Program in Folklore and Folklife

Fall 2001 Course Guide

Updated 6 September 2001
Course information is subject to change--
for confirmation, please consult the university Registrar's course listings, or the contact persons below.

For more detailed information regarding any of the courses that follow, or if you have specific questions about any of the Fall 2001 courses, please contact the instructor/contact person whose name, phone number, and/or e-mail address is listed with each course. For other inquiries, contact Pat Johnson, at

Instructors: to edit your course listing on this page, please contact Brian Gregory at

FOLK 009.301 Writing About Folklore and Folklife
Writing about Identity in Contemporary Culture

Cory Thorne, Instructor in Folklore and Folklife

Seminar: Tuesday & Thursday 9:00-10:30

contact: Cory Thorne,

fulfils the college writing requirement

This course will focus on the role of identity in everyday life. Using qmaterial from a variety of disciplines, identity will be defined and analyzed in relation to personal, local, and national politics. A history of identity studies will be presented, and then followed with multiple examples of identity in contemporary culture. These examples will cover a variety of areas, ranging from gender, age, and sexuality, to ethnicity, class, and nationality.

Many of the texts presented in this class will be biographically and culturally based. They will include individual assessments of identity as framed through cultural conditions. They will examine the concepts of multiple identities and the theory of multiculturalism and globalization as potential threats to identity formation. Furthermore, this analysis Students will be required to respond to readings through in-class and online group discussions. They will also participate through written responses that incorporate material from popular culture and mass media debates. In addition to analytical reactive writing, students will submit a final paper that, using models presented in class, explores either their own identity or that of another.

FOLK 009.302 Writing About Folklore and Folklife
Writing About Travel and Cultural Contact
Meltem Turkoz, Instructor in Folklore and Folklife

Seminar: Monday & Wednesday 3:00-4:30

contact: Meltem Turkoz,

fulfils the College writing requirement

How have travelers chosen their destinations, and how are the descriptions of their destinations shaped by external developments such as politics, and internal ones such as the search for meaning? And why is it that some people travel and others migrate? We will explore these questions and more in this writing intensive course through readings of 19th century travel accounts about harems, deserts and palaces, and 20th century accounts about airports and tourism destinations. Through critical readings of travel accounts and guides, ethnographies (anthropologists and folklorists' descriptions of culture), advertisements, and the documenting of personal experience, we will explore the larger social and political contexts in which people, ideas, objects and stories circulate. Frequent writing assignments will allow students to engage in self-reflection about their own experiences with travel and cultural contact, to explore different writing styles, and to be involved in critical reading of texts. Besides developing critical reading skills and creating arguments for a variety of audiences, students will be introduced to the skills of interviewing and observation required for an ethnographic project.

FOLK 022 401 World Music and Cultures

Ruth Rosenberg

Lecture: Monday, Wednesday, Friday: 11:00-12:00

Cross-listed with: MUSC 022

Music Building Annex 210

General Requirements III: Arts & Letters

Contact: Music Department: 215.898.7544

This course draws on repertories of various societies from Asia, Africa, Europe, and the Americas to examine relations between aesthetic productions and social processes. We investigate musical sounds, cultural logics informing those sounds, and social strategies of performance. Topics may include indigenous music theories, music and social organization, symbolic expressions and musical meaning, gender, religion, and social change.

FOLK 022 404 World Music and Cultures

Carol Ann Muller

Lecture: Tuesday, Thursday: 12:00-1:30

Music Building 302

Requirements, Descriptions and Cross-listings are same as above.

Contact: Dr. Carol A. Muller: 215.898.4985;

FOLK 022 403 World Music and Cultures

Gabriel Solis

Lecture: Monday, Wednesday, Friday: 1:00-2:00

Music Building 302

FOLK 022 601 World Music and Cultures


Lecture: Thursday: 4:30-7:10

Music Building Annex 210

Quota: Reserved seating for CGS

Contact: Music Department: 215.898.7544

FOLK 075 401 Jazz: Style and History

G. Ramsey

Lecture: Monday, Wednesday, Friday: 11:00-12:00

Cross Listed: AFAM 077, MUSC 075

Exploration of the family of musical idioms called jazz. Attention will be given to issues of style, to selected musicians, and to the social, cultural, and scholarly issues raised by its study.

