Program in Folklore and Folklife
Spring 2002 Course Guide

Last updated 6 December 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, 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 the Folklore Program website manager, 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: Monday, Wednesday 3:00-4:30

contact: Cory Thorne,

fulfils the college writing requirement

This course will focus on the role of identity in everyday life. Using material from a variety of disciplines, identity will be defined and analyzed in relation to personal, local, and national politics. After a brief study of the history of folklore and of theories of identity, we will focus on biographic and culturally based writings on identity in contemporary culture. These examples will cover a variety of areas, ranging from gender, age, and sexuality, to ethnicity, class, and nationality. 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 material from interviews conducted during the semester, will explore the relationship between identity and folklore.

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 009.303 Writing About Folklore and Folklife
Writing about the Material World
fulfils the college writing requirement

This class starts with a fairly simple proposition, stuff matters. This is followed by an equally simple observation, we are surrounded by stuff. The study of all of this stuff--our material world--has blossomed in recent scholarship in many disciplines. It is not unheard of these days for literature critics to talk of reading a landscape or folklorists to discuss listening to an object. And, not surprisingly, scholars are learning any number of things when they turn their attentions to the material world and its makers. In this course we will enter the foray by directing our own senses toward the material world around us and writing about what we discover.

Since we are indeed surrounded by stuff, the class will often venture outside of the classroom. Explorations will range from looking closely at your roommate's wastebasket to absorbing the sights, sounds, and smells of the Italian Market. Some of the course will be spent thinking and writing about how other scholars have approached the material world--the methods they apply and the conclusions they reach--but the bulk of this course will focus on investigating and analyzing our own material worlds.

The class will be conducted as a writing workshop, meaning students will regularly share their ideas and writings with classmates for comment and critique. Assignments will include many short writing assignments based on reading assignments, class assignments, and field trips, as well as three longer essays based on field and library research.

FOLK 022 401 World Music and Cultures

Instructor: H. Moore

Lecture: Monday, Wednesday, Friday: 10:00-11:00

Cross-listed with MUSC 022 General Requirement III: Arts & Letters

Contact: Department of Music; 215-898-7544

This course draws on repertoires 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 022 402 World Music and Cultures

Allyn Miner

Lecture: Tuesday, Thursday: 12:00-1:30, Music Building 303

Requirements, Description and Cross-listing are same as above.

Contact: Allyn Miner;

FOLK 022 403 World Music and Cultures

R. Rosenberg

Monday, Wednesday, Friday 12:00-1:00

Requirements, Description and Cross-listing are same as above.

FOLK 022 404 World Music and Cultures

G. Solis

Tuesday, Thursday: 10:30-12:00

Requirements, Description and Cross-listing are same as above.

FOLK 022 405 World Music and Cultures

O. Bloechl

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

Requirements, Description and Cross-listing are same as above.

FOLK 022 601 World Music and Cultures

Rose Theresa

Thursday 4:30-7:10

Quota: Reserved seating for CGS

Contact: Music Department 215-898-7544

FOLK 029 401 Women and Religion

Barbara Von Schlegell

Tuesday, Thursday 12:00-1:30

Cross-listed with RELS 005, WSTD 109

Contact: Barbara Von Schlegell

An introduction to the role of women in major religious traditions, focusing on the relationship between religion and culture. Attention to views of women in sacred texts, and to recent feminist responses will be given.

FOLK 075 401 Jazz: Style and History

G. Solis

Tuesday, Thursday 12:00-1:30

Cross-listed with AFAM 077, MUSC 075

Contact: Music Department 215 898-7544

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 145 401 Comparative Medicine

Steve Feierman

Lecture: Monday, Wednesday 10:00-11:00; Recitations: Friday

Cross-listed with HSSC 145, HIST 146, HSOC 145

Distribution II: History & Tradition

Contact: Steve Feierman,

This course focuses on health and healing in the colonial and post-colonial world. We give special attention to local healing under the condition of domination, to definitions of the body and the person in biomedicine and in non-European healing traditions, and to the political and cultural place of medicine in regions which have experienced colonial rule.

