Courses: 2011-2012

Autumn 2011 | Winter 2012 | Spring 2012 | Summer 2012

Autumn 2011

Scandinavian 222: Nordic Mythology and Medieval Culture
Instructor: Merrill Kaplan
TR: 9:30-11:18
Course #: 17680
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. Taught in English. GEC arts and humanities lit and social diversity - international issues (Western) course.
 
English 270: Introduction to Folklore
Instructor: Kate Parker
MW 11:30-1:18
Course #: 8731
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.
 
Near Eastern Languages and Cultures 345: Women in the Muslim Middle East
Instructor: Margaret Mills
MW 1:30-3:18
Course #: 26630
SPECIAL EDITION THIS YEAR ONLY!!  AFGHAN WOMEN’S LIVES IN THEIR OWN WORDS:  This course will, FOR FALL 2011 ONLY, concentrate entirely on the lives of women OF AFGHANISTAN, especially their stories told in their own voices, aimed for different audiences.  We will read the narratives of Afghan women whose life histories and personal experience narratives have appeared in English (published over the last 20 years and some unpublished). The women are of various ages and come from different backgrounds, rural and urban, different classes and family backgrounds, with different educational opportunities, work or professions, religious and political views, hopes and dreams. In the process of reading a selection of these women’s personal narratives, we will consider not only the general and specific situations of some remarkable Afghan women, but also how their personal testimony reaches a global audience, and some things these different forms of personal stories tell us about the politics and history of women’s self-representation in general (autobiographies, personal experience narratives, testimony, and other forms). This course is part of a series of NELC courses which focus on the peoples and cultures of the Middle East region. The positions of Middle Eastern women are not expressions of traditional or religious sentiments in any essentialist way. Rather they are patterns in which large social and historical issues, including religious issues and processes, are expressed.

Eng 367.05: The U.S. Folk Experience
Instructor: Cassie Patterson
MW 1:30-3:18
Course #: 8766
In this course, we will use the core concepts and methods of the field of folklore as the basis for reading assignments and writing projects. Because the theme of this course is "The U.S. Folk Experience," we will begin with a brief introduction to basic concepts of American folklore and ethnography, including folk groups, tradition, and fieldwork methodology, focusing on how these concepts and methodologies contribute to the development of critical reading, writing, and thinking skills. Students will also learn fieldwork techniques and use them in the study of local practices and groups. These practices will provide you the "raw data" students will use for ethnographic writing assignments. 367.05 fulfills the GEC "Social Diversity in the US" requirement and the second composition course you need to graduate.
 
Persian 370: Persian Mythology and Folklore
Instructor: Margaret Mills
TR 1:30-3:18
Course # 23925
Students will become familiar with the concepts and individuals (gods, heroes, demons) of ancient and more recent Persian mythology, as well as with various categories of folklore and folklife in present day Iran. This course will also introduce students to the basic concepts and methods of comparative myth and folklore studies. Although a variety of texts will be read, the emphasis of the course will be on the mythological and folk aspects of the texts, rather than their purely literary qualities.
 
Eng 577.03: Studies in Folklore: Hoaxes, Frauds, and Fakes
Instructor: Merrill Kaplan
TR 1:30-3:18
Course #: 26298
This course investigates crises of mimesis, creation and copying, representation and misrepresentation with special attention to how these concepts might affect our approaches to tradition. Topics will include folklore and "fakelore," artistic and literary hoaxes, counterfeits and crop circles, mockumentaries and The Blair Witch Project. Throughout, we will hunt (though perhaps not catch) the elusive Authentic, the phantom that has haunted folkloristics from its inception. Satisfies the non-literature requirement for the English Major.

Comparative Studies 597.02: Global Folklore
Instructor: Katherine Borland
MW 9:30-11:18
Course #: 5962
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. GEC contemporary world course.
 
Chinese 600: Performance Traditions of China
Instructor: Mark Bender
MW 2:30-4:18
Course #: 26600
Interactive, multi-media overview of Chinese performance traditions, including folk song, folk dance, epic, and professional storytelling.

