. We'll explore how people use language in often subtle, under-the-radar ways to ways to convey ideas about what it means to belong to a particular kind of group, from small-scale groups like a family or a clique of friends, to larger forms of social organization such as race, class, gender, sexual identity, or nationality. Through examining a wide range of talk --  conversations among teenage friends, facebook posts, phone-sex lines, church services, and dinnertable talk -- we'll seek to understand how language use relies on, reinforces, and challenges ideas about what it means to be a member of a group. We'll also investigate the role of language in the politics of who can and cannot claim membership in various groups . You will learn how to collect linguistic data through readings, short assignments, and a final project based on data that you collect and analyze in relation to the themes covered in the class.
 
Prereq: Honors standing. Not open to students with credit for Linguist 372.


Introduction of Narrative and Narrative Theory – English 4559
WeFr 11:10AM-12:30PM Hayes Hall 0005
#19250

This course integrates different approaches to narrative and especially focuses on narratives told in everyday life experiences, from the dinner table to the courtroom to stories about health and disability to widely circulated stories in the media.  We tell stories about ourselves, about others, about trivial interactions that fade from memory, and about life changing events.  In this course we explore who tells stories to whom and in what contexts.  We’ll examine narrative form, genre, performance, repertoire and interaction through close attention to narratives told in multiple contexts, including campus life, family situations, illness, work, travel, and politics.  Each student will collect stories that will become the focus of a term paper.

Prereq: 10 qtr cr hrs or 6 cr hrs of English at 2000-3000 level, or permission of instructor. 5 qtr cr hrs in 367 or 3 cr hrs in 2367 in any subject is acceptable towards the 6 cr hrs. Not open to students with credit for 559.


Folklore I: Groups and Communities - Irish Folklore – English 4577.01
Dr. Ray Cashman

TuTh 9:35AM-10:55AM Denney Hall 0238
Folklore Minor Course
#32135

This course introduces the popular beliefs, vernacular customs, material culture, and oral traditions of Ireland, north and south. Although much Irish folklore has roots in the far distant past, we will focus on those traditions documented from the late 18th through 21st centuries—a period during which folklore inspired the Irish literary revival and served the nation-building project of a newly independent republic. We will conclude with an investigation of the politics of culture, identity, and heritage in contemporary Northern Ireland where the legacy of British colonialism remains most pronounced.  Assignments will include written responses to readings, a midterm exam, and a final 8-10 page paper.

Prereq: 10 qtr cr hrs or 6 cr hrs of English at 2000-3000 level, or permission of instructor. 5 qtr cr hrs in 367 or 3 cr hrs in 2367 in any subject is acceptable towards the 6 cr hrs. Not open to students with 10 qtr cr hrs of 577.01. Repeatable to a maximum of 6 cr hrs.


Global Folklore – Comparative Studies 4597.03
Dr. Katherine Borland

WeFr 11:10AM-12:30PM Hagerty Hall 0062
GE Diversity Global Studies; Cross-Disciplinary Seminar
#17672

This capstone course for non-majors addresses issues of the contemporary world through the medium of folklore and the study of folkloristics. Drawing upon examples from around the world (Africa, the Middle East, India, Latin America and the Caribbean, Europe, the South Pacific and so on) we will consider what part of our contemporary culture is “lore” and how traditional cultural resources interact with commercial, mediated and state-generated cultural constructs. We will examine oral, musical, visual and material cultural expressions. We will explore how the types, motifs, and characteristics of folklore find their way into popular literature and film as well as how folklore adapts and shapes the products of commercial mass media. Finally, we will identify the ways in which communities around the world, including those of students in the course, use their folklore as a counter-hegemonic resource to resist or negotiate regional and global powers. Written requirements are four 3-5 page reading and film synthesis papers over the course of the quarter.

Prereq: Completion of a Second Writing course. Not open to students with credit for 597.02.


Spring 2015 Undergraduate Courses

Introduction to Folklore ENG 2270/ COMPSTD 2350
Instructor TBA
WeFr 3:55PM - 5:15PM,  Denney Hall 0250
GEC Arts and Humanities Cultures and Ideas Course. Folklore Major/Minor Requirement
COMPSTD #16708/ ENG #18508

Folklore is the culture that people make for themselves. Not all of us are specialists, but all of us tell stories, shape our environments, cultivate communities, and take care of our souls and our bodies.  The forms of folklore circulate from person to person and group to group, adapting to every change of situation: they are both traditional and new with every performance. This course introduces you to some of these forms and the ways that folklorists study them. You'll learn the basics of these folkloristic skills:

  • Field observation and ethnography. Learn how to size up an unfamiliar situation, participate in it appropriately, and describe it in writing.
  • Interviewing and rigorous listening. Learn how to understand what someone is telling you without imposing your own agenda on the conversation.
  • Understanding diversity. Learn how communities in the US and internationally develop distinctive forms of expression that can foster strong identities, conflicts, and cultural bridges.
  • Interpreting culture. Learn how to ìreadî a wide variety of cultural messages according to their own conventions.
  • Connecting the languages of the academy to the idioms of ordinary people. Learn how more effective mutual listening can take place between communities, experts, and institutions.

