Current Folklore Course Offerings

Body

Spring 2023 Courses

GRAD COURSES

 

ENGLISH 7350.01-0010  (crosslisted with COMPSTD) Theorizing Folklore 1: Tradition and Transmission (Seminar) 
Dorothy Noyes
Wednesday 12:40 - 3:40
DE 435

This course examines the transmission of cultural forms through time and space across social networks. Reviewing some of the principal approaches in folklore and related disciplines, we pay special attention to the tensions between conservation and innovation, fixity and process, property and mobility. 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 will do this first in order to clarify the stakes involved in speaking of tradition at all.) Finally, we'll run through a quick history of the "traditional" in modernity: its proliferations, codifications, reifications, revitalizations, and appropriations. 

Readings include theoretical texts as well as ethnographic case studies from a variety of cultural and social settings. They are intended to open up avenues of inquiry for you rather than to give you mastery of a particular theoretical tradition. Students will share in sustaining 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.   

 

GRAD/UNDERGRAD

Chinese 5400   Performance Traditions in China  
Mark Bender  
Credit: 3 
Tuesday / Thursday  2:20-3:40
Enarson Classroom Building 218 
28775 

Chinese 5400 covers topics in the rich and exciting panorama of oral performance traditions of CHINA and a bit of somewhat beyond (Mongolia, Myanmar, NE India).  Genres: storytelling, epic singing, folksongs, ritual, folk dance, puppet shows, local drama, and tourist extravaganzas of select local cultures and ethnic groups in China and borders.  Themes: Means of performance, orality and writing, narrative and lyric, tradition, local, ecology, embodiment, genealogy, ethnicity, representation, ICH, and gender. 

 

 

UNDERGRAD COURSES

​

CS4597.03. Global Folklore
Katherine Borland
Monday / Wednesday 9:35-10:55

This course provides an exploration of the dynamics of folklore in a global environment.  We will interrogate how culture becomes rooted in place (immobility), how it circulates (mobility) and how it moves from one group to another, one context to another (migration), producing a variety of consequences.  How do people from all walks of life create meaning and beauty in their everyday lives?  How do communities and groups maintain a collective sense of themselves that distinguishes them from other communities/groups, particularly in a period of rapid globalization?  What does it mean to respect and conserve cultural diversity?  And what do patterns of cultural circulation tell us about relations between individuals and groups, institutions and groups, as well as among nations. Students will begin by learning key concepts of folklore scholarship: culture, place, tradition, performance, genre, the local/global distinction, the folk/popular divide, the interplay of the customary and innovative in folklore production.  Students will develop an expansive definition of folklore as the means by which groups both distinguish themselves from as well as fashion bridges with diverse communities. We will look at the ways folklore moves through a range a practices, spanning everything from sacred ritual to touristic display.  We will focus on the transmission and transformation of cultural knowledge and practice in situations of want and plenty, peace and conflict, mobility and rootedness attending to the relations of power operating in and through traditional culture.

Fulfills NGE in Migration, Mobility and Immobility Theme; OGE Cross-disciplinary Seminar and Global Studies. 

 

SLAVIC 2230.01 Vampires, Monstrosity, and Evil: From Slavic Myth to Twilight 
Daniel Enright Collins
Tuesday / Thursday  11:10- 12:30
Pomerene 150

and- Online with Diana Sacilowski

Changing approaches to evil as embodied in vampires in East European folk belief & European & American pop culture; function of vampire & monster tales in cultural context, including peasant world & West from Enlightenment to now. Taught in English. Prereq: Not open to students with credit for 2230 or 2230.99. GE cultures and ideas and diversity global studies course. GE foundation historical and cultural studies course.

 

COMPSTD 2350-0020 (35528) / ENGLISH 2270-0020 (35531) Introduction to Folklore
Daisy Ahlstone
Monday / Wednesday 2:20 - 3:40PM
Hybrid/Mendenhall Lab 173

“Wait, you can study that?” Folklore isn’t only fairy tales. It’s also everyday culture from rumors and memes to holiday recipes and Bloody Mary in the mirror. All of it is meaningful and communicates messages about the identity and values of groups and individuals. Take this course to learn about how to think about the familiar in unfamiliar ways, see the artistry in the everyday, and discover the fascinating culture that is already yours. 