English 818: The Medieval Ballad
Instructor: Richard Firth Green
MW 1:30-3:18
Course #:22997
Before the publication of David C. Fowler's Literary History of the Popular Ballad (1968) it was generally supposed that many traditional ballads (including some still being sung in North America) had a prehistory reaching back to the Middle Ages, but in recent years medievalists have generally taken Fowler's work as a license to ignore the ballad. In this course we will study two groups of ballads 1) those that can be definitely dated before 1500, and 2) those that are clearly based directly on works that can be dated before 1500. By and large these fall into four categories a) religious ballads, b) outlaw ballads (including Robin Hood), c) supernatural ballads, and d) historical ballads. Assignments: In-class presentations (including, if you wish, singing a ballad) and a final paper.
 
English 870/Comparative Studies 890: The Ethnography of Performance
Instructor: Katherine Borland
MW 1:30-3:18
Course #: 26331
This seminar examines the foundations and evolving practice of performance theory in folklore, anthropology, theatre and related disciplines.  We will focus on cultural forms as historically situated, conventional practices of negotiation rather than as texts illustrating a static, shared world view.  In addition to reviewing contemporary theories of cultural performance, we will examine selected case studies in a variety of genres:  verbal art, ritual and festival, music, movement and self-fashioning to explore the potential and the difficulties of a performance approach.  Assignments include weekly reading and performance responses, a mid-term essay and a final ethnographic essay/project.
 
Other Courses of Interest:
 
English 883: Language and Literacy Ideologies
Instructor: Marcia Farr
W 5:30-8:18
Course #: 26072
Language ideologies are beliefs about language that link kinds of language use with categories of human beings, placing them in particular positions in the social world.   These beliefs can be explicit and consciously articulated by people, or they can be implicit and only able to be inferred from discourse and other social practices of people. Language ideologies are not simply about language, but also involve social and cultural conceptions of personhood, citizenship, morality, quality and value, etc. (defining, for example, who is a “good” speaker, person, citizen, etc.). Because of this, language ideologies have material effects in the world and thus are particularly important to understand.
Whereas research on language ideologies has burgeoned within the last two decades, little such research has explored the written side of language use, or literacy practices. In this seminar we explore both the literature on language ideologies and some new studies on literacy ideologies. Together we will develop and differentiate ideologies that inhere in beliefs about language and those that inhere in beliefs about literacy, especially since ideologies about language heavily impact literacy practices. This exploration will include attention to the history of Standard English, following the advent of printing and mass literacy, and the rise of nation-states in Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries. We will also consider particular European-origin language and literacy ideologies that have accompanied European colonialism around the world, investigating contemporary language and literacy practices and ideologies in a global context.

Winter 2012

English 270: Introduction to Folklore
Instructor: Willow Mullins
M W 1:30-3:18
Course #: 14838
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.
GEC Arts and Humanities Cultures and Ideas Course; Folklore Major/Minor Requirement.
 
English 367.05: Intermediate Essay Writing: The U.S. Folk Experience
Instructor: Martha Sims
M W 9:30-11:18
Course #: 17632
In this course, we will use the core concepts and methods of the field of folklore as the basis for reading assignments and writing projects. Because the theme of this course is "The U.S. Folk Experience," we will begin with a brief introduction to basic concepts of American folklore and ethnography, including folk groups, tradition, and fieldwork methodology, focusing on how these concepts and methodologies contribute to the development of critical reading, writing, and thinking skills. Students will also learn fieldwork techniques and use them in the study of local practices and groups. These practices will provide the "raw data" students will use for ethnographic writing assignments.
GEC Social Diversity in the U.S.; Second Writing Course; Folklore Major/Minor Elective.
 
NELC 380: Everyday Life in South Asia
Instructor: Margaret Mills
T Th 1:30-3:18
Course #: 26852
Introduction to the cultural diversity of South Asia through the study of everyday life and media representations.
The cultural wealth and diversity of South Asia (India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka) mainly comes to the attention of the American public in the form of brief news reports on sectarian and other violence or concerning interruptions of national and international political processes. This course is designed for those who want to know more about how members of the culturally, religiously, and professionally diverse population of this important region actually experience, manage, and find meaning in their everyday lives. Anthropologists, historians, folklorists, and scholars of religion, media and cultural studies all contribute different insights on this subject.
GEC Arts and Humanities Culture and Ideas Course; Folklore Major/Minor Elective.
 
