Autumn 2015 Folklore Course Offerings

Undergraduate Courses

Introduction to Folklore -English 2270/Comparative Studies 2350
Instructor TBA
MoWeFr 10:20AM - 11:15AM Denney Hall 250  
GE Cultures and Ideas
# 32881/ # 32904

A general study of the field of folklore including basic approaches and a survey of primary folk materials: folktales, legends, folksongs, ballads, and folk beliefs.

Prereq: English 1110 (110) or equiv. Not open to students with credit for English 2270 (270), or 2350H. GE cultures and ideas course. Cross-listed in English 2270.

Introduction to Folklore  (Honors) - English 2270H/ Comparative Studies 2350H
Dr. Dorothy Noyes
TuTh 2:20PM - 3:40PM  Denney Hall 268  
GE Cultures and Ideas, Honors Course  
#32878/ #32905

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 lend themselves to a wide array of social purposes. We'll look at a range of genres from both US and international settings: folktales, legends, jokes, song and dance, religious and holiday custom, foodways, craft, and domestic art. You’ll conduct a small field project of your choice and learn the basics of these folkloristic skills:

  • Interpreting culture. Learn how to “read” a wide variety of cultural messages according to their own conventions and in their social context.
  • 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, exercise social control, provoke conflict, and build bridges.
  • Connecting vernacular and codified expression. Learn about the interchanges and miscommunications among communities, professionals, and institutions.

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

The U.S. Folk Experience- English 2367.05
Instructor- TBA
WeFr 9:35AM - 10:55AM  Denney Hall 245  
GE Diversity: Social Diversity in the US
GE Writing and Communication: level 2

Concepts of American folklore & ethnography; folk groups, tradition, & fieldwork methodology; how these contribute to the development of critical reading, writing, & thinking skills. Only one 2367 (367) decimal subdivision may be taken for credit.

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.

Vampires, Monstrosity, and Evil: From Slavic Myth to Twilight- Slavic 2230
Dr. Daniel Collins  
MoWeFr 1:50PM - 2:45PM  Caldwell Lab 120  
GE Cultures and Ideas. GE Diversity: Global Studies.

Changing approaches to evil as embodied in vampires in East European folk belief & European & American pop culture; function of vampire & monster tales in cultural context, including peasant world & West from Enlightenment to now.  Taught in English.
Prereq: Not open to students with credit for 130.

Norse Mythology and Medieval Culture- Scandinavian 3350
Dr. Merrill Kaplan
TuTh 9:35AM - 10:55AM  Ramseyer Hall 100
GE Literature.GE Diversity: Global Studies
# 23841
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.

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

Contemporary Folklore in the Arab World - Arabic 3301/Comparative Studies 3657
Dr. Sabra Webber  
Mo 9:10AM - 11:55AM Hagerty Hall 042  
GE Cultures and Ideas. GE Diversity: Global Studies AND
Meets Arab Literature and Culture in translation requirement for Arabic majors and minors.
# 32501/#32648  

Study of contemporary folklore of the Arab world, including verbal art, material culture, visual self-presentation, and performance.  Video conferences with students in India and Cairo are planned.

Prereq: English 1110 (110), or equiv. Not open to students with credit for 377 or Arabic 3301 (377).

Upper- Level Undergraduate Courses

English Studies and Global Human Rights- English 4554
Dr. Amy Shuman
TuTh 2:20PM - 3:40PM  Hayes Hall 025  
GE Diversity: Global Studies.

Covers key human rights concepts and the role that humanities-based methods of analysis can play in the study of human rights. Examines how human rights are described in legal texts, cultural narratives, public discourses, and artistic representations. Also considers conflicting and contested representations, how they work, and how they are used in particular contexts.

Prereq: 2367.

Folklore III: Issues and Methods: Hoaxes, Fakes & Frauds - ENGLISH 4577.03 - 0010   
Dr. Merrill Kaplan
TuTh 2:20PM - 3:40PM  Hayes Hall 005  
# 32853

Study of folk groups & communities, folklore genres, & issues & methods in folklore studies. Theoretical, methodological, & policy concerns in contemporary folklore research. Folklore 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 577.03. Repeatable to a maximum of 6 cr hrs.