 

COMPSTD 2350/ENGLISH 2270-0010 Intro to Folklore 27341 
Zahra Abedinezhad
Tuesday/Thursday 11:10-12:30

 Introduction to Folklore offers theories of folklore studies and core related concepts such as narrative, context, performance, and folklore genres. We examine major genres of folklore such as oral traditions, material culture, and customary traditions. The main theme of this course is to demonstrate that we all are folks and folklore exists as part of our everyday lives across various communities and cultures. The general purpose of this course is for students to broaden their perspectives, think critically, learn how to analyze communities’ traditions and performances, and challenge stereotypical Western understanding of other cultures. Students will analyze the constructs of gender, race, and ethnicity through folklore research methods and materials. The class will be an interdisciplinary survey, drawing primarily on folklore supplemented by anthropology, art, race and gender studies, and other fields. Students will be motivated to apply class materials to their own lived experiences. Whatever students learn in the classroom space should lead them to think about how they can apply those lessons/theories in practice or in connection to real life. The course is organized around themes of group, tradition, context, performance, religion, art, ethnicity, gender but will also focus on matters of methodology-- particularly ethnography--and presentation of various genres of folklore. We will scrutinize examples and approaches to major folklore genres, but also will complicate, add to, and problematize the concept of genre as we engage in discussions that are ongoing in the discipline. Lectures and discussions will be supplemented with films, documentaries, and other activities in class. 

 

COMPSTD 2350H/ENG2270H Introduction to Folklore (Honors) 
Jasper Waugh-Quasebarth
Tuesday / Thursday 11:10 - 12:30PM
Enarson Classroom Building 018

This class explores forms of traditional, vernacular culture: memes, calendar customs, material culture, urban legends, and more! We will discuss the aesthetics of everyday culture used by folk groups (regional, ethnic, occupational, interest based, etc) to construct identity, communicate with others, and create (or tear apart) communities. Students will be introduced to various interpretive, theoretical approaches to examples of folklore and folklife. Throughout the class, we will examine the intellectual underpinnings of collection processes and category creation, asking ourselves how genres affect our interpretations of the world. Students will use these foundations to conduct their own folklore collecting project. Students will interview people from campus or their hometown for stories and other oral forms, and will document cultural practices through photographs, drawings and fieldnotes. Final collecting projects will be accessioned in the Student Ethnographic Collection at the Center for Folklore Studies Archives. 

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

 

ENGLISH 2367.05 - Eco-Fairytales 
Mary Hufford
Tuesday / Thursday 12:45-2:05

This undergraduate writing seminar will engage you in a project that began more than five centuries ago, with the rise of the nation state: the repurposing of fairy tales. You will encounter afresh a literary form known to you, perhaps, from as far back as you can remember. Over the course of the semester we will look at sources and revisions of six classic fairy tale types: the Kind and Unkind Girls, Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella, Snow White, Little Red Riding Hood, and Hansel and Gretel. We will examine the origins of particular tales, their cross-cultural manifestations, and the motives for and consequences of fairy tale revisions. From the patriarchal capitalist motives of 18th century writers to the illumination of patriarchal capitalist norms by recent feminist and ecocritical revisionists, we will explore shifting contexts for the transformative power of fairy tales. Writing exercises, research, and class discussion will help you to locate yourself in, and chart your own course through, the world of Fairy Tale. On the way, you’ll become acquainted with tools indispensable to folk tale scholars and fairy tale revisionists: motif and tale-type indexes. Your term project – either a criticism of a fairy tale revision or an original, well-annotated revision of your own -- will contribute to an unfolding, unfinalizable conversation on the fate and fortunes of happily ever after. Fulfills second writing requirement and diversity.