Comparative Studies 470: Latin American Folklore and Folk Groups
Instructor: Katherine Borland
T Th 1:30-3:18
Course #: 26197
This course is an introduction to Folklore Studies of the Latin American Region. We will examine both folklore theory and methodology as it has been developed by Latin American scholars, and specific genres in selected culture areas. Without generalizing about the vast and diverse region we call Latin America, we will explore Mayan myth (the Popol Vuh), folklore of the Texas-Mexican Border, Caribbean musical traditions including salsa, Nicaraguan dance and festival, Afro-Brazilian Candomblê, and craft in Western Mexico. Our texts will be supplemented by video screenings, audiotapes, and other media sources. Students will help broaden our scope by conducting research on archives and special collections and identifying a particular cultural tradition of a particular group or area that they will explore in depth. Students will be invited to design a final project (research paper, performance, media project) based on that research. The course will have a substantial library research component and will include Ohio University Latin American Studies students via videoconferencing. Principal texts: Paredes, Folklore and Culture on the Texas-Mexican Border; Manuel, Caribbean Currents: the Popol Vuh; Landes, City of Women; and García-Canclini, Transforming Modernity.
Folklore Major/Minor Elective.

Scandinavian 513: The Icelandic Saga
Instructor: Merrill Kaplan
T Th 9:30-11:18
Course #: 26149
This course introduces students to the classical literature of Northern Europe: the medieval Icelandic Saga. The sagas have inspired Richard Wagner, Henrik Ibsen, and a long line of poets including William Morris, H. W. Longfellow, W. H. Auden, and Seamus Heaney. We will explore how this literature was constructed as “classical,” and why, despite this, it is not now part of our literary canon. We will also learn about medieval Iceland, a society with a system of representative government unique in medieval Europe and a legal system closely related to our own. Students will how blood feud can actually limit violence and how women of medieval Iceland could exert extra-legal influence on the affairs of men. Students will learn to analyze and interpret sagas both as literary works and ethnographic sources. Most importantly, students will learn how to read and appreciate saga prose, wherein can be found much action, intrigue, revenge, questionable legal tactics, pithy dialogue, and some of the noblest heroes and most imperious and powerful women ever to grace the page.
This course complements SCAN 222: Nordic Mythology and Medieval Culture. It may be of particular interest to students of Swedish language. There are no prerequisites.
Folklore Major/Minor Elective
 
English 561: Special Topics in Fictional and Nonfictional Narrative: Oral History, Life History, and Conversational Narrative
Instructor: Amy Shuman
M W 1:30-3:18
Course #: 26356
We will begin with the fundamentals of narrative form and then explore narratives as part of communities' collective memories, as part of life history, and in the stories people tell to each other informally in everyday life. This course will provide students with the tools to both collect narratives and to do narrative analysis for a variety of research projects.
Folklore Major/Minor Elective
 
English 577.01: Folk Groups and Communities: Immigration, Ethnicity, and Refugee Culture
Instructor: Amy Shuman

M W 9:30-11:18
Course #: 26359
This course explores ethnicity, immigration, and refugee culture through the narratives and cultural performances groups create for themselves and for outsiders. Our topics include food, rituals, ethnic jokes, slurs, and stereotypes, dance, festival, and crafts (including the marketplace for fair trade). Our focus is on the politics of culture seen through artistic expression. Requirements include observation and description of a cultural performance or interview with someone about their immigrant/ethnic/refugee experiences.
Fulfills the non-literature requirement for the English major; Folklore Major/Minor Requirement.
 
English 597.02: American Regional Cultures in Transition: Appalachia, Louisiana, and the Texas Border Country
Instructor: Willow Mullins
M W 9:30-11:18
Course #: 17359
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.
GEC Capstone Issues of the Contemporary World; Folklore Major/Minor Elective.
 
