Course Archives: 2020-2021

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Fall 2020

Undergraduate Courses | Undergraduate/Graduate Courses | Graduate Courses | Affiliated Courses
 

Undergraduate Courses

INTRO TO FOLKLORE
Comparative Studies 2350(H) | English 2270(H) (two sections)
Staff (& Borland) | TuTh 11:10AM-12:30PM (WF 12:45PM-2:05PM) | Baker 198 (Enarson 214)
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 group identities. Folklore theory and methods will be explored through readings and an independent collecting project, where students will gather folklore from their home town or the college campus.  Students will interview people 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. Make your mark documenting the expressive culture you know most intimately and that you value most and expand the consultable record of human experience.

US FOLK EXPERIENCE
English 2367.05
Staff | WF 12:45PM-2:05PM | Dulles 27

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

FOLKLORE OF CONTEMPORARY GREECE
Modern Greek 2680
Georgios Anagnostou | TuTh 12:45PM-2:05PM | Enarson 206

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

VAMPIRES, MONSTROSITY, AND EVIL: From Slavic Myth to Twilight
Slavic 2230 (two sections)
Daniel Collins (David McVey) | TuTh 11:10AM-12:30PM (WF 11:10AM-12:30PM) | Arps 12 (McPherson 1035)

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.

FOLKLORE II: Genre, Form, Meaning, and Use
English 4577.02
Merrill Kaplan | TuTh 12:45PM-2:05PM | Hopkins 246

LEGEND has classically been defined as a genre of prose narrative, an objectively false story told by people who ignorantly believe it is true. Almost everything about this definition is wrong. This course explores legend, rumor, superstition, and folk belief in places and times from 19th-century Scandinavia to the 21st-century Internet. We’ll get to know the structure and subject matter of legend, the relationship between legend, belief, and personal experience, and the nature of legend as contested truth. We’ll 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.

 

Undergraduate/Graduate Courses

PERFORMANCE TRADITIONS OF CHINA
Chinese 5400
Mark Bender | M 2:15PM-5:00PM | Hagerty 159
Introduction to the panorama of oral and orally-connected performance traditions of China; explores local traditions of professional storytelling, epic singing, folksongs, and local drama.

PERFORMANCE TRADITIONS OF JAPAN
Japanese 5400
Shelley Quinn | WF 2:20PM-3:40PM | Enarson 218

Introduction to performance traditions of Japan; explores selected performing arts in their cultural contexts and examines patterns of emergence in modern times.

 

Graduate Courses

INTRO TO NARRATIVE & NARRATIVE THEORY
English 6761
Amy Shuman | Th 12:40PM-3:40PM | Journalism Bldg 387
An introduction 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 discuss 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.

THE ETHNOGRAPHY OF PERFORMANCE
English 7350
Dorothy Noyes | Tu 9:10AM-12:10PM | Denney 419

The performance turn in folklore, anthropology, and related disciplines has illuminated our understanding of agency and efficacy in everyday life as well as in specialized cultural production. In a major revision of the modern culture concept, the performance approach focuses on cultural forms as process and practice: not texts instantiating a static shared worldview but historically situated, convention-based transactions among persons. Standing against the modern linguistic ideology that privileges reference, the performance approach looks at how representations construct and manipulate reality. Reacting to the focus on deep structure in most grand theory, it insists on the significance of material and interactional surfaces. With its attention to bodies in motion, it also remains relevant as a corrective to the reification of values and identities in contemporary cultural politics. This seminar will examine both programmatic texts and selected case studies in the ethnography of performance: that is, an approach based in "thick description" of instances. While theory in the field has tended to develop within genre specializations, we will examine verbal art, cultural performance (ritual, festival, spectacle) and personal performance together in the attempt to illustrate common issues and a general paradigm. Students will share in preparing for discussion and write a research paper. This course fulfills the core theory requirement of the Graduate Interdisciplinary Specialization in Folklore.

