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For more information about the Center for Folklore & Ethnography,at UPenn, contact Professor Mary Hufford at mhufford@sas.upenn.edu.

To be added to the CFE mailing list, contact Joyce Roselle, at jroselle@sas.upenn.edu

For assistance with the Folklore and Folklife website, contact Linda Lee at lindalee@sas.upenn.edu.

Research Archives Events News

Exploring Memory and Tradition in Philadelphia Communities: Service Learning at the Center for Folklore and Ethnography

The CFE's service learning course, Folklore 321, draws on the research developed through the Center's ongoing fieldwork in Philadelphia and the greater Delaware Valley region. Through place-based, community-based service learning, students and faculty at the Center for Folklore and Ethnography explore the ways in which neighboring communities engage traditional verbal arts and material practices to make Philadelphia home. We begin with theories of culture, community, identity, and the production of locality from the social sciences, and move from there into historic, literary, and ethnographic portrayals of relevance to the community we will be working with. Students are introduced to the principles of ethnographic fieldwork, including techniques of participant observation, interviewing, community-based research design, interpretation, and presentation, and the ethical dimensions of fieldwork. Applying these methods, students develop a project that serves the needs of a collaborating Philadelphia community. Students gain critical thinking and observational skills from the readings, discussion, writing assignments, and field trips. This one and a half credit ABCS* course fulfills the General Distribution requirement in Society.

The fieldwork component for the Spring of 2007 focused on the verbal arts and material cultural traditions of South Philadelphia Indonesian community. With the help of 14 Research Assistants from South Philadelphia High School who were born in Indonesia, Penn students documented and studied Indonesian traditions as they are shaped by life in Philadelphia, including foodways, massage, music, festive and ritual customs, and Wayang puppetry. Rehearsals for the world premier of “Dangdut in America were hosted by the Center for Folklore and Ethnography at Fiji House, on the Penn Campus. A teacher’s guide to Indonesian resources for cultural and linguistic maintenance will be presented to a representative of the Folk Arts and Cultural Treasures Charter School (FACTS) at the celebration of Indonesian Independence Day on August 17.

Click for a slideshow about the Spring 2007 Folk 321 course.

Folklore 321 Service Learning Course Appears in Penn Current

Past Service Learning Courses

In 2005 and 2006, the CFE partnered with the Agape African Senior Citizens Center in West Philadelphia. Students volunteered at the Agape Center to teach elderly refugees from Liberia to read and write, while studying the way in which foodways and storytelling are vital resources for this community as it faces the challenges of resettlement. The CFE is continuing its research with the Agape Center through work-study and a new community storytelling series.

Downloadable poster pdf Downloadable book pdf

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