FOLK 101 001 Introduction to Folklore

Steve Winick

Lecture: Monday, Wednesday 11:00-12:00

Registration required for both lecture and recitation

General Requirement II: History and Tradition

Contact: Steve Winick,


FOLK 101 201


Friday 11:00-12:00

FOLK 101 202


Friday 11:00-12:00

FOLK 101 203


Friday 10:00-11:00

FOLK 101 204


Thursday 2:00-3:00

Far from being hidden or dying, folklore thrives in public and private spheres, both in everyday life and in extraordinary situations. This course will explore spaces, times, and groups in which folklore materials can be observed. Placing special emphasis on the emergent aspect of folklore, we will examine its dynamic among different age, gender, ethnic and class groups. Individual and communal creativity, as well as continuity and change will emerge as important concepts as we look at the ways in which people communicate with each other not only through narratives, proverbs, sermons, and jokes but also through displays of the body, of house and street, the exchange of food, and the performance of music and dance during festivals and processions. The incorporation of folklore in tourist attractions, school education programs, government projects, advertisement and museums calls for a re-examination of the values and meaning of folklore in contemporary society, especially in a world that is celebrating globalization and is concerned with multiculturalism and identity politics. Lectures will be complimented with audio and visual materials. For a term project, students will learn first hand about the folklorists craft by documenting and analyzing folklore materials in their own local cultures.

FOLK 120 401 Money in Culture and Society

Jay Dautcher

Seminar: Monday 2:00-5:00

Cross-listed with: ANTH 120

Contact: Dr. Jay Dautcher,

Freshman Seminar

Across history and across cultures, money has profoundly shaped the social world. In its myriad forms and functions, money finds expression as object and idea, as complex technological system and potent psychological symbol. In this course we will consider the meanings that social scientists, cultural critics and popular movements have invested in the objects and practices that surround the use of money in human culture. Topics to be covered include: ideas about the origins and functions of money; the role of money in ancient and contemporary global trading regimes and political formations; diverse and multiple regimes of exchange and money use in different cultures; the impact of money on notions of value, time, social life, and moral order; ritual, magical and symbolic uses of money; and alternate money forms such as community-based currencies and digital/cyber cash. While focusing on objects and relationships associated with economic life, the course will serve as an introduction to basic concepts anthropologists use to think about society, culture and politics. Readings, classroom discussion, and guided research projects will provide a basis for a series of short writing assignments.

FOLK 154 401
The Image of Childhood in Literature: The Construction and Reconstruction of Early Memories in Israeli and Jewish Writings

Nili Gold

Lecture: Tuesday, Thursday: 10:30-12:00

Van Pelt Library 402

Cross-listed with: AMES 154, COML 282, JWST 154

Contact: Asian and Middle Eastern Studies: 215.898.7466

The course examines literary representations of childhood memories and their validity. Special attention will be given to issues such as the perception of the "other" in childhood; gender; early sexual encounters; Oedipal conflicts and the attachment to the land. Tensions between reality and fiction and the point of view of the adult and the child will be discussed. Textual analysis will greatly rely on psychoanalytic and gender theories.

FOLK 203, Afro-American Studies 213, African Studies 213
Creating and Contesting Communities: Exploring African American Folklore

Solimar Otero

Tuesday, Thursday 9:00-10:30

Cross-listed with AFAM 203; AFST 213

General Requirement II: History & Tradition

Contact: Solimar Otero,

This course is an overview of the diverse ways African Americans engage in expressive culture to create and contest the notion of community. We begin by looking at the theoretical and historical context of the African Diaspora. Specifically, we ask what the meeting of disparate African-derived cultures in the United States signifies for African Americans. This means taking a close look at how Africa has been imagined and theorized by scholars, artists, and African American communities in the Diaspora. We explore the intersections and interplay between three broad sectors of African American expressive culture: the narrative, the visual, and the performative. We also discuss African American expressive culture that is verbal, live, and community-based: spoken word, poetry, hip-hop, jazz, and sports. The focus of the course is to expose students, via African American creative contexts, to the relationship between the performance of cultural boundaries, and the study and practice of folklore.