APPALACHIAN ENVIRONMENTAL IMAGINARIES
English 7888.01 (35761)
Mary Hufford | W 10:00am-12:00pm | Online

"Environmental imaginaries" names the contending discourses that order society around processes of development and change. Public controversies over development are often staged as struggles between collectively-wrought worlds, or “imaginaries,” that relate us in particular ways to our surroundings. The phenomenological idea of the “social imaginary” has gained currency among social theorists as a way to understand the relationship between the world as lived and experienced and the world as “objectively” recoverable through scientific methods.  In the 1990s geographers Michael Watts and Richard Peet coined the term “environmental imaginaries” to focus attention on human relationships to the “natural” world as an overlooked dimension of modern social imaginaries.

Designed for students planning to do environmentally-related, community based-fieldwork in Central Appalachian settings, this seminar explores the role of customary practices and genres of communication in the ongoing production of contending social imaginaries anchored in Appalachian forests, soils, and waters.  How do discourses of policy makers, regulators, industry, and experts across the sciences and humanities embed forests, soils, and waters in radically different ontologies?  What are the effects on localities produced by communities over many generations of interaction with flora, fauna, and minerals of the Central Appalachian plateaus? What translational work is needed to bring into dialogue mutually unintelligible worlds anchored in the same materials? Informed by readings, films, discussions and guest speakers, and adapting field methods to online platforms, students will design and carry out documentary interviews, experiment with participatory research methods such as photo voice, and develop a prospectus for post-covid fieldwork informed by an understanding of contending environmental imaginaries at play around contested resources. 

 

Courses by Affiliated Faculty

FIELDWORK IN ETHNOMUSICOLOGY
Music 8885

Ryan Skinner | T/Th 3:55-5:15pm Music & Dance (18th Ave) Library
In this course, we will explore and interrogate a variety of approaches to the “field” in (and of)  ethnomusicology.  Beginning  with  the  concepts  and  practices  of  an  established anthropology of music (including participant observation, thick/thin description, radical empiricism, and dialogic ethnography), we read, look, and listen into other models for the study of humanly organized sound in the world (including the anthropology of the senses, sound  studies, visual  anthropology, historical [ethno]musicology, cultural  studies, performance  studies,  and  media and communication  studies). As such, this course encourages students to think  broadly, critically, and creatively about the field(s) of ethnomusicology and the work we do (and  create) therein. To encourage meaningful cross-disciplinary encounters, students will have the opportunity to interact directly with several visiting scholars (in person, or online) throughout the semester. Students will also be expected to complete two small fieldwork projects, conducted locally, which they will present to the class at the midterm and final sessions of the class.

QUALITATIVE FIELD METHODS
Spanish 8330
Anna Babel | Tu 2:30PM-5:15PM | Hagerty 255

In this course, you will gain hands-on experience in qualitative research design and execution. We will discuss a variety of topics and methods, including identifying a community, integration, participant-observation, ethnography, sampling, interview skills, attitudes and ideologies, interpreting cultural artifacts, ethics, and the "observer's paradox." Most importantly, we will discuss how to construct a convincing theoretical argument based on convergent evidence from a variety of sources. This class will be of interest to any student who wishes to integrate qualitative data into their research, or any student who wants a structured environment in which to practice these skills. Students will design and implement several small-scale projects over the course of the class, so be ready to get your feet wet!

Spring 2020

Undergraduate Courses

 

INTRODUCTION TO FOLKLORE 
English 2270/Comparative Studies 2350 | #17367/18705
Martha Sims | TuThu 12:45PM-2:05PM | Ramseyer Hall 115

Folklore is the culture that people make for themselves. Folklore is cherished by families or danced on the streets by unruly young people. The forms of folklore circulate from person to person and group to group, adapting to every change of situation; they lend themselves to a wide array of social purposes. We will look at a range of cultural practices from both US and international settings, including oral/verbal, customary, and material genres of folklore. Students who take this course will learn how to put their knowledge of expressive culture to real-world use, such as listening for and attending to cultural differences in educational and public sector contexts. We will also learn how to conduct an ethnographic project—from collecting data, interviewing, and transcribing, to analyzing and archiving the material. Potential topics include: dorm life rituals, jokes and pranks, traditions of rural Ohio (farming, forestry, hunting), yard art, or local festivals and foodways. GE Culture and Ideas. Folklore Minor.