Prereq: English 1110 (110) or equiv. Not open to students with credit for English 2270 (270), or 2350H.

Intro to Folklore (Honors) - ENG  2270H/COMPSTD 2350H
Dr. Merrill Kaplan

WeFr 11:10AM - 12:30PM  Denney Hall 0207  
GEC Arts and Humanities Cultures and Ideas Course, Cross-listed in CompStd 2350H.
ENG # 31912

This class explores forms of traditional, vernacular culture-including verbal art, custom, and material culture-shared by men and women from a number of regional, ethnic, religious, and occupational groups. At the same time, we will consider various interpretive, theoretical approaches to examples of folklore and folklife discussed, and we will investigate the history of folklore studies and the cultural contexts in which this field has flourished. Recurring central issues will include the dynamics of tradition, the nature of creativity and artistic expression, and the construction of personal and group identities.
Folklore theory and methods explored through engagement with primary sources: folktale, legend, jokes, folksong, festival, belief, and art.

Prereq: Honors standing, and 1110.01 (110.01), or equiv. Not open to students with credit for 2270 (270), CompStd 2350, or 2350H.

The US Folk Experience (Second year writing)-  English 2367.05
Martha Sims 

MoWeFr 9:10AM - 10:05AM
Caldwell Lab 0119
#18521
MoWeFri 3pm-3:55pm
Caldwell Lab 0102
#32043
GEC Social Diversity in the U.S.; GE Writing and Communication; Folklore Major/Minor Elective

The reading and writing you will do in the "U.S. Folk Experience" will focus on the experiences, traditions, and expressive and material culture of Americans from a range of groups and subcultures. Through reading, discussion, and writing about folklore, you will come to a greater understanding of community and how the practices, objects and language of a community allow it to express what is important to its members and thrive as a group.

You will learn fieldwork techniques used by folklorists and anthropologists and use them in the study of local practices and groups. The information you discover will provide you the "raw data" you will use for ethnographic writing assignments. In addition, you will perform traditional text-based research that will provide scholarly context for the fieldwork you do. Recent students have studied practices such as traditions and rituals at a local horse barn, and the art of campus-area tattoo artists and their clients; objects such as personal devotional decorations, and groups such as Amish teens.

Students will read selections from Writing Ethnographic Fieldnotes and essays from collections and scholarly journals.

Prereq: 1110.01 (110.01) or equiv, and Soph standing; or EM credit for 1110.01 (110.01) or equiv; or a declared major in English. Not open to students with credit for 2367.01 (367.01), 210, 267, 267H, 301, 303, or equiv

Zombies: The Anthropology of the Undead- Anthropology 3334
Dr. Jeffery Cohen

MoWeFr 9:10AM - 10:05AM  Smith Lab 1009  
Folklore Major/Minor Free Elective
#14321

Life is divided between the living and the dead, but for many cultures there are individuals who exist between the living and dead--the undead.  In North America we call these individuals ìzombiesî.  In this class, we explore how different groups in different times think about, deal with and classify the undead.  The course begins with a discussion of anthropology, zombies and their current popularity.  We note how the concept of zombies has developed and how it is shared and how it has changed.  We also explore the parallels and connections that link cannibalism, disease and witchcraft to the undead. Finally, we explore the place of zombies in contemporary life.    Students will understand how culture and social organization help us define the living, the dead and the undead in the contemporary and archaeological record, and how we create social categories that organize our world and our place.

Spring 2015 Upper-level Undergraduate Courses

Studies in the English Language- ENG 4571
Dr.Gabriella Modan

TuTh 11:10AM - 12:30PM, Denney Hall 0238  
Folklore Major/Minor Free Elective
#25670

Special Topics in English Language Study: The Sociolinguistics of Talk

The dinnertable conversations, class discussions, chats while exercising, arguments, and joking that we engage in every day are rich with pattern and meaning. This course is an introduction to the empirical analysis of spoken language, with a focus on ordinary conversation. This course will not help you to become a better public speaker. Instead, you will learn about the mechanics of conversation: how do we start and end conversations, decide when it?s our turn to talk, show politeness or interest, create identities for ourselves and others through our talk? With a focus on face-to-face interaction, we'll examine how speakers utilize social context in talk and exploit language in order to achieve social and political effects in everyday settings. Topics covered include turn-taking and interruption, politeness, discourse markers such as "like" and 'y'know', cross-cultural communication, and language and power.