FOLK 154 401 Voices of Israel

Nili Gold

Tuesday, Thursday 1:30-3:00

Cross-listed with AMES 154, COML 282, ENGL 293

Distribution III: Arts & Letters

This course will listen and respond to voices that, beginning only in the late 20th century, were allowed to be heard in Israeli literature. These voices, of new immigrants, women, Arabs, Holocaust survivors (first and second generation), gays, writers of Middle Eastern descent and religious authors, among others comprise the new chorus. Conversely, the Zionist super-narrative dominated Israeli literature from its inception. Its predominantly male, Israeli-born (or educated), secular, Ashkenazi (of European descent) writers controlled the cultural scene at the time. These authors followed traditional and Modernistic models. Their works tackled the national, territory-based, aspirations of the Jewish people. Voices of the others those who deviated from the central narrativewere rarely heeded. They were often muted, suppressed or marginalized by the readership and critics or by the writers themselves. Only in the last two decades, with the debates over Postmodernist attitudes and practices in Israel, are those others allowed to be heard in voices that are loud and clear.

Folk 201 001 American Folklore

Leonard Primiano

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

WATU credit optional; see instructor

General Requirement II: History & Tradition

Contact: Dr. Leonard Norman Primiano; 610-902-8330

This course will examine American expressive culture through an exploration of narrative; music; dance; drama; public events; material arts and architecture; religion; medicine; politics; foodways; ways of speaking; and customs surrounding and celebrating work, leisure, childhood, family, aging, individuality, and community. In other words, we will be studying the 99% of American life that often goes unnoticed by other college courses! Special topics featured in 2002: tattooing, piercing, branding and other forms of contemporary body art; women's home altars; and the African-based North American religion called "Vodou."

FOLK 227 601 Dreaming the Island: Transnational Identities in Latino American Literature

Solimar Otero

Monday 6:30-9:10 p.m.

Contact: Solimar Otero;

This course focuses on the transnational ethnicity of Latino American memoir and literature from the Spanish Caribbean. The landscapes of the islands of Puerto Rico, Cuba and the Dominican Republic act as tropes for situating history and identity for Caribbean- Latino-American authors. The tropicality of the islands serve as a way of situating the present and past in its contrast to the urban-American sites of New York, Miami, and New Jersey. Authors explored in the course include among others, Esmeralda Santiago, Christina Garcia, Julia Alvarez and Junot Diaz. In assessing how these narratives of home, identity, and place add to urban American milieus, we will point towards processes evident in the construction and experience of current global identities.

FOLK 258 401 The Hasidic Tale

Dan Ben-Amos

Tuesday, Thursday 9:00-10:30

Cross-listed with AMES 258, RELS 228, JWST 258

Contact: Dan Ben-Amos;

FOLK 270 601 Folklore and Sexuality

David S. Azzolina

Lecture: Tuesday 6:30-9:10

Cross-listed with WSTD 270; Reserved seating for CGS

Contact: David S. Azzolina; 215-898-5322;

Sexuality is usually thought of as being biological or social, divided into categories of natural and unnatural. What often gets missed are its creative and communicative aspects. Examining the constructed social elements of sexuality requires attention to be paid to folklore in groups, between individuals and on the larger platform of popular technological media. The most interesting locations for exploration are those places where borderlands or margins, occur between genders, orientations and other cultural categories.

FOLK 290 Urban Legends and Society

Steve Winick

Thursday 6:00 to 8:40 pm

Contact: Steve Winick;

We've all heard about the homicidal maniac with a hook hand, lying in wait in Lover's Lane. We've heard of the babysitter getting threatening calls from a man who is already in the house. We've heard about the hitchhiker who vanishes into thin air, the car haunted by the smell of death, and the killer hiding in the backseat. We've herd about alligators in the sewers, spiders in the a hairdo, and mice in the cola; about stolen kidneys, restroom castrations and babies sold for spare parts; about evil corporations, heartless governments and even a vast organized network of Satan worshippers looking for blonde virgins on Friday the 13th. This course applies tools of folklore, psychology, sociology, literature and film criticism to our understanding of such urban legends, asking the questions: what do these stories mean? How do they help us make sense of the world? And why do we love them so much? Come prepared to ask challenging question, to consider unsettling possibilities and (of course) to tell fun stories!