TOLKIEN'S MONSTERS
ENGLISH 3372 | #25849
Merrill Kaplan | TuTh 9:35AM-10:55AM | Journalism Building 270

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.

UNDERGRADUATE ARCHIVAL INTERNSHIP
Comparative Studies 4191 | #34488 (1-3 units depending on student schedule)
Cassie Patterson | TBD

This archival internship pairs undergraduate students with community partners in Delaware County and Scioto County to continue community fieldworking and digitizing projects being carried out by the Folklore Archives at the Center for Folklore Studies. Interested students should email the Director of the Folklore Archives, Dr. Cassie Patterson, at patterson.493@osu.edu for more information about individual projects. 


 

Undergraduate/Graduate Courses

COMPARATIVE STUDIES FIELD SCHOOL
English/CompStd 5189 | #
27576/27577/27707/27708
Jasper Waugh-Quasebarth, Katherine Borland | Mo 10:00AM-12:45PM | Hagerty Hall 251

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.

GROUP STUDIES: BE THE STREET
Theatre 5899/6194 | # 34568

Moriah Flagler | Fr 9:00AM-12:00PM | Drake Center 2038

This community-engaged devising course actively examines theories, practices, pedagogies, and politics associated with creating performance by, with, and for communities outside of formal theatre settings. Students in this course will explore big questions in the field of applied drama & theatre and actively put that theory into practice by facilitating a devising process with community participants in the Hilltop area. This course requires around 1.5 hours of facilitation time in the Hilltop per week and culminates in a public sharing of work in April. Students must have access to reliable transportation or discuss this with the instructor.

Throughout the course students will learn devising techniques, plan/workshop sessions, and facilitate a devising process with one of our partnerships in the Hilltop. The communities we engage with are multilingual and our work includes many opportunities for speaking Spanish. Students interested in enrolling should contact the instructor, Moriah Flagler (.4) by email.

Graduate Courses

 

DISABILITY STUDIES SEMINAR: STIGMA, COMPETENCY, AND NORMALCY
English 7891 | #33739
Amy Shuman | Tu 1:50PM-4:50PM | Dulles Hall 016

One might say that stigma marks the difference between disability and illness, between normalcy and its opposites, and between competency and incompetency.  Stigma is a social marking (for the Greeks a literal mark on the body), that assigns negative, discrediting, value to particular personal attributes.  The study of disability shares many foundational concepts with studies race, class, gender, and sexuality; the Disability Rights Movement grew out of the Civil Rights Movement and shares many of the premises developed in feminist research.  Although disability itself is a pervasive dimension of social life, the study of disability is often overlooked in studies of race, class, and gender.  Our focus on stigma, competency, and normalcy will address some of these overlooked dimensions and consider the many intersections, for example the role of disclosure as a choice/strategy/requirement.  Our methodological approach combines research in folklore/ethnography/linguistic anthropology with narrative research and feminist research. Readings include excerpts from Goffman’s Stigma,The Disability Studies Reader, Ato Quayson’s Aesthetic Nervousness, Michael Berubé’s Secret Life of Stories, Diagnosing Folklore, and others. The course requires a final project.


 

Courses by Affiliated Faculty

 

THE MIDDLE EAST CLOSE-UP: PEOPLE, CULTURES, SOCIETIES
NELC/Anthropology 2241 | #28274
Danielle Schoon | TuTh 11:10AM-12:30PM

This course provides an ethnographic overview of the "Culture" and cultures of the contemporary Middle East. It is designed to increase student knowledge and awareness about the Middle East in regard to its cultural, social, political and religious institutions. The history of the region is examined as background to developing a more thorough understanding of the contemporary Middle East as represented by its villages, towns, and cities. This is also a course in the comparative study of culture, addressing essential questions in the study of societies located within a single regional context which are informed by different cultural traditions. We'll get acquainted with the region through readings, films, and other course materials that provide fascinating windows into the Middle East " close-up".

 

SCIENCE FICTION AND/OR FANTASY
English 3372 | #25815
Jordan Lovejoy | TuTh 12:45PM-2:05PM | Caldwell Lab 177

Introduction to the tradition and practice of speculative writing. Provides students the opportunity to examine and compare works of science fiction and/or fantasy.
Prereq: 1110.01 (110.01) or equiv. Not open to students with credit for 372. GE lit course.