Anthropology 620.08: Special Topics in Cultural Anthropology: The Anthropology of Food: Culture, Society and Eating
Instructor: Jeffrey H. Cohen
M W 10:30-12:18
Course #: 25525
In this course, we explore the anthropology of food and the place of food in culture and society. Our central theme is the role of food in the creation of social and group identity. You’ll learn a little anthropology and a lot about why we study food and you will have the opportunity to conduct fieldwork around the food traditions you love.
Folklore Major/Minor Elective
 
NELC 648/ Comparative Studies 648: Studies in Orality and Literacy
Instructor: Margaret Mills
W 2:30-5:18
Course # NELC: 26091; Course # CS: 26103
This course introduces some major theoretical trends concerned with literacy, oral communications and their interactions in global perspective, then critiques those theories in light of case material, key elements of which are from the Middle East. All readings are in English, and students working in other areas of the world are encouraged to write their final research papers on case material or theory with direct reference to their own areas of specialization, and to bring their comparative and critical perspectives derived from other parts of the world to bear on class discussion.
Since approximately the middle 1970’s, case studies of oral traditions and oral forms of communication, and the comparative study of literacy practices worldwide, have been thriving fields. Historically, in the West, literacy has been seen by some as the key to the development of rational thought, historical consciousness, and civil society. Debates over the cognitive and social effects of forms of mass literacy, from print to the internet, are ongoing.
In this class we will review some foundational theorizations (Street vs. Ong on literacy, Lord building on Parry in modeling orality and oral tradition) and go on to look at subsequent extensions and critiques of them in case studies. The readings offer a sampler of history of the topic the last 35 years.  Some questions to be addressed are:

  • What claims have been/ can be made for technological effects of literacy on societies?
  • What are the effects of oral performance on performers and audiences in different social contexts, and what are the mechanisms of those effects?
  • What are some of the operative concepts of authorship, responsibility or authority over texts (variously defined) or other kinds of intangible property claims emerging from different case studies?
  • How can the multiplicity of social contexts and varieties of communication be accommodated in any sort of comparative or unified theory of either orality or literacy at this juncture (or for that matter, of their interaction)?

Folklore Major/Minor Elective; Topics Option Folklore GIS.

Arabic 672: Arab Folk Narrative in Translation
Instructor: Sabra Webber
Th 3:00-5:48
Course #: 25641
The purpose of this course is twofold; first, it is to examine in some detail a representative body of Arab popular narrative and related forms as they are drawn upon today. What is the significance of verbal art as it I performed in present day social and cultural contexts? Second, it is to introduce students to methodological approaches to the study of folk narrative.
The Arab world maintains side-by-side rich traditions of oral and written literature. Although this course will focus on folk and popular narrative, we will not neglect to consider the effect that a literate population has on verbal art both as process and product. How does exposure to literacy affect the structure and content of verbal art forms? What effect does the reading aloud, rather than simple recounting, of a popular narrative have on performance and on audience response and evaluation? What effect does diglossia have on verbal art forms?
Throughout the course, we will be discussing how, and to what degree, verbal art in general, and narratives in particular, can be studied as definers and negotiators of cultural reality. What is the relationship of folk and popular narrative to other verbal art forms, and how does folk narrative reflect or comment upon Arab society and culture of a given time and place?
 
Sample Texts:
Excerpts from The Arabian Nights (Husain Haddawy)
Arab Folklore (Dwight Reynolds ed)
Salam/Pax: The Clandestine Diary of an Ordinary Iraqi (Salam Pax)
Folklore Major/Minor Elective
 
Comparative Studies 677.02: Studies in World Folklore: Themes in World Folklore: Folklore, Memory, and History
Instructor: Ray Cashman
T Th 1:30-3:18
Course #: 26144
This course explores the interrelationships between folklore and history, memory and the past. What can we discover about the past from various surviving forms of popular expressive and material culture (e.g., ballads and vernacular architecture)? At stake is rescuing from oblivion the experiences, values, and worldviews of common people in the past. What can we discover about culture in the present from contemporary vernacular constructions of the past (e.g., commemorative parades and battle reenactments)? At stake is differentiating between history and memory, understanding the appeal of the past in the present, and appreciating how people use the past in the present to envision a future that fits their moral, social, and political agendas. Key concepts include folklore, identity, tradition, oral history, material culture, commemoration, nostalgia, social or collective memory, and the politics of culture. Using perspectives from folklorists, anthropologists, and historians, we will advance our understanding of culture, past and present, through transdisciplinary dialogue.
 
