Spring 2016 Folklore Course Offerings

Undergraduate Courses

Introduction to Folklore -English 2270/Comparative Studies 2350

Instructor TBA
WeFr 3:55PM - 5:15PM  Denney Hall 250 
GE Cultures and Ideas
# 18798/ # 17116

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.

Introduction to Folklore  (Honors) - English 2270H/ Comparative Studies 2350H

Dr. Sabra Webber
WeFr 11:10AM - 12:30PM Denney Hall 209
GE Cultures and Ideas, Honors Course 
#27933/ #28237

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.

Russian Fairy Tales and Folklore - Russian 2345 - 0010

Dr. Helena Goscilo 
TuTh 12:45PM - 2:05PM  Mendenhall Lab 191 
GE Cultures and Ideas. GE Diversity: Global Studies

Examines four categories of texts, both verbal and visual: (1) a survey of Russian demonology; (2) a large selection of the best-known Russian fairy tales,; (3) scholarly articles analyzing the differences between folklore and literature; and (4) visual materials (film, paintings, graphics, and handicrafts) and music inspired by Russian fairy tales. Taught in English.

The U.S. Folk Experience- English 2367.05

Instructor TBA
MoWeFr 9:10AM - 10:05AM  Bolz Hall 314

Instructor TBA
MoWeFr 1:50PM - 2:45PM  Enarson Classroom Bldg 340 

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.

Upper- Level Undergraduate Courses

Play (Genres, Form, Meaning, and Use -Folklore II) - English 4577.02

Dr. Amy Shuman
TuTh 9:35AM - 10:55AM Denney Hall 207
Folklore Minor course

Play is central to our communication with each other and central to many if not all fields of study.  Play and work can be one and the same. For animals, there is often a fine line between play and aggression.  In this class, we explore play from many angles.  The study of play is fundamentally interdisciplinary as it pushes, stretches, and dissolves the edges of art, literature, culture, science, math, linguistics, semiotics, economics, etc.  This is a course about interstices and the in-between places where meaning is made and negotiated. We will revisit the classic theories of play (Vygotsky, Bateson, Huizinga, and others), which establish the foundations of thinking about play as a model for understanding embodied, everyday experience. We will also explore anthropological studies of play as culturally situated . All students are welcome. No previous work in folklore or anthropology is required. 

American Regional Cultures in Transition: Appalachia, Louisiana, and the Texas Border Country- English 4597.02

Dr. Dorothy Noyes
TuTh 12:45PM - 2:05PM Arps Hall 388 
GE cross-disciplinary seminar course
Folklore Minor course
# 18827

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 observe the commonalities: positive and negative stereotyping from outside, complex racial and class composition, heavy in- and out-migration, environmental distinctiveness and stress, extraction economies, tense and often violent relationships with both government and business. 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 Hurricane Katrina and the reconstruction of the Gulf Coast, mountaintop-removal mining and the energy economy in Appalachia, and the cross-border trafficking of people, drugs, and capital.  A general question arises: what counts as America?

Global Folklore- Comparative Studies 4597.03

Dr. Katherine Borland
TuTh 9:35AM - 10:55AM   Hagerty Hall 145
GE Cross-Disciplinary Seminar. GE Diversity: Global Studies
Folklore Minor Course
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.

Undergraduate/Graduate combined Courses

Traveler as Trickster (Comparative Folklore) - Comparative Studies 5957.01

Dr. Sabra Webber
Th 3:15PM - 6:00PM Hagerty Hall 451
Folklore Minor and GIS Course
#25143/ #25144

This seminar takes a critical look at different sorts of travel and travelers--explorers, ethnomusicologists, migrant workers, anthropologists, folklorists, NGO and government officials and workers, missionaries, and tourists. We look at a wide range of travel narratives and their relation to “tricksters” and to trickiness in various cultural and historical contexts.  It is to be hoped that students will produce papers that circle around these themes and that their projects will intersect in ways that will enhance the work of fellow students in the seminar and in turn will be enhanced by theirs.  

Folklore Professionalization Workshop (Independent Study)

Dr. Dorothy Noyes
Time and Location by arrangement
Sign up for 1 hour of independent study
The course number in English or Comparative Studies will depend on your own department and rank.

Returning by request, this is a workshop for grad students and advanced undergrads thinking about going forward, intended to provide the disciplinary orientations that are otherwise hard to manage in our interdepartmental program. We will meet once a month for a 2-hour session, probably covering the following topics (others negotiable depending on group interest). Timing will be settled when participants have their schedules worked out.

January: The field and profession of folklore. Learned societies, academic programs, public and nonprofit organizations, and international differences in the constitution of folklore/ethnology as a field and practice.
February: Library research and references in folklore studies.
March: Writing proposals.
April: (By request!) Managing your field data.