 

ECO-LITERATURE IN CHINA
Chinese 4407 | #33533
Mark Bender | WeFr 2:20-3:40PM | University Hall 028

This course will look at “Eco-literature” or “literature of the environment” in China, contextualized within global and Intra-Asia perspectives.The study of eco-literature is a relatively new field, but has deep roots in the history of literature and folklore. We will explore songs, epics, stories, poems, novels, indie videos from various local cultures in China and border areas.

 

THE NEOLIBERAL CITY (Undergrad/Grad)
GEOGRAPHY 5502 | #32541/32542
Nancy Ettlinger | TuTh 12:45-2:05PM | Denney Hall 238

This course examines the neoliberal governance of cities and associated problems and prospects for change from the vantage point of social in/justice. The course begins with an introduction to different critical approaches to neoliberalism, and then focuses on case studies regarding selected topics drawing from the different approaches. Readings cover cities around the world; class discussion includes a comparative, context-sensitive assessment of neoliberal urban governance. The course includes a research paper that students can use towards their research programs (senior or MA thesis, dissertation, publication). Contact Nancy Ettlinger, ettlinger.1@osu.edu, Derby 1144 for more details, previous syllabus, questions.

 

BODIES ON THE LINE
Dance 7408 | #32445
Harmony Bench | Mo 2:15PM-5:00PM | Sullivant Hall 225

This interdisciplinary graduate seminar begins with the proposition that all politics are a politics of the body. We will therefore set out to examine how (human) bodies are framed and deployed for political functions, how they circulate or are constrained, and how people choose to put their bodies on the line as testimony of their political investments. We will draw from multiple fields of inquiry, including performance studies, critical cultural theory, political philosophy, as well as theater and dance performance. We will further consider how political and performing bodies negotiate identities, display themselves or are displayed for others, protest social inequality, and experience pain--even death. We will bring a choreographic lens to bear on each of these topics, along with a set of of analytical tools attuned to the perils of having one's body on the line. 

 

ACTIVISM IN MULTIETHNIC LONDON - REFUGEES IN CRISIS (May 2020)
English 4554.02 | #33808
Amy Shuman & Wendy Hesford

With the city of London as its focus, this education abroad course (ENGLISH 4554: English Studies and Global Human Rights) will explore global migration in the context of the current crisis around refugees. Framed around five key terms – migration, suspicion, crisis, exhaustion and fusion — we will study cultural representations (art, literature, film, theatre, exhibitions and photography) with an emphasis on London’s rich history of immigration and present emphases on national security. We will study national and international policies and debates and meet with London organizations that work with refugees.


Spring 2021

 

Undergraduate Courses

 

Turkish class image

TURK2241: Beyond Harems and Belly Dancers: Turkish Culture
GE Cultures and Ideas, GE Global Studies
#34827 Online, Asynchronous
Dr. Schoon

This course provides a survey of Turkish culture through brief forays into history, geography, language, literature, visual and performing arts, food, sports, fashion, media, religion, politics and society, and more. These forays will provide opportunities for deeper explorations into issues of contemporary relevance and central importance to Turkey and its global connections. You will engage in online interactions with Turkish students in Istanbul and develop global competence through an individualized intercultural development plan and a collaborative project. This is a highly interactive class that will provide hands on intercultural experiences and global learning. This course is Second Session.

English 2270/Comparative Studies 2350: Introduction to Folklore
Sarah Craycraft
Course#: 19242 (English) | 17951( CompStudies)
Tuesday and Thursday 12:45PM - 2:05PM (In person)

English 2270(H)/Comparative Studies 2350(H): Introduction to Folklore (Honors)
Dr. Merrill Kaplan
Course#: 33880 (English) | 34315 (CompStudies)
Tuesday and Thursday 9:35AM - 10:55AM (Online)

Folklore is the culture that people make for themselves. Not all of us are specialists, but all of us tell stories and cultivate communities. This class explores everyday expressive forms including stories, customs, objects and digital forms shared in informal contexts. We will consider various interpretive approaches to these 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 group identities. Folklore theory and methods will be explored through readings and an independent collecting project in which students will gather folklore from the wild, document it and interpret it for meaning. GE: Cultures and Ideas.