Course requirements include daily reading responses, transcription of a conversation, midterm, and final project.

Undergraduate  Major or Minor Course

Prereq: 10 qtr cr hrs or 6 cr hrs of English at 2000-3000 level, or permission of instructor. 5 qtr cr hrs in 367 or 3 cr hrs in 2367 in any subject is acceptable towards the 6 cr hrs. Not open to students with 10 qtr cr hrs for 571. Repeatable to a maximum of 6 cr hrs.

American Regional Cultures in Global Transition: Appalachia, Louisiana, and the Texas Border Country- English 4597.02  
Dr. Ray Cashman

TuTh 2:20PM - 3:40PM  Denney Hall 0250  
GE Cross-Disciplinary Seminar
Folklore Major/Minor Free Elective
#18558

This course will introduce you to the folklore of three American regions. Each is famous for its traditional culture, but each is often thought of as deviating in a distinctive way from the national culture: Louisiana is "creole," Texas is "border," and Appalachia is "folk." While exploring these differences, we'll also explore the commonalities. Imagined as different from a supposed American norm, each region is both attractive to outsiders and stigmatized by them. In each region, a dynamic vernacular culture has emerged out of complex race and class relations. In each region, both government policy and economic forces have powerfully transformed local lifeways and the physical environment, and vernacular political expression has been subject to violent repression. Each region has also been strongly marked by migration and international connections. We'll look at historical change through the prism of celebrated folklore forms such as Louisiana Mardi Gras, Appalachian fairy tales, and the Tex-Mex corrido. We'll also explore the impact of recent events: Hurricane Katrina and the BP oil spill, mountaintop-removal mining in Appalachia, and the debates over various kinds of traffic across the US-Mexican border.

This course counts as a GE Cross-Disciplinary Seminar and as an elective in the English or Folklore majors and minors.

Prereq: 1110.01 (110.01) or equiv, and Jr or Sr standing. Not open to students with credit for 597.02. GE cross-disciplinary seminar course.

ENG 4577.02 (Folklore 2) The Fairy Tale and Reality
Prof. Dorothy Noyes

WF 11:10-12:30, Denney 206
Folklore Major/ Minor Core Elective.
#18549

This course examines the history and uses of the fairy tale in the modern Western world. While most of us associate the fairy tale with magic and fantasy, here we consider the many ways in which fairy tales respond closely to the real world. We'll see that the fairy tale is a principal means by which subordinate actors (such as women, children, and poor people) come to terms with dominant cultural constructions of reality, especially those relating to family life and economic success. Weíll look first at the oral wonder tale as the Eurasian peasantís guide to survival in a world where the rules are both imposed from above and unreliable. Next, weíll see how oral tales are appropriated in literature, film,  tv, and even self-help books. In these versions we see the fairy tale plot used to instill a wide variety of norms of conduct: good manners, religious resignation, economic aggression, consumerism, and more. Finally, weíll explore how attacking and reshaping the fairy tale can be a means of questioning the larger culture. In all these transformations, fairy tales explore the tensions between three responses to the promises of modern society: playing the game to win, escaping it, and changing the rules.

Our examples will be drawn from late seventeenth-century France, early nineteenth century Germany, and Italy and the U.S. in the twentieth century, along with comparative texts from Afghanistan, south India, Ireland, and elsewhere. Weíll also read excerpts from some of the best-known commentators on the fairy tale. In analyzing oral, literary, and filmed fairy tales, weíll learn some basic tools of narrative analysis and concepts in folklore research. Course requirements include two essay exams and a paper.
Prereq: 10 qtr cr hrs or 6 cr hrs of English at 2000-3000 level, or permission of instructor. 5 qtr cr hrs in 367 or 3 cr hrs in 2367 in any subject is acceptable towards the 6 cr hrs. Not open to students with 10 qtr cr hrs for 577.02. Repeatable to a maximum of 6 cr hrs

Cultural Diplomacy- International Studies 4800
Dr. Dorothy Noyes

WF 2:20-3:40, Hayes 0024
Folklore Major/Minor Free Elective
#31680

This course explores cultural diplomacy (CD), broadly understood: the  exchange of performances and ideas across state borders with the intention of building political influence. We consider the theory and practice of cultural diplomacy in several contexts. To begin with, we explore the current prominence of the culture concept in international affairs, considering both its useful ambiguities and its limitations as an analytical tool. Then we consider diplomacy itself as a kind of cultural performance. Next we look at the historical context in which state-sponsored CD took shape in the twentieth century, followed by the rise of alternatives to the Cold War model, emerging from both postcolonial and domestic resistance. In this context, nonstate actors and grassroots groups began to conduct their own forms of CD. Finally we look at the recent revitalization and reshapings of both state and non-state CD in response to consumer capitalism, the globalization of public opinion, new media, and geopolitical shifts. In each case weíll examine concrete examples of cultural forms in motion to parse the possible effects and efficacy of CD initiatives--including Louis Armstrong in the Congo, tourist campaigns in Franco's Spain, Soviet folkdancing in the US, Salvadoran testimonio, the Beijing Olympics, wedding drinking in the Caucasus, Hollywood comedies, Thai beauty contests, US counterinsurgency campaigns in Afghanistan, the voluntourism of American college students, "Gangnam Style" takeoffs, and lots more. Two essay exams and a short observation-based paper.

