Courses: 2012-2013

Autumn 2012 | Spring 2013

Autumn 2012

Slavic 2230: Vampires, Monstrosity, and Evil: From Slavic Myth to Twilight
Instructor: Dan Collins
M W F 10:20-11:15
Course #: 9909
Slavic 2230 is a course that discusses different approaches to the problem of Evil. We will 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). Thus we will examine the images of the vampire and Evil (or its absence) in the cultural contexts that gave them rise: traditional Southeastern, Eastern, and East Central European folk culture; Modern East 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.
GE Cultures and Ideas; GE Diversity: Global Studies

English 2270: Introduction to Folklore
Instructor: Ray Cashman
W F 11:30-12:50
Course #: 8030
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 2367.05: The U.S. Folk Experience
Instructor: Katherine Horigan
M W F 1:50-2:45
Course #: 9354
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

Comparative Studies 2864H: Modernity and Postmodernity: Issues and Ideas: Development Theory
Instructor: Katherine Borland
T Th 2:20-3:40
Course #: 10548
Since the end of World War II, the development paradigm has structured relations between the global north and south in powerful ways. This course will introduce students to the history of the “development” concept, its successes and failures in the 20th century, and the more recent 21st century paradigms—alternative development, sustainable development, philanthrocapitalism, post-development—that currently dominate our conversations. Students will be encouraged to ask themselves the following questions: Is develop a transitive or intransitive verb? What causes abject poverty (ie poverty without dignity or hope)? What are basic human needs? Which is the more serious problem: underdevelopment or overdevelopment? What should the goals of development be? What are the most appropriate methods for improving quality of life for all? Students will select a specific aspect of development that interests them (such as women in development, the environment, race relations, conflict mitigation) and become the class expert in that area, interrogating the various models we consider with a view to uncovering their effects and side effects on the issues that concern us most.
GE Literature; GE Diversity: Global Studies; Honors Course; Folklore Major/Minor Elective

Scandinavian 3350: Norse Mythology and Medieval Culture
Instructor: Merrill Kaplan
T Th 9:35-10:55
Course #: 8559
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.
GE Literature; GE Diversity: Global Studies; Folklore Major/Minor Elective

English 4559: Introduction to Narrative and Narrative Theory
Instructor: Amy Shuman
T Th 12:45-2:05
Course #: 12113
Stories give shape to our everyday life experiences. 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. Each student will collect stories that will become the focus of a term paper.
Folklore Major/Minor Elective

Comparative Studies 4597.03: Global Folklore
Instructor: Sabra J. Webber
T Th 9:35-10:55
Course #: 20012
This course provides an introduction to contemporary folklore from around the world. How do people from all walks of life create expressive or aesthetic culture in their everyday lives? How do communities and groups mark themselves and maintain a collective sense of themselves as distinct from other communities/groups, particularly in the midst of globalization? What does it mean to respect and conserve cultural as well as biological diversity? Students will begin by learning key concepts of folklore scholarship: culture, tradition, performance, genre, the local/global distinction, the folk/popular divide, the dynamics of tradition and innovation in folklore production. Through an exploration of these concepts students will develop an expansive definition of folklore as both the means by which groups distinguish themselves and the bridges among diverse communities. Additionally, we will explore a set of special topics in folklore through readings and films from various regions of the world. We will focus on the transmission and transformation of cultural knowledge and practice in situations of want, conflict, and upheaval. Sample Readings and Films: Excerpt from Barre Toelken’s The Anguish of Snails; Enid Schildkrout and Donna Klumpp Pido, “Serendipity, Practicality, and Aesthetics: The Art of Recycling in Personal Adornment,” in Recycled, Re-Seen: Folk Art from the Global Scrap Heap, ed. Cerny & Seriff; Alex Haley, “Black History, oral history and geneology”; Jana Hawley, “The Amish Veil: Symbol of Separation and Community”; Mohja Kahf “From Her Royal Body the Robe Was Removed: The Blessings of the Veil and the Trauma of Forced Unveilings in the Middle East,” in The Veil: Women Writers on its History, Lore and Politics, ed. Heath; the films Sugar Cane Alley, West Beirut.
GE Cross-Disciplinary Seminar; GE Diversity: Global Studies; Folklore Major/Minor Elective