 

Scandinavian 4250 Scandinavian Folklore of the Supernatural (Masterpieces of Scandinavian Literature) 
Merrill Kaplan
Tuesday / Thursday  9:35-10:55
Derby Hall 049

If you know one creature from Scandinavian folklore, it is the Troll, but there’s a lot more in the archive than just one cranky monster under a bridge. This course is an introduction to the folklore of Scandinavia and the Nordic area with emphasis on narratives and beliefs about the supernatural – trolldom – not just trolls but witches, water horses, the Hidden Folk, and the people in the next village who just aren’t right. We’ll read texts translated from Norwegian, Swedish, Danish, Icelandic, Finnish, Sámi, and Greenlandic. Students will learn to interpret folklore as a reflection of the society that created it and of the interests of the scholars who collect it.

 

ENGLISH 4577.02 Folklore II: Legend, Rumor, Folk Belief, and Superstition (Genres, Form, Meaning, and Use)
Merrill Kaplan 
Tuesday / Thursday 2:20-3:40
Cockins 228

Rumors and spooky stories, superstitions and conspiracy theories, fake news and folk belief, UFOs and elves: folklorists study all these things and more as legendry, the genre in which societies work through their most pressing fears, beliefs, and doubts. Take this course for a deep dive into how legend crystalizes cultural anxieties and how people use legend in ongoing debates about the nature of our world.

 

Music 5194 Performing and Listening With Sonic Archives
Brian Harnetty
Tuesday / Thursday 12:45-2:05 pm 

Click the pdf for course information.

 

 

 

 


AUTUMN 2022 Courses

GRAD COURSES

 

Comparative Studies 8100
Interdisciplinary Learning Laboratory 1: Gentrification in Columbus

Miranda Martinez and Katherine Borland
Wednesday 2:15-5 PM
Hagerty Hall 451

The first in a two-course sequence, we will explore the debate about the causes and consequences of gentrification, using Columbus as our laboratory. We will review the literature in sociology and heritage studies on neighborhood change, consult with OSU colleagues currently conducting research on Columbus neighborhoods, and we will conduct several site visits to areas experiencing change in Columbus, in order to identify potential projects for ethnographic documentation during spring term 2023.  An ideal opportunity for students interested in gaining ethnographic experience and learning more about Columbus’ diverse communities. Enrollment in Spring 2023 8200 is encouraged but not required for students outside Comparative Studies.

 

English/CS 8858 PLAY: an interdisciplinary approach to aesthetics and culture  
Amy Shuman 
Tues 1:50-4:50 

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 explore anthropological studies of play as culturally situated and will pay particular attention to Susan Stewart’s work, from her book Nonsense to her more recent work on aesthetics.  All students are welcome. No previous work in folklore or anthropology is required.

 

MUSIC 7789  “African Music: Ideas, Forms, Trajectories”
Ryan Skinner 
Wed/Fri, 2:20-3:40pm

What is African music? What is African music? In a continent as large and varied as Africa, along with an expansive and diverse diaspora, discussions of an overarching “African” musical aesthetics appear, at best, overly ambitious and, at worst, grossly reductive. This course takes the manifest heterogeneity of African peoples, communities, and musics as an empirical point of departure. It acknowledges, however, that this diversity of musical practices has long been, and continues to be “Africanized” as an object of academic study, political debate, social movement, and cultural heritage; and it recognizes that African “music” (broadly defined) continues to be an important means of identity construction, in Africa and throughout its diaspora, as well as a discursive object of social and cultural difference – as an icon of African distinctiveness and difference in the world.

This course seeks to, first, introduce students to a broad range of arguments about African identity, collectivity, and music. To this end, we will take several weeks to explore the disciplinary history of African(ist) (ethno)musicology, from its comparativist beginnings to its multi-disciplinary present. Second, this course will familiarize students with a select sampling of Africa’s diverse musical traditions, including diasporic music cultures, as presented in historical, anthropological, and musicological texts and related audiovisual media.