Readings will include several shorter texts on Carmen and the following:
Jan Vansina. Oral Tradition as History
Guy Beiner. Remembering the Year of the French: Irish Folk History and Social Memory
Maurice Halbwachs. On Collective Memory
Paul Connerton. How Societies Remember
Keith Basso. Wisdom Sits in Places: Landscape and Language among the Western Apache
Richard Flores. Remembering the Alamo: Memory, Modernity, and the Master Symbol
 
Assignments include reviews of and presentations on relevant books not on the syllabus, and a final research paper and presentation.
Folklore Major/Minor Elective; Topics Option Folklore GIS.
 
English 770.01/ Comparative Studies 770.01: Introduction to Graduate Study in Folklore: Genres and Interpretive Methods
Instructor: Merrill Kaplan
T Th 1:30-3:18
Course # English: 26740; Course # CS: 26744
How do we interpret traditional forms and the cultural practices that create them? How can we read cultural expression as text within the context of its performance? This course provides a lightning introduction to folklore and the intellectual wellsprings of its study. It then moves on through several canonical genres of traditional expression such as festival, fairytale, legend, folk belief, jokes, and costume with an eye towards developing the tools necessary for their interpretation. Throughout, the usefulness of the concept of genre to the study of folklore will be interrogated.
Readings will include article-length work by significant scholars in the field: Linda Degh, Gillian Bennett.  In addition to written responses to readings, students will compile an annotated bibliography of scholarship on a single genre and write a short paper interpreting an example of that genre.
Tools 1 Option Folklore GIS
 
English 872: Introduction to Discourse Analysis
Instructor: Galey Modan
T Th 3:30-5:18
Course #: 17378
How do we get off the phone, buy beer, talk to parents with Alzheimer’s, write love letters, play with our friends, fight with our loved ones, pull the wool over someone’s eyes? What kinds of contextual information is it important for a researcher to bring to analysis, and what kinds of information should a researcher refrain from imposing on participants’ experience? For students interested in examining discourse as part of a social science or humanities research project, this course will provide you with tools to analyze discourse structure and the relation of linguistic patterns to patterns of social and political interaction. Drawing from subfields such as interactional sociolinguistics, pragmatics, ethnography of communication, and critical discourse analysis, we will explore how the contexts of various spheres of social interaction both construct and are constructed by discourse that occurs in or in relation to them. The approach that we will take to analyzing texts is a micro one, focusing on the ways in which the details of linguistic structure connect to more macro spheres of social engagement.
Topics Option Folklore GIS
 
Other courses of interest:

 
English 879: Rhetoric: The Expanding Territory
Instructor: Nan Johnson
M W 3:30-5:18
Course #: 26370
Since Kenneth Burke claimed in A Rhetoric of Motives (1950) that the function of rhetoric is “rooted in an essential function of language itself, a function that is wholly realistic, and is continually born anew; the use of language as a symbolic means of inducing cooperation in beings that by nature respond to symbols,” rhetorical theorists and critics have been tracking down just how far out we can map the rhetorical nature language, action, and experience. In this course we will focus on how rhetorical studies has expanded the range of rhetorical practices to include the study of performance, iconology, and memory and how these rhetorical modes have shaped privileged and dissenting arguments about identity, community, and nation. We will read rhetorical studies and interdisciplinary scholarship that demonstrate how persuasion is produced and received through discourse, art, cultural materials, and social performance.
 