English 4577.01: Folklore I: Groups and Communities: Gender
Instructor: Amy Shuman
T Th 9:35-10:55
Course #: 12312
Folklorists have always studied gender, whether in research on women's lament songs or on men's work songs, but this research has only recently become part of discussions on sexuality, global feminism, or feminist ethnography. Often the larger theoretical studies fail to account for local culturally-specific experiences. This course is designed to bring the culturally specific research into conversation with the theoretical work. Topics include: gender and "traditional" cultural practices; representations of gender in folktales, ballads, jokes and other genres; and gender politics in everyday life including sexuality, social roles, and stigma. Theoretical issues include the incompatibility of cultural relativism and feminism; global feminism and local cultural resistance movements; and feminist ethnography.
This course will be taught in conjunction with Professor Borland's Comparative Studies Course CS 5957.01 Feminist Folklore.
Folklore Minor/Major Elective

Anthropology 5625: Special Topics in Cultural Anthropology: Anthropology of Religion
Instructor: Jeffrey H. Cohen
T Th 8:00-9:20 AM
Course #: 8162
In this course we explore how religion is defined and studied by anthropologists. You will do several short research projects focused on a specific group and its religious beliefs using the E-HRAF files. You will learn how anthropologists have studied religion through time and how theories of religion in anthropology have changed. The most important prerequisite, is an open mind!

Comparative Studies 5668/ NELC 5568: Studies in Orality and Literacy
Instructor: Sabra J. Webber
Th 3:55-6:50
Course #: 12313/ 7520
This course takes place thirty years after the publishing of Walter Ong’s influential 1982 work, Orality and Literacy: The Technologizing of the Word. Ong touches briefly on what he called, secondary oral cultures, those emergent with the advent of television and radio, but perhaps for our purposes in this course more usefully with the advent of hypertext/hypermedia phenomena. As we move forward in the course we will keep an eye on these emerging phenomena and those who study them considering, at the suggestion of Fowler and others, how hypermedia processes and products might lead us to understand more complexly oral, manuscript, as well as book cultures as they interweave across time and space.

The focus in this course is on theoretical trends in orality and literacy studies that engage with expressive or aesthetic (“performative” as linguistic anthropologists or folklorists understand the term) examples of oral or written communication, sacred or secular, that consider texts, textures and contexts, especially audience, in their analyses. We will also privilege theoretical studies that consider the permeable boundaries among the oral, written, and secondary oral rather than, for example, setting up absolute dichotomies between various manifestations of oral and written. We will test these theoretical claims with recourse to case studies particular to one or another of a spectrum of local communities.

Students are urged to bring their own projects based in any language or combination of languages to the metaphorical and actual course table, though all readings will be in English. Student projects can address any culture and any time period, but the work done on it in this particular seminar will be expected to draw on our mutually considered course readings as the means to move the particular study forward.

Global theories of both orality and literacy owe much to studies of Near Eastern data, ancient, medieval, and contemporary, but we will also draw on comparative examples that apply similar theory in alternative places and times, and those that engage with dissimilar theory applied to the same expressive phenomena. Among others, we will read excerpts from works by Martin Jaffee, John Foley, Roman Jakobson, Michael Zwettler, Donna Haraway, Joyce Coleman, G. Bauman, Ong himself, Robert Fowler, and Galit Hasan-Rokem.

This course can be taken to fulfill the topics component of the Graduate Interdisciplinary Specialization in Folklore.

