Introduction to Folklore
This course introduces students to the study of Folklore, its occurrence in daily life, and the scholarly analysis of its use in culture. As a discipline, Folklore explores expressive cultural forms in both traditional and modern societies, in small-scale groups where people interact face-to-face, as well as in large-scale, often industrial societies in which traditional themes, symbols, and forms occupy new positions in everyday life. We will study contemporary applications of folklore as they relate to the formation and maintenance of individual and group identity, belief, tradition, performance, stereotypes, and public display. These issues will emerge in our study of several folklore genres, including folk speech, jokes, belief, folktales, contemporary legends, Internet memes, material culture, and musical traditions. Through fieldwork and research assignments, students will gain the skills necessary to conduct an ethnography study and develop an understanding of the relationship between folk groups, folklore genres, and the issues they express.