Classics 870: Ancient Myths and the Origins of Religion
Instructor: Philippe Borgeaud
Th 3:30-6:30
Course #: 17232
We will analyse stories told (among others) by Herodotus (on the origin of the names of Greek gods), Evhemerus, Diodorus of Sicily (on the primitive forms of religion), Dionysus of Halicarnassos (on primitive religion in Greece and Rome), Ovid (on Pygmalion and cult of images) and also by Jewish and Christian Authors (as Artapanus, Justin, Tertulian, on the origin of polytheism). We will show how these very ancient scholarly myths function as fundamental references for the modern invention of an academic study of religions (for this last point, which will be alluded to, cf. Guy G. Stroumsa, A New Science. The Discovery of Religion in the Age of Reason, Cambridge, Mass., London, 2010).
Philippe Borgeaud is a guest professor from the University of Geneva and a well-known historian of ancient religions.

Spring 2012

Slavic 130: Introduction to Slavic Folklore (aka Vampires, Monstrosity, & Evil in East European & American Culture)
Instructor: Dan Collins
M W 10:30-12:18
Course #: 27154
Slavic 130 discusses different approaches to the problem of Evil. We focus on the myth of the vampire, an embodiment of Evil that has had enduring power both in East European folk belief and in American popular culture right up to the present day. It has been observed that “every age creates the vampire that it needs” (Nina Auerbach). In other words, different cultures and time periods have different views on the definition and causes of Evil (or even whether Evil exists at all). Therefore, we have to examine the images of the vampire and Evil (or its absence) in the cultural contexts that gave them rise: Traditional East and East Central European peasant culture; Modern Eastern and East Central European urban culture; Western Europe in the Ages of Reason, Romanticism, and Progressivism; and American popular culture in the 20th and 21st centuries In our study of vampire beliefs and evil, we will cover a wide variety of topics: Folk beliefs about time, death, the soul, the family, fertility, and diseases; functions of monsters in coping with fears, identity issues, & repressed desires; rites of passage and their functions in society; boundary-crossers and their demonization in East European folklore; views on Evil in different religions and philosophies; and the vampire's changing image over the ages and how it relates to changing ideas of Evil.
 
English 270: Introduction to Folklore
Instructor: Martha Sims
M W 1:30-3:18
Course #: 12653
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.
GEC Arts and Humanities Cultures and Ideas Course; Folklore Major/Minor Requirement.
 
English 367.05: The U.S. Folk Experience
Instructor: Kate Parker
T Th 11:30-1:18
Course #: 12683
In this course, we will use the core concepts and methods of the field of folklore as the basis for reading assignments and writing projects. Because the theme of this course is "The U.S. Folk Experience," we will begin with a brief introduction to basic concepts of American folklore and ethnography, including folk groups, tradition, and fieldwork methodology, focusing on how these concepts and methodologies contribute to the development of critical reading, writing, and thinking skills. Students will also learn fieldwork techniques and use them in the study of local practices and groups. These practices will provide the "raw data" students will use for ethnographic writing assignments.
GEC Social Diversity in the U.S.; Second Writing Course; Folklore Major/Minor Elective.
 
East Asian Languages and Literatures 357: Folklore in East Asia
Instructor: Mark Bender
M W 2:30-4:15
Course #: 12366
This course uses multi-media, readings, and hand-on projects to survey the legacy of oral performance and material culture traditions in contemporary China, Korea, and Japan. Themes include folk songs, folk stories, epics, rituals, folk dances, ethnic costume, food culture, ethnic tourism, impact on pop culture and more. There will be a strong emphasis on the ethnography of several ethnic minority groups in SW China. Mention will also be made of cultures in North East India near the Chinese border. Course content is supported by Prof. Bender's extensive fieldwork collections of photos, tapes, costumes and crafts. There will be online and in-class projects, a midterm, and an individual project/paper.
Folklore Major/Minor Elective.
 
