Course Archive: 2017-2018


Autumn 2017 | Spring 2018

Autumn 2017

Undergraduate Courses

Introduction to Folklore
(CompStds 2350/English 2270)
Katherine Borland | TuTh 11:10-12:30|

This class explores forms of traditional, vernacular culture—including verbal art, custom, and material culture—shared by people from a number of regional, ethnic, religious, and occupational groups. We will consider various interpretive, theoretical approaches to examples of folklore and folklife, and we will investigate the history of folklore studies. Recurring central issues will include the dynamics of tradition, the nature of creativity and artistic expression, and the construction of personal and group identities. Folklore theory and methods will be explored through engagement with primary sources: folktale, legend, jokes, festival, belief, and costume, and students will collect examples of folklore through fieldwork.


The U.S. Folk Experience 
(ENGLISH 2367.05)
| WeFri 12:35-2:05 | 

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.


Upper-Level Undergraduate Courses

The Legend
(English 4577.02)
Merrill Kaplan | TTh 12:35-2:05 | 

This course introduces students to legend, that genre of folk narrative that includes both elves and alien abductions, Kentucky - fried rats and political rumors, Slender Man and fake news. 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 legendand rumor as meaningful expression. Written work will include a folklore collection project.


Graduate Courses

Introduction to Graduate Study in Narrative and Narrative Theory
(English 6701)
Amy Shuman | Th 9:10-12:10 | 

An introduciton to the foundations of narrative study. The course provides the tools necessary to do narrative analysis for a thesis or dissertation on any sort of narrative text, including both narratives collected in interviews or on the web or in published fiction. We will include a wide variety of narratives including folk tales, everyday conversational narratives, stories about illness and disability, refugee stories, and stories about the ordinary and extraordinary experiences of everyday life. We will analyze narratives from a variety of sources, including published fiction and non-fiction, internet blogs and other media, and stories recorded in everyday life.


Theorizing Folklore III: Differentiation and The Folk
(CompStds/English 7350)
Amy Shuman | We 9:10-12:10 | 

This seminar explores the emergence of notions of tradition and modernity and their reproduction in particular cultural epistemologies and political formations. We will consider the implications of these concepts for differentiation among high and low, local and global, oral and written, etc. Readings will include Anderson, Bordieu, Butler, Canclini, Chakrabarty, CLifford, Derrida, Foucault, Herder, Latour, Mignolo, Pateman, Poovey, and Vico. We will critically reread foundational works published between the 17th century (especially German Romanticists) and the present -- along with philosophical texts with which they are in dialogue -- in terms of how they are imbricated within and help produce traditionalities and modernities.

Affiliated Courses

Turkish Culture
(Turkish 2241)
Danielle Schoon | TuTh 9:35-10:55 | 

An introduction to Turkish culture through reading of literature and criticism, and listening and viewing of films, slides, and performances arranged for the class.  Prereq: Not open to students with credit for 241. GE cultures and ideas and diversity global studies course. This is a course exposing students to a diverse and living culture with a great and ancient heritage. Contributions of the local and international Turkish communities, in the form of performances arranged for the class, films, slides, and recordings, will form the in-class experience. Through these means and through assigned readings and discussion, students will comprehend the span and depth of the Turkish contribution to human values, and research one aspect of that culture in some detail according to his or her personal interests. By the end of the course students will have an enlightened understanding of the Turkish role in shaping human history and contemporary events.  

U.S. Latino/a Identity 
(CompStds 2367.02)
| WeFri 11:10-12:30 | 

This is a writing intensive course that examines the formation and expression of Latino/a identity in the U.S. We will look at the impact of historical experiences, including patterns of (im)migration, socioeconomic and political incorporation on identity formation of major Latino/a groups: Chicano, Puerto Rican, Cuban and Dominican. We will use social science, as well as visual media, fiction and essays to examine the role of race, class and sexuality in identity construction and cultural expression. We also discuss questions related to the ambiguities and uncertainties related to U.S. Latinos/as: how do different Latino ethnicities at different times make sense of being “ni de aquí, ni de allá” (neither from here nor there)? How has urbanization and changing migrations patterns changed the expression and cultural impact of Latino/a identities? To what degree is there a corporate Latino/a identity? What is the cultural significance of racial and cultural hybridization on these identities, and is there such a thing as an “authentic” Latino/a identity? The course assignments will include an interview/observation exercise looking at Latino/a cultural incorporation in the central Ohio, Columbus area. 