Comparative Studies 5957.01: Comparative Folklore: Feminist Folklore
Instructor: Katherine Borland
T Th 9:35-10:55
Course #: 12077
In this course we will trace the various paradigms for studying women, gender and feminism in folklore and ethnography that have emerged over the last quarter century. After reviewing the foundations of feminist folklore in the 1970s and 1980s, we will pay particular attention to contemporary approaches, theories and projects that illuminate the relationships between performance, gender and power.
This course will be taught in conjunction with Professor Shuman's course English 4577.01: Gender.
Folklore Major/Minor Elective

Comp Studies 6750.01/ Eng 6751.01/ Eng 6751.11: Introduction to Graduate Study in Folklore I: The Philology of the Vernacular
Instructor: Merrill Kaplan
W 9:10-12:25
Course #: 7340/ 7226/ 7227
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.
This course is one of the two Tools courses required for the Graduate Interdisciplinary Specialization in Folklore. For more information on GIS, see http://cfs.osu.edu/programs/graduateoptions/gis
Tools 1 Folklore GIS

Comparative Studies/English 7350.01: Theorizing Folklore 1: Tradition and Transmission
Instructor: Dorothy Noyes
W F 9:35-10:55
Course #: 7339/7410
This course examines the transmission of cultural forms through time and space across social networks. We pay special attention to the tension between conservation and innovation, fixity and process. We look also at the interplay of conscious intentions and valuations with more inattentive or habitual forms of practice. As an extension of this dynamic, we look at the concept of tradition itself as a keyword of Western modernity, which circulates between general and scholarly usage and picks up ever more ideological baggage in the process. We also review the contributions of historical approaches including diffusionism and the comparative method, formalism andstructuralism, oral-formulaic studies, literacy and entextualization, network theory, memory studies, and memetics. We conclude with reifications including folklorismus, the nationalist and colonialist "invention of tradition," and today's "intangible cultural heritage" and "cultural property."

Readings for the course (posted on Carmen) include theoretical texts as well as ethnographic case studies from a wide variety of cultural and social settings. Students will share in preparing for discussion and write a research paper on a topic relevant to their own interests.

This course fulfills the core theory requirement of the Graduate Interdisciplinary Specialization in Folklore. For more information, see http://cfs.osu.edu/programs/graduateoptions/gis
Theory 1 Option Folklore GIS

Other Courses of Interest:

Comparative Studies 3645: Cultures of Medicine
Instructor: Allison Fish
M W 9:35-10:55
Course #: 10782
This interdisciplinary course explores health arts and sciences, concepts of illness and disease, and representations of the human body in a range of cultural and historical contexts. Topics include the cultural constructions of the body as both a social entity and biological organism, the meanings and symbolism constructed around various pathologies, the social consequences of “medicalizing” racial and sexual differences, and the social impacts of new medical procedures. The goal of this course is to introduce you to the comparative and critical traditions of social inquiry, and to explore their utility for the study of the discourses, practices, and ethics surrounding various health modalities. Like other courses in Comparative Studies, it prepares you to explore the relations among systems of authoritative knowledge, cultural assumptions, and forms of power. Finally, by bringing together texts from a variety of genres and disciplines as well as visual materials, it helps train you to think about the possibilities and limits of particular theories, methods, and media.

Goals for students in this course are: 1) to gain a working knowledge of theoretical concerns of socio-medical inquiry; 2) to practice applying this knowledge to specific topics; 3) to gain some understanding of current issues in US and world medical systems; and more generally 4) to develop analytical skills that will help you think critically about issues of health, illness, and medicine as we encounter them in our lives and in our world.
This is a GE cultures and ideas and diversity global studies course.

Comparative Studies 7360: Theorizing Culture
Instructor: Morgan Liu
M 2:15-5:00
Course #: 12420
How does culture provide insight into ways of being human? Is the concept useful to understanding what people do, say, and think? We will think about “culture” variously as a tactic of power, as conflated with race and nation, as masking agency and voice, as discourse and practice, as neither local nor global but “networked”.

Readings are centered on ethnographies that plumb specific cases and simultaneously theorize subjectivity, knowledge, representation, gender, identity, embodiment, space, colonialism, complexity, the state, the global, etc. We will consider these case studies with respect to perspectives from cultural anthropology, human geography, linguistic anthropology, urban studies, cultural studies, history, political science, and sociology. Students from all disciplines are very welcome in this course.