FOLK 213 601 Introduction to Folklore & Literature

David Samper

Lecture: Thurs., 5:30-8:10

Contact: David Samper

This course regards the fields of literature and folklore as one world: a single domain comprising innumerable diverse systems. Whether people are writing or not, they compose and perform tales and epics, poetry and plays. One set of questions asked in the course focuses on the artists and the genres, performances, and publications they produce in several societies, both literate and nonliterate. Another set of questions examines the ways that well-known literary artists use folklore and thus take part in vernacular tradition. In crosscultural perspective, the course analyzes whether the concepts of Western literary criticism can be applied to the verbal art of nonWestern peoples. Along with literary texts, readings include critical folkloristic and anthropological commentary. The course combs these for information about the nature of the poetic, the role of the artist, and the social constraints on literary production and performance.

FOLK 223 / RELS 213 Folk Religion

Dr. Alexandra F. Griswold

Tuesday,Thursday 3:00-4:30 pm

(Fulfills Distribution Requirement II: History and Tradition)

No prerequisites

Contact: Dr. Alexandra Griswold,

Neo-Pagans, ghosts, Voodou, healing rituals, Satanic worship, magic, saints, UFO cults, miracles, Scientology, "alternative religions," and apparitions of the Virgin Mary: elements of folk religion are in the headlines every day. But what's behind them? Is it all hype? Is the world going mad? (No.) This course explores the realities of folk beliefs and practices in a wide variety of groups. Through texts and interviews students will engage in understanding the history and prevalence of recurring ideas, as well as the frequent development of idiosyncratic belief systems.

FOLK 241 601 Great Story Collections

David Azzolina

Monday 5:30-7:10

Cross-listed with COML 193, ENGL 099

Contact: Dr. David Azzolina,

This course is intended for those with no prior background in folklore or the literatures of the various cultures in the reading list. The texts range in age from the first century to the twentieth, and geographically from the Middle East to Europe and the United States. Each collection displays various techniques for collecting folk materials and making them concrete. Each in its own way also raises different issues of genre, legitimacy, canon formation, cultural values and context.

FOLK 280 401 Jewish Folklore

Dan Ben-Amos

Lecture: Tuesday, Thursday 9:00-10:30

Cross-listed with: AMES 243, COML 283, JWST 260, RELS 221

General Requirement II: History and Tradition

Contact: Dr. Dan Ben-Amos: 215.898.5857;

The Jews are among the few nations and ethnic groups whose oral tradition occurs in literary and religious texts dating back more than two thousand years. This tradition changed and diversified over the years in terms of the migrations of Jews into different countries and the historical, social, and cultural changes that these countries underwent. The course attempts to capture the historical and ethnic diversity of Jewish folklore in a variety of oral literary forms. A basic book of Hasidic legends from the 18th century will serve as a key text to explore problems in Jewish folklore relating to both earlier and later periods.


Dr. Robert St. George

Tuesday,Thursday 1:30-3:00 pm

Cross-listed with HIST 323-401

Contact: Dr. Robert St. George,

This course will explore the history of America's use and fascination with material goods between 1600 and 1860. We will examine such issues as the transferal of European traditions of material culture to the New World, the creation of American creolized forms, the impact of reformers in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, and the development of regional landscapes. Thematic issues will include consumerism, objects as symbolic communication and metaphor, and the complementary uses of archaeology and history of art in material culture study.