Religious Diversity in America
(CompStds 2367.07)

Exploration of the concept of religious freedom and the position of minority religious groups in American society. GE Writing and Communication: Level 2 and Cultures and Ideas and Diversity: Social Diversity in the US.

Icelandic Sagas 
(Scandinavian 5251)
Merrill Kaplan | TTh 9:35-10:35 | 

This course introduces students to the classical literature of Northern Europe: the Icelandic Sagas. 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 when, how, and why this literature was constructed as 'classical' ? and why, despite this, we don't read sagas in high school. 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 find out why blood feud gets a bad rap and how women can dictate the fortunes of men without ever lifting a sword. Students will learn to analyze and interpret sagas both as literary works and ethnographic sources. Most importantly, students will learn how to read and enjoy 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 Scandinavian 3350: Norse Mythology and Medieval Culture. It may be of particular interest to students of Swedish language, Old English, medieval literature, and the history of law.

There are no prerequisites. GE Literature course. Taught in English.


Studies in Orality & Literacy
(NELC 5568)
| Thu 2:15-5:00 | 

This course introduces the major theoretical trends concerned with literacy and oral communication and their interactions in global perspective, then critiques those theories in the light of case material primarily from the Middle East. All readings are in English. 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 perspectives derived from other parts of the world to bear on classroom discussions of assigned readings. Global theories of literacy and orality owe a great deal to Middle Eastern data, which may in fact limit their applicability elsewhere. The writing system invented in southwestern Asia became the parent of all the surviving alphabetic writing systems of the Middle East, Europe, and South Asia. Furthermore, a rich body of research on oral traditions, testing certain dominant theories of oral formulation and transmission, has also accumulated for the region over the last thirty years or so. This course will sample this rich double data base to juxtapose and critique concepts and research strategies in comparison to one another. The course will equip students with an overview and critique of theories of literacy and of oral communication which is applicable worldwide.

Spring 2018

Undergraduate Courses

Introduction to Folklore 
(ENGLISH 2270)
Madeleine Smith | TTh 12:35-2:05 | Journalism Bldg 375 | 

This class explores forms of traditional, vernacular culture—including verbal art, custom, and material culture—shared by people from a number of regional, ethnic, religious, and occupational groups. We will consider various interpretive, theoretical approaches to examples of folklore and folklife, and we will investigate the history of folklore studies. Recurring central issues will include the dynamics of tradition, the nature of creativity and artistic expression, and the construction of personal and group identities. Folklore theory and methods will be explored through engagement with primary sources: folktale, legend, jokes, festival, belief, and costume, and students will collect examples of folklore through fieldwork.

GE Arts and Humanities: Cultures and Ideas.

The U.S. Folk Experience 
(ENGLISH 2367.05)
Christofer Johnson | MoWeFr 1:50-2:45 | Denney Hall 268 |
Tessa Jacobs | MoWeFr 9:10-10:05 | Caldwell Lab 119 |

Concepts of American folklore & ethnography; folk groups, tradition, & fieldwork methodology; how these contribute to the development of critical reading, writing, & thinking skills. 

Science Fiction/Fantasy: Tolkien's Monsters
(ENGLISH 3372)
Merrill Kaplan | TuTh 9:35-10:55 | Journalism Bldg 375 | 29623

Tolkien`s bestiary of wights, wargs, balrogs, and nazguls is half the fun of his books. Add the "races" of elves, dwarves, hobbits, orcs, and men and there is a lot to talk about. What is a monster and what do monsters mean? What are the relationships between Tolkien`s monsters and the elves, dragons, and trolls of folklore and medieval epic? How have Tolkien`s ideas about race affected subsequent fantasy literature and games? In looking at monsters, we`ll examine the boundaries of the human and explore the violent language of dehumanization. We`ll hew to the books, not the movies, and readings will include the Hobbit, the Lord of the Rings trilogy, Tolkien`s essay "The Monsters and the Critics," modern theoretical works on monstrosity and about race, and comparative texts from folklore and medieval literature.

Religion and American Culture
(Religious Studies 3678)
Isaac Weiner | TuTh 9:35-10:55 | Ramseyer Hall 110 | 33694

This course adopts a thematic approach to studying the complex connections between religion and American culture. In spring 2018, we will focus especially on the intersections of religion with race, law, national identity, and popular culture. We will analyze selected case studies from a variety of theoretical and methodological perspectives. Our conversations will take us from Muslims and Mormons to Scientologists and Spaghetti Monsters, from yoga studios and hell houses to football fields and political protests, from alien abductees and snake handlers to Oprah Winfrey and Kendrick Lamar. Throughout, we will use these examples to assess different ways of making sense of religion’s complicated place in American culture. In addition to lectures, films, and in-class discussions, the class will include optional field trips to a variety of religious and non-religious sites in central Ohio. This course meets the GE requirement for Diversity: Social Diversity in the United States.