The central portion of the class is the Course Essay you write (perhaps a piece of your future thesis) in light of the theories and perspectives of the course. The course’s seminar/lecture format involves close engagement among students and with me. There will be a mini-conference where students present their own work to the class for feedback.

Edu Teaching & Learning 7431: Ethnography of Communication I
Instructor: Leslie Moore
T 7:00-9:18 PM
Course #: 16842
The course introduces the Ethnography of Communication as a field of inquiry. The primary aim is to provide a theoretical and methodological framework for research on language and literacy. Text and readings cover theory, methods, and central concepts of the field and provide examples of research carried out within this tradition. Students will learn about the theoretical assumptions and conceptual frameworks of the Ethnography of Communication, as well as the various methods for both gathering and analyzing data. Since Ethnographers of Communication study oral and written language as they are embedded in various social and cultural contexts, this is a fertile framework for research on vernacular dialect speakers, English language learners, the use and acquisition of literacy, the inter-relationships of orality and literacy in daily practice across diverse populations, and other topics. This course is highly recommended for those considering language or literacy-focused ethnographic research for their dissertations. Ethnography of Communication II will be offered in spring 2013.

Theater 7899.04: Introduction to Performance Studies
Instructor: Ana Elena Puga
Th 3:00-6:00
Course #: 13051
Performance Studies has been described as a marriage of Theater and Anthropology. We will survey the foundational texts of major figures in this exciting new field, including Richard Schechner, Joseph Roach, Diana Taylor, Dwight Conquergood, and Shannon Jackson. Besides reading and analyzing the works of others, students will create a practical project that allows them to practice the methodologies we study, including interviews and participant-observation ethnography.

Spring 2013

 

Eastern Asian Languages and Literatures 1231: East Asian Humanities
Instructor: Mark A. Bender
Monday, Wednesday, Friday 11:30AM-12:25PM
Gateway Film Center House 1
Description TBA

Slavic 2230: Vampires, Monstrosity, and Evil: From Slavic Myth to Twilight
Instructor: Daniel Collins
Monday, Wednesday, and Friday 12:40PM-1:35PM
Jennings Hall 0060
This course discusses different approaches to the problem of Evil. We will 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). Thus we will examine the images of the vampire and Evil (or its absence) in the cultural contexts that gave them rise: traditional Southeastern, Eastern, and East Central European folk culture; Modern East 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.
GE Cultures and Ideas
GE Diversity: Global Studies
Folklore Major/Minor Elective


English 2270 // CS 2350: Introduction to Folklore
Instructor: Ray Cashman
Tuesday and Thursday 11:10AM-12:30PM
Stillman Hall 0245
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.  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 context 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. Required texts include Elliott Oring’s Folk Groups and Folklore Genres: An Introduction, Jan Brunvand’s The Vanishing Hitchhiker, Henry Glassie’s All Silver and No Brass, and several shorter readings accessible via Carmen. Assignments include quizzes, folklore collection and analysis project, and midterm and final exams.
GE Cultures and Ideas
Folklore Major/Minor Requirement


English 2270H // CS 2350H: Introduction to Folklore
Instructor: Amy Shuman
Wednesday and Friday 9:35AM-10:55AM
Arps Hall 0388
Learn the fundamental skills of doing research on the customs, traditions, and everyday life practices of your own and other communities.  Topics include ritual, festival, urban legend, fairytale, ballad, local music, campus life, social and political groups, cultural expressions, workplaces, the transmission of knowledge across time and space, verbal arts including joking and storytelling, dance and culture, food customs, tattoos and other bodily performances, and costumes.  The course provides step by step instruction in collecting and observing cultural performances and requires a term paper based on those collections/observations. The text is Living Folklore.