Graduate Courses

Fieldwork and the Ethnography of Communication (Introduction to Graduate Study in Folklore II)- English 6751.02/ English 6751.22/ Comparative Studies 6750.02

Dr. Gabriella Modan
Tu 1:50PM - 4:50PM   Denney Hall 435 
Folklore GIS Course

Introduction to fieldwork and ethnographic writing in the humanities - interviewing, participant observation, and research ethics. Focus on the ethnography of communication and community representations.

Differentiation, Identification, and the Folk (Theorizing Folklore III)- English 7350.03/ English 7350.33/ Comparative Studies 7350.03

Dr. Merrill Kaplan
We 12:40PM - 3:40PM Denney Hall 245
Graduate Theory for GIS.
# 31839 / # 31840 / # 32320

Cultural form as a social tool for both differentiation and integration. "Folklore" and other metacultural concepts in the history of modernity.

Ethnographies of Dance and Performance - Dance 7409 - 1010

Dr. Danielle van Dobben Schoon
MoWe 8:30AM - 10:05AM  Location TBA
Folklore GIS Course
# 32730

This graduate seminar (undergraduates can petition in) studies dance from an  anthropological perspective, emphasizing the politics of the body and movement and questioning the power dynamics that have shaped ‘world dance’ studies in a particular way. Through the course of exploring inspiring and intriguing dance practices from around the world and making some first attempts at writing dance ethnography, we will also encounter opportunities to question our own positionalities as dancers, scholars, and social beings.

Affiliated Courses

The Sociolinguisitcs of Talk (Studies in the English Language) - English 4571

Dr. Gabriella Modan 
TuTh 11:10AM - 12:30PM  Enarson Classroom Bldg 230
Folklore Minor Course
# 25169

This course is an introduction to discourse analysis, with a focus on the mechanics of ordinary, everyday conversation. We'll explore topics such as: the different functions of 'like' and why it's so hard to stop using it; why LOL does not really mean laugh out loud; how we start and end phone conversations; why some people think interruption shows interest but others think it shows rudeness; how we create identities for ourselves and others through our talk, succeed or fail in communicating with people from cultural backgrounds different from our own, exert or resist power. With a focus on face-to-face interaction, we'll examine how speakers utilize information about the social world in talk and exploit language in order to achieve social and political effects in everyday settings.

Cultural Diplomacy- International Studies 4800

Dr. Dorothy Noyes
TuTh 9:35-10:55 AM, Arps Hall 012
Folklore GIS Course

This course explores cultural diplomacy (CD), broadly understood: the exchange of performances and ideas across state borders with the intention of building political influence, abroad or at home. We consider the theory and practice of cultural diplomacy in several contexts. To begin with, 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 grassroots alternatives that sought to bypass or even undermine state initiatives. A fourth unit considers  the recent revitalization and reshapings of cultural diplomacy in response to consumer capitalism, the globalization of public opinion, new media, and geopolitical shifts. Finally, we explore the current prominence of the culture concept in international affairs, considering both its useful ambiguities and its limitations as an analytical or policy framework. In each case we’ll examine concrete examples of cultural forms in motion to consider the possible effects and efficacy of CD initiatives: student exchange programs, jazz, ballet, boxing matches, tourism, the Olympics, sister cities, religious testimonials, international volunteering, drunken weddings, Hollywood films, viral videos, and more. Requirements include quizzes, two take-home exams, and a short paper observing a cultural performance.

Studies in Narrative and Narrative Theory- English 7861.01/ English 7861.02

Dr. Amy Shuman 
Tu 12:45PM - 3:40PM  Denney Hall 207
Folklore GIS Course
# 31842/#31843

An introduction to foundational and contemporary theories of narrative from the perspective of ethnographic studies of narrative in interaction, especially in everyday life. Some of the topics we will explore include counter-narrative, framing, story ownership, inter textually, oral history, orality and literacy, empathy, and verbal and visual textuality. The purpose of the class is to give students the theoretical and methodological tools they need for their particular projects, for example in disability, sexuality, medicine, education, or other areas of study.

Discourse analysis: Social Contexts (Seminar in English Language) - English 7872.01/ English 7872.02

Dr. Gabriella Modan 
Th 1:50PM - 4:50PM  Denney Hall 207 
Folklore GIS Course
# 18921/ #18922

For students interested in examining discourse as part of a linguistics, literature, humanities, or social science research project, this course will give you the tools to investigate how language structure (not just content) shapes perceptions, values, social interaction, and power struggles. The course provides an overview of the major approaches to analyzing spoken and written discourse used in sociolinguistics and linguistic anthropology, including interactional sociolinguistics, conversation analysis, ethnography of communication, pragmatics, and critical discourse analysis. We will explore how the contexts of various spheres of social interaction both shape and are shaped by discourse in or about them.  The approach that we will take to analyzing texts is a micro-level one, focusing on the details of linguistic structure and how those details connect to more macro spheres of social engagement.  Students will collect examples of spoken and written texts, and analyze them in short paper assignments. 

REQUIREMENTS: transcription assignment, 3 short papers, one 15-page final paper.