English 577.02: Folklore Genres: Folk Music and Musical Cultures
Instructor: Willow Mullins
T Th 9:30-11:18
Course #: 26284
What do the blues, bluegrass, reggae, and punk have in common? The term “folk music” may bring images of banjos and accordians, circles of musicians or Bob Dylan, but every kind of music has a “folk.” This class will explore how music functions as a folklore genre from Chicago to Newport, Ireland to Appalachia. We will explore the roles music plays as a dialogue between the individual, the community, and the society. We will look at how we use music to represent our identities and our causes while we are simultaneously shaped by the music around us.
Folklore Major/Minor Core Course.
 
English 597.01: The Disability Experience in the Contemporary World
Instructor: Amy Shuman
M W 9:30-11:18
Course #: 12704
Global, national, and local issues of disability in the contemporary world. 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.
Prerequisites: Jr or Sr standing.
GEC Issues of the Contemporary World; Folklore Major/Minor Elective.
 
Korean 600: Performance traditions of Korea
Instructor: Chan Park
W 3:30-6:18
Course #: 26353
For both graduates and undergraduates, combination of theoretical discourse and hands-on performance workshops and performance.
Cross-cultural and interdisciplinary exploration of cultural expressiveness in the context of Korean performance traditions; includes guided research, field work, ethnography and performance workshop.
Prerequisites: Korean 231 or 251, or Chinese 231 or 251 or 252, or EALL 131, or Japanese 231 or 251 or 252; or permission of instructor.
Folklore Major/Minor Elective.
 
Comparative Studies 677.02: Themes in World Folklore: Travelers, Tourists, Tricksters
Instructor: Sabra J. Webber
M 5:30-8:18
Course #: 26477
It took an ex-physicist—Francis Crick—and a former ornithology student—James Watson—to crack the secret of life. They shared certain wanderlust, an indifference to boundaries. Robert Wright.
The king must have contact not only with the central power but also with the randomly scattered sources of unusual events in the magical field beyond his boundaries.  If those sources cannot be vanquished and assimilated, at least some measured contact with them must be kept.  Thus, for example, the king or his ministers may seek information from ambassadors, spies and travelers, prophets and soothsayers. Willeford, 157
 
This seminar takes a critical look at different sorts of travel and travelers--explorers, ethnomusicologists, anthropologists, folklorists, NGO and government officials and workers, missionaries, and tourists. We will look at a wide range of travel narratives and their relation to “tricksters” and trickster stories as they arise in different 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.
 
We will start with works that address the trickster and, at least indirectly, the trickiness of travel. The book, Out of Our Minds: Reason and Madness in the Exploration of Central Africa, by Johannes Fabian, from which we will read two chapters, attends mostly to travel and exploration, but the trickster theme is there for us to discover. The article, “’A Tolerated Margin of Mess’: The Trickster and His Tales Reconsidered,” by Barbara Babcock-Abrahams provides something of a check-list of trickster characteristics. We will then move from past to present travel and from explorers to travelers to tourists in the readings for the next few weeks. As we move through the course, students are urged to reflect on ways in which what they have read can inform their own projects (as these emerge) or that of others in the seminar as they come to understand them. The more you are successful at doing this, the more both your paper will “write itself” when you sit down to compose it. By the end of week students will have paper topics. By the second meeting, graduate students are required to, and undergraduates may wish to, recommend an article or chapter that they feel would be of theoretical use to their fellow scholars. For the rest of the course we will consider intensively the selected articles, which will be available on e-reserve, brainstorming together to help each member of the seminar produce his or her best work.
Folklore Major/Minor Core Course; Topics Option Folklore GIS.
 
Comparative Studies 677.03: Studies in World Folklore: Textiles and Material Culture
Instructor: Willow Mullins
M W 11:30-1:18
Course # 26478
Things are so much a part of our lives that we often don’t think about them at all, but they help us define who we are, personally and culturally, and literally shape how we live. This course is about things in general. Through the term, we will tackle a series of questions: What makes an object an object, especially in a virtual world? How do objects represent, what happens when they are on display? How do objects make meaning and become signs? We will begin by looking at what we mean by “things” – from gravestones to clothing, handmade chairs to tattoos, we’ll explore how objects function and help us to make meaning in everyday life. We’ll see how objects are crucially interwoven with other folk forms, including verbal art, ritual, and festival. From the things around us, we move to the display of things, in our homes, on our bodies, and in the museum. Bringing these discussions together, we will end in the marketplace, where things become signs to be exchanged for other things. Along the way, we’ll pursue some object studies of our own.
Folklore Major/Minor Core Course.