 

UNDERGRAD COURSES

Comparative Studies 2350/English 2270  Introduction to Folklore
Zahra Abedi
Tu/Th 11:10AM - 12:30PM 

Introduction to Folklore offers theories of folklore studies and core related concepts such as narrative, context, performance, and folklore genres. We examine major genres of folklore such as oral traditions, material culture, and customary traditions. The main theme of this course is to demonstrate that we all are folks and folklore exists as part of our everyday lives across various communities and cultures. The general purpose of this course is for students to broaden their perspectives, think critically, learn how to analyze communities’ traditions and performances, and challenge stereotypical Western understanding of other cultures. Students will analyze the constructs of gender, race, and ethnicity through folklore research methods and materials. The class will be an interdisciplinary survey, drawing primarily on folklore supplemented by anthropology, art, race and gender studies, and other fields. Students will be motivated to apply class materials to their own lived experiences. Whatever students learn in the classroom space should lead them to think about how they can apply those lessons/theories in practice or in connection to real life. The course is organized around themes of group, tradition, context, performance, religion, art, ethnicity, gender but will also focus on matters of methodology-- particularly ethnography--and presentation of various genres of folklore. We will scrutinize examples and approaches to major folklore genres, but also will complicate, add to, and problematize the concept of genre as we engage in discussions that are ongoing in the discipline. Lectures and discussions will be supplemented with films, documentaries, and other activities in class. 

 

English/ COMPSTD 2350H - Introduction to Folklore  
Merrill Kaplan
TTh 2:20-3:40 

“Wait, you can study that?” Folklore isn’t only fairy tales. It’s also everyday culture from rumors and memes to holiday recipes and Bloody Mary in the mirror. All of it is meaningful and communicates messages about the identity and values of groups and individuals. Take this course to learn about how to think about the familiar in unfamiliar ways, see the artistry in the everyday, and discover the fascinating culture that is already yours. 

 

ENGLISH 3372 - Special Topics in Science Fiction or Fantasy 
Amelia Mathews- Pett 
Asynchronous 

The content of this course inhabits a space between science fiction and fantasy. In it, we will explore what some of the most common supernatural threats in literature and popular culture at large can tell us about human anxieties. To this end, we will dip our toes into the world of monsters, exploring formerly-human entities, humans with special powers, and human-made creatures. Our exploration will cover folklore, literature, and film to discuss how people use the idea of monsters to explain the unexplainable and create possibilities for interpreting human experience. While this course is neither strictly science fiction or strictly fantasy, by tracing some of the most common supernatural entities in American popular culture we can consider how monsters are made across those and related genres, juxtaposing critical differences between magical and scientific worldbuilding. At the core of each week’s content will be one central question: “What do monsters tell us about ourselves?”

 

SLAVIC 2230.01 - Vampires, Monstrosity, and Evil: From Slavic Myth to Twilight 
Daniel Collins
TuTh 12:45PM - 2:05PM

and SLAVIC 2230.99 
Diana Sacilowski
Online

Changing approaches to evil as embodied in vampires in East European folk belief & European & American pop culture; function of vampire & monster tales in cultural context, including peasant world & West from Enlightenment to now. Taught in English.
Prereq: Not open to students with credit for 2230 or 2230.99. GE cultures and ideas and diversity global studies course. GE foundation historical and cultural studies course.

 

Scandinavian 3350 - Norse Mythology and Medieval Culture 
Merrill Kaplan
TuTh 9:35AM - 10:55AM

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 medieval North by reading (in English translation) the most important textual sources on Scandinavia's pre-Christian mythology. Place-name, 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.

 

Comparative Studies - 4597.02 Global Culture 
Jasper Waugh-Quasebarth
TuTh 12:45-2:05
Mendenhall Lab 175

Examine contemporary global cultural flows, the concepts useful in analyzing them, and the questions they raise about power and cultural change. Prereq: Completion of second writing course. Not open to students with credit for 597.02. GE diversity global studies and cross-disciplinary seminar course  

 

MDRNGRK 2680 - Folklore of Contemporary Greece 
Georgios Anagnostou
TuTh 12:45PM - 2:05PM

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

 

NELC 2194: Virtual Education Abroad in Istanbul, Turkey
TBD
4 credits
Danielle Schoon

This Global Education Group Studies 4-credit on-line course offers a virtual education abroad experience in Istanbul, Turkey, that includes immersive opportunities such as virtual reality visits to important sites in Istanbul, on-line discussions and collaborative projects with students at a university in Istanbul, and workshops and demonstrations with Turkish scholars and artists in cooking, music and dance, language, and more. Our forays into the food, music, literature, politics, religions, architecture, design, and cultures of Istanbul will provide insights into Turkey's place at the crossroads between Europe and Asia.  