FOLK 310 401 Religious Diversity in America

J. Harding

Monday, Wednesday 4:30-6:00

Cross-listed with RELS 310

Contact: Religious Studies (215) 898-7453

In the 1950's America seemed to be a land of Protestant, Catholic, and Jew. Now it is clearly also a land of Muslims and Hindus, Buddhists, and Taoists, Rastafarians and Neo-pagans and many more religious groups. This course will focus upon a variety of topics: religious diversity in West Philadelphia, Philadelphia and beyond; the politics of religious diversity; religion in American schools and cities; and conflicts and cooperation among diverse religious groups.

FOLK 440 401 Masculinity in Narrative and Performance

Jay Dautcher

Seminar: Monday 2:00-5:00

Cross-listed with ANTH 444

Contact: Jay Dautcher;

In this seminar we review and evaluate critical approaches to understanding manhood and masculinity as they have been used to examine the individual and collective lives of men in communities around the world. Through a perspective that emphasizes how masculinity is performed and narrated, we seek to integrate concepts of: (1) the self--the experiencing and embodiment of personhood, subjectivity, and emotion; (2) spatiality and power--public and private forms of masculine self-presentation such as bodily disciplines, sporting events, leisure spaces; and (3) the state--relations between gender ideology, governmentality and power in political theatre, media control, warfare and military memorials.

FOLK 503 301 Issues in Folklore Theory

Roger Abrahams

Seminar: Tuesday 10:00-12:00

Contact: Roger Abrahams;

An introduction to folklore for graduate students, concentrating upon certain, key issues in the theory and history of the discipline.

FOLK 518 640 Ritual Process and Performance

Margaret Kruesi

Tuesday 5:30-8:10

Reserved seating CGS

Contact: Margaret Kruesi; 215-898-0876;

We mark our calendars with ritual events, and mark changes in our lives with rites of passage. Our everyday lives are suffused with private and family routines. In times of disaster, spontaneous memorials and rituals commemorate victims of car accidents, war and terrorism. This course will examine rituals associated with life changesbirth, adolescence, marriage, divorce, and death; ritual and customs connected to the calendar and cultural notions of time; civic ritual and authority; sacred palaces, pilgrimage and shrines; ritual song and music; children's games; traditional and folk drama, domestic rituals, including housekeeping clothing and food; health and healing rituals; ecology and ritual landscapes; and ritual in sporting events. Ethnographic studies, film and video recordings of ritual evens in cultural context, and theories of ritual from the nineteenth century to the present will be subjects of analysis.

FOLK 527 401 Anthropology of Education

Kathleen Hall

Tuesday 4:30-6:30

Cross-listed with EDUC 547, URBS 547

Contact: Kathleen Hall;

An introduction to the intent, approach, and contribution of anthropology to the study of socialization and schooling in cross-cultural perspective. Education is examined in traditional, colonial, and complex industrial societies.

FOLK 533 401 Folk and Unorthodox Health Systems

David J. Hufford

Seminar: Wednesday: 12:00-2:00

Cross-listed with RELS 505; Undergraduates Need Permission

Contact: David J. Hufford; 610-566-8592;

In 1997 42% of Americans used complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) at least once and spent over $20 billion out of pocket in the process. Since 1993 the National Institutes of Health have had an office, now a national center, devoted to CAM. Very few of the CAM practices getting headlines today are new, and many are very old. A debate rages in medical circles over whether the growing interest in CAM is a blessing or a curse. And patients are largely on their own in making decisions about herbs, energy healing, body work or spiritual practices for health. This course offers students the opportunity to critically examine representative alternative/folk health beliefs and practices and their cultural position in American society. The philosophical and theoretical premises behind these health systems will be analyzed and compared to the premises of conventional, Western medicine and to one another.

FOLK 541 640 Academic Writing & Research Design


Thursday 6:00-8:40

Permission required for undergraduates and non-CGS students.