International Studies 4195: Selected Problems in International Studies: Belonging in Europe 
Dr. Dorothy Noyes
Wednesday and Friday 9:35-10:55 (Hybrid delivery (pending events): in-person on Wednesday, Zoom on Friday)

This course introduces you to the everyday habits and everyday contradictions of life in Europe. We will be thinking about the big political and existential issues--identity, coexistence, attachment to place, coping with change--not through the operations of institutions but as lived on the ground and considered in culture. You'll learn some basic approaches to interpretive and ethnographic methods in the humanities as we compare forms and strategies across a wide range of cases - street life in Estonia, wine festivals in Spain, parades in Northern Ireland and Caribbean London, tourism in Venice, weddings in Macedonia, football fandom in Italy, name changes in Turkey, and the Eurovision Song Contest. National stereotypes and conflicts run deep in the stories that Europeans tell about themselves, but domestic difference is just as important, and we'll look at the historical construction of gender, class, race/ethnicity, and religion across the region, as well as the complex interactions with the Arctic, the Americas, the Mediterranean, and Asia that have fostered both a certain idea of Europe and its present dilemmas and opportunities. Our central concern is the sense of belonging as a compound of ideas, experiences, and social interactions.

This is the trial run of a new course, so your input will be valuable in shaping what goes forward. All levels of experience are wanted and welcome. Course requirements include participation in discussion, regular short writings, a group presentation on a current issue, and a final essay allowing you to connect the course materials to some personal interest.

 

A young Black man stands in a crowd on a lawn holding a sign that says "I AM Human"

English 4577.01Folklore and Human Rights: Cultural and Climate Sustainability, Disability, Refugees
Dr. Amy Shuman
Wednesday and Friday 12:45-2:05 (Online)

By working with local cultural groups with their particular environmental challenges, folklorists have engaged in questions about questions about how people both experience exclusion and how they have created resources for survival.  Most of this folklore research is  what is called participatory research, based on collaborations with community members.  For this class, we will be reading documents (including films, websites, stories) produced by those communities.  Students’ responsibilities include reading/viewing these documents, participating in class discussions, and collaborating on a project.

Students will identify examples of local community cultural practices related to human rights and post these to Carmen 3 times during the semester.  Students will post comments on the readings every week and these will count as both the midterm and final exam.  Students will work in groups to produce a collaborative project related to one of the central themes.

 

English 4599: Introduction to Narrative Theory
Dr. Amy Shuman
Wednesday and Friday 11:10 - 12:30PM (Online)

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 and how they tell them.  We’ll examine narrative form, genre, performance, repertoire and interaction.  For the final project, students will work with narratives of their choice, whether from print, web-sources, interviews, or daily life, and will describe those narratives in terms of one or more of the narrative dimensions discussed in class.


Undergraduate/Graduate Courses

 

English/Comparative Studies 5189-S: Ohio Field School
Dr. Katherine Borland and Dr. Jasper Waugh-Quasebarth
Tuesdays 10:00AM - 12:45PM (Hybrid)

The Ohio Field School 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. Research projects will be centered around the requests of partnering organizations. The semester-long, experientially-based course will consist of the following:

  • Introduction to fieldwork: A zoom-accessible class on Tuesdays from 10-12 (slightly shorter time than listed in the schedule).  The class will involve both discussion of existing literature and reflection on our own practice.
  • Lab (approximately 3 hours per week) in the Folklore Archives with appropriate social distancing in place. During these hours student teams will be involved in preparatory research, remote fieldwork, accessioning, and the preparation of a public-facing project, designed in consultation with community partners.
  • As becomes possible, we hope to offer voluntary opportunities to visit Southern Perry County and environs (hiking, participation in outdoor community events, self-guided road tours) and outdoor gatherings of our entire research group, but these plans are contingent upon public health recommendations and pandemic conditions in spring 2021.

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.