 

GERMAN 2254 - 010   Grimms' Fairy Tales and their Afterlives 
Kevin Richards
TuTh 3:55PM - 5:15PM

In this DL course, you will explore the many sides of the Grimms’ fairy tales from the classics to the lesser-known, tracing their development from mythic, folkloric, Italian, and French sources up through their modern politicization and popularization by Disney in Germany and beyond. Working to understand the meaning and the enduring appeal of one of Germany's greatest successes in the realm of cultural exportation - the Grimms' fairy tales, a book whose circulation figures are exceeded in Western culture only by those of the Bible. To explore their reach, we will also compare them to their adaptations in literature and film, from dark to Disney.
GE lit course.

All works in English translation; taught in English

 

MUSIC 4555.08, “African Music: Ideas, Forms, Trajectories”
Ryan Skinner 
Wed/Fri, 2:20-3:40pm

What is African music? What is African music? In a continent as large and varied as Africa, along with an expansive and diverse diaspora, discussions of an overarching “African” musical aesthetics appear, at best, overly ambitious and, at worst, grossly reductive. This course takes the manifest heterogeneity of African peoples, communities, and musics as an empirical point of departure. It acknowledges, however, that this diversity of musical practices has long been, and continues to be “Africanized” as an object of academic study, political debate, social movement, and cultural heritage; and it recognizes that African “music” (broadly defined) continues to be an important means of identity construction, in Africa and throughout its diaspora, as well as a discursive object of social and cultural difference – as an icon of African distinctiveness and difference in the world.

This course seeks to, first, introduce students to a broad range of arguments about African identity, collectivity, and music. To this end, we will take several weeks to explore the disciplinary history of African(ist) (ethno)musicology, from its comparativist beginnings to its multi-disciplinary present. Second, this course will familiarize students with a select sampling of Africa’s diverse musical traditions, including diasporic music cultures, as presented in historical, anthropological, and musicological texts and related audiovisual media.

 

Summer 2022 Courses

 

UNDERGRAD COURSES

 

ENGLISH 5189S-0010 - Comparative Studies Field School 
Katherine Borland, Mary Hufford
MoWeFr 10:20AM - 12:25PM
05/10/2022 - 06/17/2022

The Center for Folklore Studies, as part of its mission to coordinate and support folklore and cultural documentation throughout the state of Ohio, is conducting an ongoing research project focusing on Ohio communities’ responses to economic, environmental, and cultural change through their everyday practices and expressive culture. The project asks the question: How do Ohioans create a sense of place in a changing environment?

This semester will focus on woodlands in community life, asking the questions: What role do woodlands play in fostering a sense of place in southeastern Ohio? How do communities continue to rely on and steward forest species and habitats? What forest-based knowledge and skills are handed down, renewed, and celebrated in the biologically diverse uplands of the Ohio River Valley? Community partners include United Plant Savers, Rural Action, the Tablertown Museum, Integration Acres, and Women Owning Woodlands, all of which are located in Meigs, Athens, Hocking, and Morgan counties.

Scheduled during the first six-week summer session (SU 2022), this course has three parts:
Part 1:  W/F 10:20-12:25 May 11–May 27 (on campus)
Part 2: In-the-field, May 31–June 10th (lodging and travel covered by OFS grants)
Part 3: M/W/F 10:20-12:25 June 13–17 (on campus) 

Applications will be accepted until all spaces are filled. To apply, email Katherine Borland at borland.19@osu.edu. 