 
English/ Comparative Studies 770.02: Folklore Field Research
Instructor: Amy Shuman
M W 1:30-3:18
Course #: 26295/ 26744
This course explores a range of methodological, theoretical, and ethical issues in fieldwork as practiced in folklore and allied fields of ethnographic research. Students will apply perspectives, methods, and strategies from readings and discussion in a series of hands-on exercises that will include participant-observation and face-to-face interviewing. The course provides instruction in designing a research project, applying for IRB status, writing proposals for small projects and dissertation research, identifying and applying for grants, contacting communities/individuals, using technologies for documentation, writing field notes, varieties of analysis, and writing results. No previous familiarity with folklore, ethnography, or fieldwork required.
Tools 2 Folklore GIS.
 
Edu Teaching & Learning 925.10: Seminar on Language and Literacy Ideologies
Instructor: Marcia Farr
T 4:30-6:48
Course #: 24801
Description:
Language ideologies are beliefs about language that link kinds of language use with categories of human beings, placing them in particular positions in the social world. These beliefs can be explicit and consciously articulated by people, or they can be implicit and only able to be inferred from discourse and other social practices of people. Language ideologies are not simply about language, but also involve social and cultural conceptions of personhood, citizenship, morality, quality and value, etc. (defining, for example, who is a “good” speaker, person, citizen, etc.). Because of this, language ideologies have material effects in the world and thus are particularly important to understand.
 
Whereas research on language ideologies has burgeoned within the last two decades, little such research has explored the written side of language use, or literacy practices. In this seminar we explore both the literature on language ideologies and some new studies on literacy ideologies. Together we will develop and differentiate ideologies that inhere in beliefs about language and those that inhere in beliefs about literacy, especially since ideologies about language heavily impact literacy practices. This exploration will include attention to the history of Standard English, following the advent of printing and mass literacy, and the rise of nation-states in Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries. We will also consider particular European-origin language and literacy ideologies that have accompanied European colonialism around the world, investigating contemporary language and literacy practices and ideologies in a global context.
Course Objectives:

  • Understand contemporary attitudes toward and beliefs about language and literacy in their historical contexts;
  • Understand how attitudes grounded in language ideologies impact literacy practices across populations and settings;
  • Learn how an ideology of monolingualism is linked to an ideology of language standardization, and their combined impact on literacy standards;
  • Become skilled at synthesizing research on a focused topic and developing questions for new research;
  • Develop expertise in analyzing either published sources or collected language/literacy data to answer research questions posed by a critical review of extant research.


Texts:
Blommaert, Jan. 2008. Grassroots literacy: Writing, identity and voice in Central Africa. New York and London: Routledge.
Kroskrity, Paul V. (ed.) 2000. Regimes of language: Ideologies, polities, identities. Santa Fe, New Mexico: School of American Research Press.
Bambi B. Schieffelin, Kathryn A. Woolard & Paul. V. Kroskrity (eds.). 1998. Language ideologies: Practice and theory. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Other Readings (available on Carmen)

Summer 2012

English 2367.05: The U.S. Folk Experience
Instructor: Kate Parker
M W F 4:20-6:10
Course #: 4556
In this course, we will use the core concepts and methods of the field of folklore as the basis for reading assignments and writing projects. Because the theme of this course is "The U.S. Folk Experience," we will begin with a brief introduction to basic concepts of American folklore and ethnography, including folk groups, tradition, and fieldwork methodology, focusing on how these concepts and methodologies contribute to the development of critical reading, writing, and thinking skills. Students will also learn fieldwork techniques and use them in the study of local practices and groups. These practices will provide the "raw data" students will use for ethnographic writing assignments.
GEC Social Diversity in the U.S.; Second Writing Course; Folklore Major/Minor Elective

 

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