To enroll students must first attend an information session and apply for the course. Information sessions will be on Oct. 28 at 10 AM and Nov. 10 at 4 PM via zoom. To register for the info sessions and receive a zoom link, please follow this link:   https://osu.az1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_411pry2QNDAuOep

Participation in all parts of the course is required to receive a passing grade.

 

Comparative Studies 5691-001: Topics in Comparative Studies
Common Sense: Knowledge, Experience, and Social Life
Dr. Dorothy Noyes
Wednesday and Friday 12:45-2:05PM (Hybrid delivery (pending events): Wednesday in person, Friday on Zoom)
Course#30047

What does it mean when you're told to "use your common sense"? This new course examines the rhetoric of common sense in relation to debates over the authority of knowledge, the value of practical experience, and what should be shared or shareable in social life. Our interdisciplinary exploration will start with folklore: how children (and artists) play at the border of sense and nonsense, how proverbs and other kinds of pedagogic discourse produce everyday "good sense," and how leftover formulations continue to circulate as clichés or "commonplaces," often with disruptive social consequences. Then we'll look at debates on the relation of the senses to knowledge and the communicability of experience across sociocultural divides, thinking about consensus and dissensus as socially accomplished. We'll read about the history of common sense as a democratic, sometimes populist, political ideal that interacts with the rise of secular modernity, scientific expertise, and technocratic politics. This will bring us to the present: division and mistrust in the age of social media and "fake news," questions about the possibility of shared understandings when interests diverge and structures discriminate, and new imaginings of commonality (or separation) in social justice projects.

This course is the first run of a new course to be created at Gen-Ed level. I'm hoping for a good mix of students from different departments and at different levels of their undergraduate and graduate programs: your insights and interests will help to shape the new syllabus. We'll do group research projects on the "common sense" of different social issues, and individual final papers on current stances toward the common. No exams, but active participation is expected in discussion and short writings.


Graduate Courses

ENG 8858 Vernacular Ecologies of the Central Appalachian Forests: A Research Practicum
Thursday 10:10AM - 12:10PM (Online, Synchronous)
Dr. Mary Hufford (Visiting Professor of Folklore)

A vernacular forest emerges through processes of ordinary living; through forms of expression and customary practice that render human and more-than-human members of forest communities mutually constitutive.  Focussed on communities of Central Appalachia’s mixed mesophytic forest, this seminar is designed for graduate students in folklore, anthropology, environmental studies, geography and allied fields.  Scholarly literature over the past three decades indicates a global trend toward legitimizing traditional ecological knowledge and the validity of socio-ecological systems as objects of research and stewardship.  While Central Appalachia is strikingly invisible in this literature, a small but growing body of archeological, environmental, and ethnographic literature suggests that vernacular ecological knowledge within the region is historically deep, persistent, and vital to the cultivation of food security and livelihoods in a time of climate crisis.  To gain access to the rich social lives of Central Appalachian forest species and their habitats, you will design a place-based ethnography that engages vernacular ecological knowledge in a Central Appalachian forest community of your choosing.  Using a performance theory framework, we will identify forms of social communication – conversational genres, festive events, customary practices etc. -- that serve as matrices for a vernacular forest community of human and more-than-human members. We will ask: how might we engage such forms – portals onto forest community life -- as both means and objects of shared inquiry?  Methods will include a literature survey, archival research, and at least one interview (online or telephone).  Your final project will be a well-wrought proposal which you will submit to an appropriate funding source.  

English 7872: Discourse Analysis: Social Contexts (listed as "Seminar in English Language Studies")
Dr. Gabriella Modan

Thursdays 1:50-4:50 (Online, synchronous)

For students interested in examining discourse as part of a linguistics, literature, folklore, or other humanities or social science research project, this course will give you the tools to investigate how language structure (not just content) shapes perceptions, values, social interaction, and power struggles. The course provides an overview of the major approaches to analyzing spoken and written discourse used in sociolinguistics and linguistic anthropology, including interactional sociolinguistics, conversation analysis, ethnography of communication, pragmatics, and critical discourse analysis. We will explore how the contexts of various spheres of social interaction both shape and are shaped by discourse that occurs in or in relation to them.  The approach that we will take to analyzing texts is a micro-level one, focusing on the details of linguistic structure and how those details connect to more macro spheres of social engagement.  Students will collect examples of spoken and written texts, and analyze them in short paper assignments. No prerequisites required. REQUIREMENTS: transcription assignment, discussion leading, 3 short papers, one conference-length final paper.