 

English 3372-0030: Special Topics in Science Fiction or Fantasy: The Fairy Tale and Reality
Dorothy Noyes
Asynchronous, Online 
06/21/2022 - 07/29/2022

This course examines the history and uses of the most influential narrative formula in the modern Western world: the fairy tale.  While most of us associate the fairy tale with magic and fantasy, here we consider the many ways in which fairy tales call us back to the "real" world. Fairy tales stage the choices of underlings as they seek to survive in a world where the rules are both imposed from above and unreliable. Poor people told competing versions of common stories as they debated the balance of luck, virtue, brains, and opportunism required to get off the farm. Their oral stories were reworked in print and successor media for a variety of commercial and ideological purposes, creating prominent models of selfhood and success along the way. Simultaneously, a fairytale counterculture has continually pushed the subversive undertones of the tales to denaturalize, even break dominant cultural scripts. All of these transformations point us to the tension inherent in all fantasy and especially visible in formula fiction: does it help us to accept reality, to reflect on reality and change it, or to escape reality altogether?

 

English 3372-0010: Special Topics in Science Fiction or Fantasy: Supernatural Anxieties 
Amelia Mathews-Pett
Asynchronous, Online
05/10/2022 - 06/17/2022

The content of this course inhabits a space between science fiction and fantasy. In it, we will explore what some of the most common supernatural threats in literature and popular culture at large can tell us about human anxieties. To this end, we will dip our toes into the world of monsters, exploring formerly-human entities, humans with special powers, and human-made creatures. Our exploration will cover folklore, literature, and film to discuss how people use the idea of monsters to explain the unexplainable and create possibilities for interpreting human experience. While this course is neither strictly science fiction or strictly fantasy, by tracing some of the most common supernatural entities in American popular culture we can consider how monsters are made across those and related genres, juxtaposing critical differences between magical and scientific worldbuilding. At the core of each week’s content will be one central question: “What do monsters tell us about ourselves?”

 

GERMAN 2254 - 010   Grimms' Fairy Tales and their Afterlives 
Kevin Richards 
05/10/2022 - 07/29/2022
TuTh9:50 - 11:10AM
Online

In this DL course, you will explore the many sides of the Grimms’ fairy tales from the classics to the lesser-known, tracing their development from mythic, folkloric, Italian, and French sources up through their modern politicization and popularization by Disney in Germany and beyond. Working to understand the meaning and the enduring appeal of one of Germany's greatest successes in the realm of cultural exportation - the Grimms' fairy tales, a book whose circulation figures are exceeded in Western culture only by those of the Bible. To explore their reach, we will also compare them to their adaptations in literature and film, from dark to Disney.
GE lit course.

All works in English translation; taught in English

 

GRAD COURSES

 

ENGLISH 5189S- 0020- Comparative Studies Field School 
Katherine Borland, Mary Hufford
MoWeFr 10:20AM - 12:25PM
05/10/2022 - 06/17/2022

The Center for Folklore Studies, as part of its mission to coordinate and support folklore and cultural documentation throughout the state of Ohio, is conducting an ongoing research project focusing on Ohio communities’ responses to economic, environmental, and cultural change through their everyday practices and expressive culture. The project asks the question: How do Ohioans create a sense of place in a changing environment?

This semester will focus on woodlands in community life, asking the questions: What role do woodlands play in fostering a sense of place in southeastern Ohio? How do communities continue to rely on and steward forest species and habitats? What forest-based knowledge and skills are handed down, renewed, and celebrated in the biologically diverse uplands of the Ohio River Valley? Community partners include United Plant Savers, Rural Action, the Tablertown Museum, Integration Acres, and Women Owning Woodlands, all of which are located in Meigs, Athens, Hocking, and Morgan counties.

Scheduled during the first six-week summer session (SU 2022), this course has three parts:
Part 1:  W/F 10:20-12:25 May 11–May 27 (on campus)
Part 2: In-the-field, May 31–June 10th (lodging and travel covered by OFS grants)
Part 3: M/W/F 10:20-12:25 June 13–17 (on campus) 

Applications will be accepted until all spaces are filled. But don't wait: apply now! Questions? Email cfs@osu.edu.