English 2367.05: The U. S. Folk Experience
Instructor: Martha Sims
Tuesday and Thursday 2:20PM-3:40PM
Central Classroom Bldg 0209
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.
GE Social Diversity in the US
Second Writing Course
Folklore Major/Minor Ethnography Elective


English 2367.05H: The U. S. Folk Experience
Instructor: Danille Christensen
Tuesday and Thursday 2:20PM-3:40PM
Central Classroom Building 0209
Description TBA
GE Social Diversity in the US
Second Writing Course
Folklore Major/Minor Ethnography Elective


Medieval & Renaissance 2666: Magic and Witchcraft in the Middle Ages and Renaissance
Instructor: Sarah Iles Johnston
Monday, Wednesday, and Friday 11:30AM-12:25PM
Journalism Building 0300
Description TBA
Folklore Major/Minor Elective

Anthropology 3334: Zombies: The Anthropology of the Undead
Instructor: Jeffery Cohen
Monday, Wednesday, and Friday 9:10AM-10:05AM
Ramseyer Hall 0065
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 “zombies”.  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.
Folklore Major/Minor Elective

Spanish 4555 and 4555E: Indigenous, Colonial, & National Literatures of Cultures of Spanish America
Instructor: Elizabeth Bell
Wednesday and Friday 2:20PM-3:40PM
Mendenhall Lab 0129
This course presents a panoramic view of the Latin American colonial imaginary through an examination of key contact-period texts from the Maya, Nahua, and Quechua cultures. The course will focus on indigenous perspectives of colonization its cultural impact in each of these cultural epicenters. Through these texts, we will discuss and critically examine key ideas still present in contemporary Latin America such as conceptualizations of space and time, orality, religious beliefs, and narratives of group and national identity. Then, for each cultural unit, we will discuss examples of contemporary performative practices – such as ritual, dance, or hip-hop – which appeal to the pre-Spanish knowledge systems evident in the colonial texts. Course is conducted in Spanish. Pre-reqs: SPA 3403 and SPA 3450 or equivalent.

English 4577.02: Folklore II: Genres, Form, Meaning, and Use: The Legend
Instructor: Merrill Kaplan
Wednesday and Friday 11:10AM-12:30PM
Bolz Hall 0316
This course introduces students to legend, that genre of folk narrative that includes tales of King Arthur and Elvis Presley, elves and alien abductions, and everything about the Mooney Mansion on Walhalla Drive. Students will gain familiarity with traditions of several places and times while exploring the structure and subject matter of legend, the relationship between legend, belief, and personal experience, and the nature of legend as contested truth. Students will learn about the history of the collection of legends and become acquainted with the work of major scholars. By the end of the course, students will understand some of the difficulties posed by attempts to define legend as a genre and have learned strategies for interpreting legend and rumor as meaningful expression. Readings will include both primary and secondary material. Primary material will be sought in both 19th-century Europe and the contemporary U.S., drawn from collections and archives as well as gathered from students' peers. Written work will include short response papers, a final exam, and a folklore collection project.
Folklore Major/Minor Elective

English 4597.02: American Regional Cultures and Global Transition: Appalachia, Louisiana, and the Texas Border Country                                                             
Instructor: Dorothy Noyes
Tuesday and Thursday 8:00AM-9:20AM
Denney 250                                                                          
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: positive and negative stereotyping from outside, complex racial and class composition, heavy in- and out-migration, environmental stress, tense and often violent relationships with both government and dominant local industries. 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? Requirements: active engagement, three essay exams, and two post-class responses.
GE Cross-Disciplinary Seminar
Folklore Major/Minor Elective


Comparative Studies 4655: Studies in Ethnography
Instructor: Leo Coleman
Tuesday and Thursday, 11:10AM-12:30PM
University Hall 0056
This class will focus on the ethnography of contemporary urban cultures, with a special focus on writing about global cities from Delhi to Dubai.  We will be reading ethnographies and consulting other forms of ethnographic data—censuses, maps, films—both in order to encounter other peoples and cultures, but also to understand what kind of data an ethnography provides and how we can use thebooks and articles of ethnography critically in constructing our own projects.  We will ask how we learn about, write about, and read about the lives which are lived now, in contexts of urban deprivation or in search of new opportunities through migration and mobility.  We will examine the research strategies that ethnographers use to identify contemporary problems, and how ethnography promises to capture such problems as they are lived and experienced, not merely as they are defined from above.  But we will also ask whether ethnography, as a research strategy and a mode of communication, can live up to its promises, and what aspects of lived reality and of political power are obscured by ethnography’s insistent focus on the local and on conceptual and personal reflexivity.
 