Affiliated Courses

Medieval and Renaissance 2666: Magic and Witchcraft in the Middle Ages and Renaissance
Dr. Kristen M. Figg
Course# 29210
Wednesday 12:40PM - 1:35Pm (Online)

In this interdisciplinary course, students will explore the history and culture of witchcraft and magic in Europe from about 400 C.E. to 1700 C.E., including examination of its religious, intellectual, and sociological contexts. As students gain basic knowledge of the history of witchcraft and magic during these periods (both actual practice and contemporary beliefs about that practice), they will develop some ability to understand why these practices and beliefs developed as they did and what societal and cultural needs drove them.

Readings for the course will be mainly primary materials—that is, treatises, trial transcripts, statutes, and literature from the medieval and early modern periods, as well as some biblical and classical background texts. The main textbook will be The Witchcraft Sourcebook, ed. Brian Levack (2nd edition, 2015); you will also need copies of Medea and Doctor Faustus, for which online links will be provided. Additional short readings and lecture outlines will be posted on Canvas. We will be watching several movies, as well as discussing film clips and magic/witchcraft-themed music.

The course will be delivered entirely online, with two prerecorded lectures per week plus one synchronous class (55 minutes). Assignments will include weekly participation in an online discussion group, three fact-based quizzes, and a final exam.

Prereq: Not open to students with credit for Medieval 240. GE culture and ideas and diversity global studies course.

Spanish 5389: Latino Languages and Communities
Dr. Anna Babel
Tuesday and Thursday 2:20PM - 3:40PM (Online, synchronous)

This course focuses on the languages of Latino communities in the United States.  We will discuss the diversity of Latino experiences in the US and the central role of language in the development of a “Latino” identity, as well as its role in local understandings of ethnicity, gender, and social class, among other categories.  Course material is drawn primarily from ethnographies of language, which provide a richly contextualized approach to the relationship between language(s) and culture(s).  In order to understand this scholarship within the context of linguistic and anthropological approaches to language, we focus on the theoretical concepts of language ideologies, identity, and critical approaches to race and ethnicity.  While the central portion of this course concerns areas with traditionally large Latino populations (New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Texas), we will also consider evidence from other types of Latino communities, including the New Latino Diaspora and speakers of indigenous Latin American languages in US.  The course structure pairs particular readings with discussions of key theoretical concepts.  Students will learn to discuss, compare, and synthesize material from the case studies that we examine.

Music 8950: Musicology Seminar: Experiencing Music and Sound in Prose - A Writer's Workshop
Dr. Ryan Skinner
Friday 11:00AM - 1:00PM (In person)

In this seminar, we will explore how we write musical/audible experience. Taking our cues from authors in and (especially) out of the academy, we will consider the particular challenge of rendering musical and sonic phenomena in prose. In particular, we will examine the work of writers who may serve as models, in various ways, for transposing sound and music into the written word. In this way, we will read novelists whose work captures what it’s like to make and be moved by music; poets who explore the aural qualities of language; journalists who help us hear the liveness of a musical event; and scholars who have pushed the boundaries of prose to get us closer to the animate resonance of their musical/audible subjects. We will also consider other socially mediated forms of musical representation, by listening in to the work of innovative podcasts and online videos.

This class will also serve as a space for students to workshop their own music/sound writing. After the midterm, we will devote an entire class period to two pieces of student writing, in which the two students will present their work, talk about the process of writing up the material (breakthroughs, challenges, sticking points, etc.) and receive robust constructive criticism from their peers. This might be a chapter draft for a thesis, an essay being prepared to submit to a peer-reviewed journal, or work, whether scholarly or creative, with a non-academic endpoint.

Students will develop their writing examples during the first half of the semester, workshop the piece in class, and then turn in a draft of the writing that incorporates peer feedback at the end of the semester.