Undergraduate/ Graduate Combined Courses

Studies in Orality and Literacy- Comparative Studies 5668/NELC 5568
Dr. Sabra Webber
Th 4:00PM - 6:45PM  Hagerty Hall 451  
#32647/ #32646  

Examination of major theories of writing and of oral composition and transmission, in juxtaposition to case material deriving from a variety of Middle Eastern and Western studies.

Sample Texts:  Joyce Coleman, “Orality and Literacy,” Walter Ong “Digitization Ancient and Modern,” Denise Schmandt-Besserat, “The Origins of Writing,” David Carr, “Torah on the Heart,” Anna Davies, “Forms of Writing in the Ancient Mediterranean World,” Konrad Hirschler, “Literacy, Orality, Aurality,” and “The Written Word in the Medieval Arabic Lands,” Roman Jakobson "Roman Grammatical Parallelism & Its Russian Facet," Susan Niditch “New Ways of Thinking About Orality and Literacy,” Sabra Webber “Canonicity and Middle Eastern Folk Literature,” James C. Scott, Ch. 6 ½ “ Orality, Writing and Texts” IN The Art of Not Being Governed, Salem/Pax,  Elaine Richardson and Sean Lewis "'Flippin’ the Script' / 'Blowin’ Up the Spot': Puttin’ Hip-Hop Online in (African) America and South Africa"

Prereq: Not open to students with credit for 648, or NELC 5568 (648).  
Comparative Folklore: Folklore and Gender- Comparative Studies 5957.01
Dr. Katherine Borland
Tu 10:00AM - 12:45PM  Hagerty Hall 451  
#32623/ #32626

This course explores folklore from a gendered, feminist lens and feminist theory from a folkloristic lens in order highlight the unique contributions of feminist folklorists and folkloristics to our understanding of expressive culture.  We will engender key terms and definitions even as we challenge existing categories of folklore scholarship.  We will recognize women’s expressive practices and the conditions of their concealment, recuperating along the way the voices of our scholarly foremothers.  We will complicate concepts of genre, performance, tradition and ethnography by applying the gendered lens.  Feminism pushes the study of folklore toward an investigation of the politics of culture.  We will trace that trajectory in our survey of the field, exploring along the way female adventurers and murdered girls in ballads, feminist fairytale revisions, lorena bobbit jokes and southern women’s bawdy humor, bodylore, foodways, dance traditions and the intimate dance of culture on/in/and by women.

Prereq: 2350, 2350H, English 2270, or 2270H (270). Not open to students with maximum qtr cr hrs for 677.01 and 677.02. Repeatable to a maximum of 6 cr hrs.

The Anthropology of Food: Culture, Society and Eating- Anthropology 5624  
 Dr. Jeffrey H. Cohen
TuTh 12:45PM - 2:05PM  McPherson Lab 1021  
#33291/ #33292

Explores food traditions, global expansion of foods and the production/exchange of food in culture and society.

Prereq: 2200 (200), 2201 (201), or 2202 (202), or permission of instructor. Not open to students with credit for 620.08.

Graduate Course

Theorizing Folklore II: The Ethnography of Performance- English 7350.02/ English 7350.22/ Comparative Studies 7350.02
Dr. Dorothy Noyes
Th 9:10AM - 12:10PM  Denney Hall 419  
Graduate Theory for GIS.
#32879/ #32880/ #32884

Since the 1970s, the performance turn in folklore, anthropology, and related disciplines has illuminated our understanding of agency and efficacy in everyday life as well as specialized cultural production. In a major revision of the modern culture concept, the performance approach focuses on cultural forms as process and practice: not texts instantiating a static shared worldview but historically situated, conventional transactions among persons. As part of the reaction to a linguistic ideology privileging reference, the performance approach looks at how language is used to construct reality; reacting to the focus on deep structure in most grand theory, it insists on the significance of material and interactional surfaces. With its attention to bodies in motion, it remains relevant as a corrective to the reification of values and identities in contemporary cultural politics.

This seminar will examine both programmatic texts and selected case studies in the ethnography of performance: that is, an approach based in "thick description" of instances. While theory in the field has tended to develop within genre specializations, we will examine verbal art, cultural performance (ritual, festival, spectacle) and the performance of selfhood together in the attempt to illustrate common issues and a general paradigm. Students will share in preparing for discussion and write a research paper. This course fulfills the core theory requirement of the Graduate Interdisciplinary Specialization in Folklore. (For more information, see .)

Prereq: Grad standing, or permission of instructor. Not open to students with credit for English 870.

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 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.