Organized around book-length ethnographies, this class will involve intensive reading and writing about culture, meaning, power, and difference.  We will read Katherine Boo’s recent “Beyond the Beautiful Forevers,” about slum-life in Mumbai, India, as well as ethnographic accounts of Indian software engineers, affluent traders in Dubai, and shopkeepers in New York, in order to understand how we are all, equally, contemporaries in a global, urban condition.
Folklore Major/Minor Ethnography Elective

International Studies 4800: Cultural Diplomacy
Instructor: Dorothy Noyes
Tuesday and Thursday 12:45AM-2:05PM
Lazenby 0002
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 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 grassroots alternatives to the Cold War model, emerging from both postcolonial and domestic resistance. Finally we look at the recent revitalization and reshapings of cultural diplomacy in response to consumer capitalism, the globalization of public opinion, new media, and geopolitical shifts. In each case we’ll examine concrete examples of cultural forms in motion to consider the possible effects and efficacy of CD initiatives. Requirements include quizzes, two take-home exams, and a short paper observing a cultural performance.
Folklore Major/Minor Elective
Undergraduate/Graduate Courses


Russian 5194: Russian Folklore
Instructor: TBA
Monday, Wednesday, and Friday 11:30AM-12:25PM
209 Central Classroom
This course introduces students to the rich variety of genres and forms of Slavic folklore from ancient times to the modern day. Our readings include stories, legends, fairy tales, historical songs, anecdotes, superstitions, riddles and proverbs. In addition, we examine rituals and traditions, as well as the visual images and material objects they employ. The role of the collective in folklore production, the relationship among identity, beliefs, and environment, and the transformation of human experience into cultural forms are some of the areas we shall investigate. By analyzing Slavic folklore and conducting their own folklore projects students will become acquainted with diverse genres and folklore theory as well as the elementary techniques necessary for field work.
Folklore Major/Minor Elective

Comparative Studies 5691: Topics in Comparative Studies: Ethnography, Film, Festival
Instructor: Katherine Borland
Tuesdays and Thursdays, 11:10AM-12:30PM
PLACE TBA
This course is a prerequisite for participation in the May term Fieldschool in Bluefields, Nicaragua. (See OIA description) This undergrad/grad course combines ethnographic content with practical skill building.  We will critically examine available ethnographies of Nicaragua (concentrating on the Creole Atlantic Coast but including Managua, Masaya and Miskito community studies).  We will review and practice ethnographic method, and we will study Folkloric, Documentary and Ethnographic filmmaking, reviewing exemplary projects and employing selected techniques. Finally, we will learn effective ways to catalog, store and archive footage and other data, so that our collected materials are accessible to diverse communities. The course will culminate in a month-long immersion experience in Bluefields, where we will be working with students at the Bluefields Indian and Caribbean University (BICU) Tourism program to document on film the interaction of tourism and cultural preservation in the annual Palo de Mayo (Maypole) Festival.  We will live with local residents, interview festival organizers and performers, audiences and tourists, and experience the festival ourselves.  As we document ourselves in the festival, we will regularly reflect on our own position vis-a-vis our community partners in the production of cultural meaning and cultural exchange.  Palo de Mayo is an afro-caribbean carnivalesque celebration that features a distinctive local music and dance (check it out on youtube.)  Bluefields is an English-speaking area of Nicaragua, but some ability to communicate in Spanish will be very helpful.  Ideal for those adventurous spirits who are looking for hands-on experience in ethnographic documentation in a team setting.The program fee for the Nicaragua Field School is $920 (this fee does not include airfare).
Folklore Major/Minor Ethnography Elective