Upper-Level Undergraduate Courses

Cultural Diplomacy
(International Studies 4800)
Dorothy Noyes | TuTh 9:35-10:55 |  Denney Hall 238 | #34986

This course takes a humanities approach to exploring cultural diplomacy (CD), broadly understood: the exchange of performances and ideas across state borders with the intention of building political influence. The course works through case studies, including some drawn from students’ own experience of study abroad, international volunteering, etc. By examining primary and secondary sources from a range of positions, students will learn to interpret the complex effects, at multiple levels, of intercultural initiatives. 

Undergraduate/Graduate Courses

Ohio Field School
(English 5189-S/Comparative Studies 5189-S)
Cassie Patterson | Mo 2:15-5:00 | Jennings Hall 050 | 

The Ohio Field Schools Course provides an introduction to ethnographic field methods (participant-observation, writing field notes, photographic documentation, audio-interviewing), archiving, and the public exhibition of research for both undergraduates and graduate students. Students will contribute to a team-based, immersive research project designed to document the ways that diverse communities express and preserve a sense of place in the face of economic, environmental and cultural change. The semester-long, experientially-based course will consist of three parts:

  • Introduction to fieldwork (on OSU campus in Columbus)
  • A one-week field experience in Scioto County during spring break (where students will reside together on-site
  • Accessioning, digital gallery preparation, and reflection (on OSU campus in Columbus)

Thus, throughout the semester, students will practice all of the skills necessary to construct a permanent record of local expressive culture that will be accessible to future researchers and community members. Participation in all parts of the course is required.  



Graduate Courses

Theorizing Folklore I: Tradition and Transmission
(CompStud / English 7350.01)
Dorothy Noyes | Mo 2:15-5:00 | Denney Hall 245 | 

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 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 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.

Intro to Folklore II: Fieldwork and the Ethnography of Communication
(CompStud 6750.02 / English 6751.02)
Gabriella Modan | Tu 1:50-4:50 | Derby Hall 024 | 

This course will be run as a seminar/workshop that explores a range of issues in fieldwork as practiced in folklore and allied fields of ethnographic research. Qualitative methods covered include participant observation, interviewing, transcription, and organizing and using field notes.   Issues raised by these qualitative methods include ethics, collaboration and working relationships in the field, native ethnography, and how best to negotiate Institutional Review Boards for research with human subjects. The first half of the course will focus on methods of conducting fieldwork, while in the second half students will analyze their experiences and the materials collected using the tools of Ethnography of Communication. Beginning with foundational ethnographies of communication and continuing through to contemporary studies, we will consider such issues as the politics of representation, the interplay of language and context in meaning making, speech genres and styles, and language ideologies.    

Studies in the English Language: Discourse and Place
(English 7872.01)
Gabriella Modan | Th 1:50-4:50 | Derby Hall 024 | 

This interdisciplinary course examines how social actors coordinate language with spatial relations in the physical world, use language to construct identities for various kinds of places -- particularly cities -- and relate their own identities as community insiders or outsiders to those constructions. Reading materials are drawn from the fields of sociolinguistics, linguistic and urban anthropology, and cultural geography, with an emphasis on ethnographic work. Students will conduct their own mini-ethnographies of a place of their choice within the Columbus area. Although no knowledge of discourse analysis or linguistics is assumed, readings and discussions include (but are not limited to) close analysis of the linguistic features and strategies that speakers or writers use in their constructions of place.

Professionalization Workshop
(CompStud 8890)
Katherine Borland | Time/Date TBA | Location TBA | 1 hour | #35945 |

This 1 credit workshop will cover three topics during three 2-hour sessions that will be scheduled across the spring term to coincide with visits by our professional colleagues working outside the academy. Students will be asked to write 3 short (2 page) papers synthesizing their learning from the sessions and readings associated with them. (Each session will have no more than two essay-length readings).
  1. Archival Research One (with Steve Green). Learn how to incorporate archival materials into your field-based research project.
  2. Producing Public Programs (with Laura Marcus or Sue Eleuterio). Learn how to design programs for public audiences based on field research.
  3. Archival Research Two (in-house). Learn how to design a project that effectively mines the archival collections of Ohio State University Folklore Archive.