FOLK 369 401 Folk & Alternative Medicines

Elizabeth MacKenzie

Lecture: Monday, Wednesday: 3:00-4:30

Cross-listed with: HSSC 369

Distribution I: Society

Contact: Dr. Elizabeth MacKenzie,

This course investigates the folk and popular health belief systems now known in the United States as complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM), using an ethnographic approach to come to an understanding of a variety of healing systems. We will explore the many ways in which people explain how and why they get sick, how they decide what to do about it, and how all of this relates to larger frameworks of beliefs and values. We will compare these systems with each other, and with the conventional biomedical system, to better understand the range of constructions of health, illness, and care they represent. Guest lectures by practitioners and participants in non-conventional healing systems will provide us with insider views of some of the systems we study.

FOLK 405 401 Field Methods/Ethnomusicology

Carol Muller

Seminar: Tuesday 2:00-5:00

Cross-listed with MUSC 405

Contact: Dr. Carol Muller,

Field methods in ethnomusicology, including defining a research problem, locating a field site, writing proposals, developing rapport, interviewing, observation, audio and visual recording, documentation, incorporating archival and historical materials, and problems in event description and musical transcription.

FOLK 420 601 Culture, Communication and Body Language

Maggie Kruesi

Lecture: Tuesday 5:30-8:10

Undergraduates Need Permission

Contact: Dr. Margaret Kruesi: 215.898.0876;

Our perception and interpreation of body language is often subliminal, but is crucial in all communication. This course will develop skills in observation and analysis of nonverbal behavior, with a particular emphasis on cross cultural communication. In contemporary society, the analysis of nonverbal communication has applications in education, psychology, business, advertising, medicine, police work, the justice system, the military, religion, sports, and politics. As video and digital cameras are increasingly being placed in public (and private!) locations, the ethical questions of why, how, and by whom body movements and images are analyzed become a topic of primary importance for society. Clothing, scents, gestures, eye contact, silence, music, dance, the built environment all are used to construct relationships and develop markets for the new century. Readings from a number of disciplinary perspectives will give us the opportunity to investigate these and other issues related to the body and to noverbal communication in multicultural societies.

FOLK 500 301 Proseminar in Folklore

Roger Abrahams

Jay Dautcher

Seminar: Tuesday 10:00-12:00

David Azzolina (library section)

Library Section: Thursday 9:30-11:00

Van Pelt Library 221 (Woody Room)

Contact: Dr. Roger Abrahams, 215.898.7352;

Dr. David S. Azzolina, 215.898.5322;

The shifting definition of folklore as a subject has allowed for the dynamic development of a field that has never been content with narrow disciplinary territory. The course endeavors to provide an entry into the breadth of folkloric expression told, performed, enacted, believed, or made. We will also study the sociopolitical and intellectual ground on which the study of folklore has been positioned over roughly the last two hundred years. Readings and class discussions will clarify how scholars today conceptualize "expressive culture," exemplify earlier ways of organizing and analyzing the material, and explore the linkage between available technological recording tools and the shape of folklore documentation and analysis. (Required course for graduate students in folklore; open to others with instructors permission).

FOLK 510 401 Ethnography of Belief

David J. Hufford

Seminar: Wednesday: 12:00-2:00

Cross-listed with: RELS-507

Contact: Dr. David J. Hufford,

This course will examine traditional systems of supernatural belief with an emphasis on the role of personal experience in their development and maintenance. The course will focus on subject of belief generally conceived of as being "folk" in some sense (e.g., beliefs in ghosts), but will not exclude a consideration of popular and academic beliefs where appropriate (e.g., popular beliefs about UFOs and theological doctrines of the immortality of the soul). The course will be multidisciplinary in scope. This course serves as an introduction to folk belief systems and is open to qualified undergraduate students.