Course goals:

  • To situate state-sponsored cultural diplomacy in the larger universe of cultural transfer and circulation between nation-states
  • To guide you to a critical perspective on the culture concept in social life, policy, and scholarship
  • To show you how to make sense of performances in context, as both cultural form and political action

(Folklorists note: this is a covert folklore course insofar as we deal with a range of vernacular cultural initiatives and also look at how governments and NGOs construct national tradition, heritage, and so on. You'll see readings from some names you recognize.)
 

Disability in the Contemporary World: Disability Narratives and Stigma - ENG 4597.01  

Dr. Amy Shuman
WeFr 2:20PM - 3:40PM, Mendenhall Lab 0173
GE Cross-Disciplinary Seminar
#25659

We will explore the concept of stigma as a central issue in disability studies. According to Erving Goffman, cultural groups establish certain kinds of practices and ways of being as normal and acceptable and others as not normal and unacceptable. Many disability scholars challenge how the category of "normal" gets used as if it is natural. Goffman says that people who are considered not "normal" are put in the position of having to manage their identity, to prove that they can be normal and accepted. In this class we will look at how stigma works in everyday life, in fiction, in film, in news accounts, and in personal narratives by people with disabilities. One option for the final project is to write a story about adult life at the third grade level to be included in a second volume for the Next Chapter Book Club. The first volume is "Lucky Dogs, Lost Hats, and Dating Don'ts."

 

Prereq: 1110.01 (110.01) or equiv, and Jr or Sr standing. Not open to students with credit for 597.01. GE cross-disciplinary seminar course.

Spring 2015 Graduate/Undergraduate Courses

Sami Culture Yesterday and Today- Scandvn 5151
Dr. Merrill Kaplan

T/Th 2:00-3:30,Hagertu Hall 145
Floklore Major/ Minor Core Elective for Undergrads/ GIS Topics for Grads
#32010

Interdisciplinary study of S·mi (Lapp) people of Scandinavia past and present. Indigenous modes of expression and worldview, contemporary cultural and political activism. Extensive discussion of connections to Native American and Inuit experiences; rise of US and other indigenous peoplesí movements.

Prereq: Permission of instructor (for undergraduates). Repeatable to a maximum of 12 cr hrs.

Comparative Folklore:  Approaches to Festival and Festival Forms- COMPSTD 5957.01
Dr. Katherine Borland

WeFr 2:20PM - 3:40PM  Hagerty Hall 0259
Folklore Major/Minor Core Elective and GIS Topics for Grads
#25618/ 25617

Festival, Dance, Sport, Pilgrimage, Ritual Enactment, Street Drama, and Protest are complex, collective, embodied, artistic expressions worth studying comparatively.  As sites of popular celebration, arenas of conflict, opportunities both for commerce  and for intense interpersonal or religious identification, they provide rich folkloric texts for interpretation and analysis.  In this course we will sample the ethnographic record of collective performances as we tackle a broad range of theories about and approaches to the study of people in motion including but not limited to:  myth-ritual, collective effervescence, safety valve, place-making, symbolic inversion, collective reflexivity, semiotics, phenomenology, restored behavior, communitas, boundary marking and maintenance, play theory, performativity/theatricality, conflict, flow.

The course is run as a seminar.  In addition to reading and discussing interpretive approaches to popular movement, students will take  responsibility for surveying and presenting new work on their chosen cultural tradition.  Students are expected to pursue independent research throughout the term, culminating in a paper and class presentation that frames their research within at least one of the analytic or interpretive approaches we have studied in class.  Our class goal will be to develop a comparative framework for understanding the socially and historically contextualized studies students bring to the table through their research.


The Center for Folklore Studies coordinates folklore course offerings across departments, available both as individual electives and as part of the undergraduate and graduate programs. Peruse our undergraduate and graduate course offerings for this semester, and look at our course archives (in the column to the right) for more information about regularly offered classes. 5000-level courses are open to both graduate and undergraduate students without special permission. Graduate students interested in lower-level courses may consult the relevant professor regarding alternative possibilities for enrollment.

Visit buckeyelink to register for folklore courses.

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