Affiliated courses

Russian Fairy Tales and Folklore

(Russian 2345)
Helena Goscilo | TuTh 2:20-3:40 | 

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

Folklore of Contemporary Greece
(Modern Greek 2680)
Georgios Anagnostou | TuTh 9:35a-10:35 | 

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

Turkish Literature in Translation
(Turkish 2701)
Danielle Schoon | TuTh 9:35-10:55 |

This course surveys works representing the major themes in modern Turkish literature, such as the rural world of Anatolia, the urban underworld, religion and politics, minority identity, and the East/West paradigm. Along the way, there will be opportunities to explore questions about modernity, globalization, freedom of speech, and the role of the author in politics and society.

Religion and American Culture
(Religious Studies 3678)
Isaac Weiner | TuTH 9:35-10:55 |

Thematic approach to the intersections of religion and American culture, with attention to varied topics such as pluralism, nationalism, race, gender, sexuality, law, media, science, economics, and popular culture. 2370 (270) recommended.

Studies in Human Ethnography
(Comparative Studies 4655)

Miranda Martinez | WeFri 2:20-3:40 |

Explores the history, theory, and methods of ethnographic study in different contexts (e.g., religious, ethnic, occupational groups). 

Turkish Theater, Music, and Dance
(Turkish 5377)
Danielle Schoon | TuTh 11:10-12:30 |

This course studies Turkish theatre, music and dance from its origins in Anatolian folk traditions through the classical works of the Ottoman Empire, the modern movements of the twentieth century, and up to the present day. The artists and works selected will be studied both for their artistic merit and for the light they shed on political, social, and cultural developments in Turkey. Readings include historical and ethnographic accounts. Cross-cultural, multidisciplinary exploration of Turkish theatre, music, and dance in Anatolian folk traditions, classical Ottoman works, 20th Century movements, and those of the present day. Students address theoretical questions of Performance Studies with guided research, historical and ethnographic texts, and performance workshops.

Spanish in Ohio: An Experiential Course
(Spanish 5689S)
Elena Foulis | MoWe 2:30-5:15 | 

Interaction with Hispanic communities in Ohio; intensive & extensive practice with Spanish as spoken by native speakers from the U.S. & abroad. Not open to native speakers of Spanish unless their secondary education was completed in the United States. During the 2nd term of the semester, students will be completing fieldwork hours, meeting with the instructor on an individual basis, and preparing a final project for presentation.

Fieldwork in Human Geography
(Geography 7102)
Kendra McSweeney | TM 2:15-5:00 | 

Methods for generating and interpreting field data; contested history and ethical challenges of fieldwork in human geography. 

Ethnographies of Dance and Performance
(Dance 7409)
Danielle Schoon | MoWe 8:30am-10:05am|

Reading and conducting ethnographic research in areas of dance and performance, including feminist and post-colonial approaches to Western, non-Western, and globalized forms. 

Power, Resistance, and Performance: Contemporary Theory and Practice

(Theatre 7899.04)
Ana Puga | Th 2:30-5:15 |

We will explore, produce, and circulate theory about how the world works and how it might be possible to change it for the better. In combination with theoretical reading, we will also read about and practice ethnographic research in the service of performance. While some of the theorists we will read are not from the field of Theatre/Performance Studies, they have all been highly influential in the field. We will read some foundational figures such as Foucault, Deleuze & Guattari, Judith Butler, and Kimberlé Crenshaw as well as contemporary leaders in Theatre/Performance Studies, such as Dwight Conquergood, Peggy Phelan, Diana Taylor, Jose Esteban Muñoz, and Lauren Berlant. As we read, we will ask many questions, including: How do these ideas ask us to imagine the world otherwise? What is the role of such imaginings in resistance to various kinds of authoritarian structures? How might these ideas influence the analysis and creation of performance? How might participant-observer research best inform performance? In resistance to the fragmentary nature of much reading in graduate school, most weeks we will read just one or two theorists at length. The plan is to delve more deeply into the world of each theorist than is usually possible in a survey course. For the final project you will undertake a short ethnographic project that will require that you to combine the theory you have absorbed with participant-observation to analyze the performative elements of a social issue, movement, organization, or protest in the Columbus community. A total of at least ten hours of participant-observation and at least ten pages (double-spaced) of field notes.