FOLK 517 640 / RELS 517 Religion in America I

Dr. Alexandra Griswold

Seminar Wednesday 5:30-8:10

Contact: Dr. Alexandra Griswold,

Undergraduates May Take with Permission

Witchcraft trials in colonial Salem; the Shakers and other Utopian communes; Emerson, Thoreau, and Transcendentalism; backwoods revival meetings; Bible riots in downtown Philadelphia; Quakers and the Anti-Slavery movement; and the rise and fall of more religions and denominations than we can count: American history is littered with fragmented evidence of deeper religious influences. For much of the history of this nation religious ideas have permeated politics, economics, everyday life, and institutions. This course, offered for the first time in more than a decade, traces the history of religion in America from pre-European native religions through the Civil War.(If this course goes well we may later offer a course covering from the Civil War to the present.)In this course we will explore organized religions, folk beliefs and practices, and larger philosophical and intellectual trends.

FOLK 521 Psychology and Culture

Dr. Melvyn Hammarberg

W 2:00-5:00 pm

Cross-listed with ANTH 521

Contact: Dr. Melvyn Hammarberg,

Prerequisite(s): ANTH 002 for undergraduates.

Psychological implications of differences in human experience arising from distinctive cultural patterns of mankind considered with reference to a variety of problems.

FOLK 531 401 Prose Narrative

D. Ben-Amos

Seminar: Thursday 12:00-2:00

Distribution I: Society

Cross-listed with AMES 659

Undergraduates Need Permission

Contact: Dr. Dan Ben-Amos, 215.898.5857;

The topics of discussion in the course are the following: the nature of narrative, narrative taxonomy and terminology, performance in storytelling events, the transformation of historical experience into narrative, the construction of symbolic reality, the psycho-social interpretation of folktales, the search for minimal units, the historical-geographic method in folktale studies, the folktale in history and the history of folktale research.

FOLK 539 401 Journalism and the Academy

Barbie Zelizer

Seminar: Monday 1:00-3:00

Cross-listed with COMP 539

Contemporary journalism remains one of the most studied yet unexplained agents of reality construction. This course tracks theories of journalism across academic disciplines, exploring what is common and disparate about the varied perspectives they invoke. Topics include the development of journalism as a field of academic inquiry, histories of news, organizational research on the newsroom, narrative and discourse analytic work on news-texts, and recent work in cultural studies.

FOLK 672 401 / EDUC 672 Introduction to Ethnographic and Qualitative Method

Lecture Tuesday 4:30-6:30

Kathleen Hall

Contact: Kathleen Hall,

The course provides students with an introduction to ethnographic and qualitative research. Ethnography is the study of culture and social organization through participant observation and interviewing, an approach known as "fieldwork." Ethnographers carry out research by becoming a participant, to varying degrees, in the social setting they wish to study. Ethnographic research provides interpretive and descriptive analyses of the meanings that inform the routine practices of everyday life. "Doing ethnography" requires that we make visible what otherwise are implicit and taken-for-granted aspects of social life. A central challenge of ethnographic research is to provide analyses that show the connections between culture and forms of social organization. Ethnographic accounts both represent the different ways in which people make sense of their experiences and describe the types of social organization (for example, gender relations, class status systems, kinship structures, or racial divisions) that, in part, serve to structure or pattern social behavior.

Cross-listed EDUC 672

FOLK 725 301 Topics in Folklore: Bodylore

Dr. Mary Hufford

Schedule change: will be offered Spring 2002

Contact: Dr. Mary Hufford,

Bodylore, a term coined in the late 1980s by folklorist Katherine Young, names an emerging subfield focused on the body's role in the making of social meanings. In this seminar, we'll consider the body as it is theorized by Bakhtin, Bourdieu, Douglas, Harvey, Stewart, Young, and others, and well turn to selected ethnographic case studies to explore problems of embodiment. How does the body enact the discourses that constitute it? How do our ways of imagining and interpreting the body bear on our ways of ordering the social and natural world? How is the body's dual status as both mode and object of knowing (Stewart) negotiated in ethnographic and scientific practice? How might a more humanistic ethnography undo and displace the dualisms of mind and body, body and self, and perhaps even return us to the body as a measure of all things (Harvey)? Work for the course will include in-class presentations, participation in electronic and face-to-face discussion about the readings, and a final paper.

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