Folklore & Folklife
Logan Hall
Center for Folklore and Ethnography
Graduate Program
Undergraduate Minor
Folklore Home
University of Pennsylvania Home

For more information about Folklore and Folklife,at UPenn, contact Professor Dan Ben-Amos at

For assistance with the Folklore and Folklife website, contact Linda Lee at

Faculty Courses Events News

FOLK 407 640 Nationalism and Folklore in a World of Change

I. Todorova-Pirgova
Seminar: Thursday, 5:30-8:10 pm

The title of the course reflects its dual goals: on the one hand, we wish to explore how folklore and folklore research, especially in Europe, have been connected historically to a territory language, and national belonging. Toward this end, we will examine various attempts to find in national wisdom evidence of ancient origin, glorious history, and cultural uniqueness. On the other hand, we want to understand the process of establishing a national folklore. We will examine various cultural expressions and/or inventions of the national "us" perspective. Specifically, we will explore the roles of notions such as 'tradition" and authenticity in elevating elements of an ethnic group's folklore to the favored status of national folklore. In this context, we will consider what account for the endurance of some nationalistic representations as opposed to others in a world that is constantly changing. We will us the Balkan Slavic countries (Bulgaria, Macedonia, Serbia and Montenegro, Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina) as case studies, though students will be expected to bring their own ethnic/national background and experience to the class discussions. Reading will be from both contemporary and historical sources, and will concern both practical problems and theoretical issues.

<< Return to previous page