Have you every noticed that scholars in different academic disciplines seem to speak different languages? Have you wondered how scholars put together a plan for their research, explain their findings, and organize and write their papers? This class is designed to introduce MLA students and other advanced students to the research and writing conventions used by scholars in the arts and sciences. With special attention to disciplines in the humanities and social sciences, we will identify and explore some of the theories, sources, language, and qualitative and quantitative methodologies that scholars use as they conduct original research in their fields. Throughout the class, we will also discuss writing conventions across the arts and sciences, with special attention to the structure of argument; the use of evidence voice and style in both traditional academic writing and more innovative forms of writing; and documentation conventions. Students will develop an original research project through incremental writing assignments, leading to the completion of a formal research proposal (15 pages), which can be used as their Capstone proposal if they wish.

FOLK 544 401 Art, Artists and Society

L. Gross

Seminar: Tuesday 1:30-4:30

Undergraduates Need Permission; Cross-listed with COMM 544, COML 572

Communicational, social, and psychological approaches to the study of the creation and appreciation of aesthetic objects and events. Artistic processes and products viewed in terms of cultural and historical definitions of the nature of art and the role of the artist.

FOLK 611 401 Witchcraft in the Early Modern World

Robert St. George

Seminar: Tuesday: 2:00-4:00

Cross-listed with HIST 610

Contact: Robert St. George;

FOLK 650 Folklore and Critical Regionalism

Mary Hufford


Folklore Archive Room (Logan 312)

Contact: Mary Hufford;

In tandem with global political and economic restructuring, and the related unsettling of national and local identities, scholarship on place has burgeoned. Recently, scholars from multiple disciplines have called for a shift from identity-centered approaches to the study of place and region to a more critical assessment of how the encounter of the local with "the larger than local" is articulated (Shuman, 1993). "Critical regionalism," a term hailing from architectural theory, names an effort to "frame a dialogue between localized dimensionality and the imperatives of international architecture" (Frampton, 1981). One way of framing this dialogue is to examine the imaginaries that span disjunct places "twinned" through those larger than local processes, imaginaries that regionalize from within (Herr, 1996). What are the foundations for such a project in folkloristics, and what is the role of ethnography in cultivating critical regionalism? To get at such questions, we will examine selected regional ethnographies and place-based folklore programs. Work for the course will include 1) evaluating a regional ethnography and a public program in light of critical regionalist theory and 2) developing, with a partner or group, a proposal for a multi-site ethnography anchored partly in the mid-Atlantic region.

FOLK 653.401 Folklore in the Hebrew Bible

Dan Ben-Amos

Seminar: Thursday 12:00-2:00

Cross-listed with AMES 653, JWST 653

Contact: Dan Ben-Amos;

FINE ARTS 663.401 Documentary Video Production

Gwyneth Leech

TA: Steve Poizat-Newcomb

Monday, 10-1:00

Contact: Steve Poizat-Newcomb;

This course will help give you the skills you will need to make professional and aesthetically effective digital videos in the field and the editing room. The bulk packet gives you a survey of the history of documentary, ethnographic, and folklore film. Readings also give you practical advice about dealing with informants, ethical issues, practical coping with the field, as well as funding and distributing your video projects. Small projects during the first part of the class help you familiarize yourself with the camera and conceptual aspects of filming. The second half of the semester focuses on a larger documentary project, and includes learning to edit non-linear digital video using Final Cut Pro 2. The class is listed as a production course with prerequisite experience with digital video production, but graduate students who are willing to learn extra technological information early in the semester with workshops will be able to keep up. This is a unique opportunity to learn useful fieldwork and career skills on state of the art technology.

FOLK 706 401 Culture/Power/Identities

Kathleen Hall

Seminar: Tuesday 12:00-2:00

Cross-listed with EDUC 706, URBS 706

Contact: Kathleen Hall;

This course will introduce students to the conceptual language and the theoretical tools to analyze the complex tools of racial, ethnic, gender, sexual, and class difference. The students will critically examine the interrelationships between culture, power, and identities through the recent contributions in cultural studies, critical pedagogy and post-structuralist theory and will explore the usefulness of these ideas for improving their own work as researchers and practitioners.

FOLK 725 301 Topics in Folklore: Bodylore

Mary Hufford

Seminar: Thursday 11-1:00 PM

Folklore Archive Room (Logan 312)

Contact: Mary Hufford;

Bodylore, a term coined in the late 1980s by folklorist Katharine 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, Dogulas, Harvey, Stewart, Young and others, and we'll 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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