Scandinavian Studies 5150: Old Norse
Instructor: Merrill Kaplan
Wednesday and Friday 12:45PM-2:05PM
Hagerty Hall 0488
This course is an intensive introduction to the grammar of the Old Norse-Icelandic language. Students will learn crucial morphology and prepare translations of excerpts from medieval Icelandic texts of assorted genres. The diligent student will complete the course with the ability to read normalized Old Norse texts of intermediate difficulty on his or her own with the aid of a dictionary. This course complements Scandinavian 3350: Norse Mythology and Medieval Culture, Scandinavian 5251: The Icelandic Saga, and the Swedish language sequence beginning with Swedish 1101. It may also be of interest to students of Old English language and literature Texts: E.V. Gordon, ed. An Introduction to Old Norse. 2nd ed. rev. A.R. Taylor. Oxford UP, 1983. For students who expect to continue their study, the following text is recommended: Geir T. Zoëga, ed. A Concise Dictionary of Old Icelandic. University of Toronto Press, 2004. Prerequisites: None. However, a working knowledge of Swedish, German, Old English or another Germanic language is extremely helpful. Familiarity with case languages such as Latin may also be useful. Students who have never studied any foreign language are advised to postpone enrollment in this course until they have done so.

Anthropology 5650: Research Design and Ethnography
Instructor: Mark Moritz
Monday, Wednesday, and Friday 10:20AM-11:15AM
Dreese Lab Classroom 0713
The focus of this course is on research design and ethnographic methods and it is highly recommended for all students who are considering doing social science research for their thesis. We will cover a wide range of methods for data collection and analysis. Students will learn how to design a study and be trained in different research methods by participating in a collaborative research project. In this project we will as a class design a study, collect data, analyze data, and write up the results. Students will also learn how to write competative grant proposals

English 6751 // Comparative Studies 6750.02: Introduction to Graduate Study in Folklore II: Fieldwork and the Ethnography of Communication
Instructor: Ray Cashman
Friday 9:10AM – 12:25PM
Denney Hall 0447
This course will be run as a seminar/workshop that explores a range of methodological, theoretical, and ethical issues in fieldwork as practiced in folklore and allied fields of ethnographic research. Qualitative methods covered include participant observation, interviewing, photography, transcription, and organizing and using field notes.   Issues raised by these qualitative methods include ethics and the politics of representation, collaboration and working relationships in the field, and how best to negotiate Institutional Review Boards for research with human subjects.  Topics of inquiry include the power of performance, the nature of verbal art, the workings of genre, and the poetics of place and identity.  Major theoretical inspiration comes from performance studies as developed by folklorists; linguistic, cultural, and visual anthropology; and sociolinguistics and the ethnography of communication. Class periods will alternate between discussion of readings and collectively reviewing and critiquing students’ fieldwork documentation and written reflections.  Students will apply perspectives, methods, and strategies from readings and discussion, in a series of exercises that offer students hands-on field experience, culminating in a final ethnography of a culturally significant performative act.
Tools 2 Folklore GIS

English 7350.03 // Comparative Studies 7350.03: Theorizing Folklore III: Differentiation, Identification, and The Folk
Instructor: Amy Shuman
Wednesday 12:40PM-3:55PM
Denney 435
This seminar explores the emergence of notions of tradition and modernity globally and in Eurocentric epistemologies. We will consider the implications of these concepts for differentiations among high and low, local and global, oral and written, sacred and secular, etc.  Readings will include Vico, Herder, Bauman and Briggs, DeCerteau, Bourdieu, Canclini, Chakrabarty, Clifford, Derrida, Foucault, Latour, Mignolo, Stewart, and Kirshenblatt-Gimblett, among others. We will critically reread foundational works published between the 17th century (especially German Romanticists) and the present along with texts with which they are in dialogue. In addition to these academic classifications, we will observe how groups use the category of folk in their understandings of themselves, whether in terms of heritage culture, ethnic customs, or subcultures. No prior familiarity with folklore is necessary.
Theory Option Folklore GIS

Chinese 7470: Ethnic Literature and Culture in China
Instructor: Mark A. Bender
Monday 5:10PM-7:55PM
Hagerty Hall 0071
Description TBA

 

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