Folklore & Folklife
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Center for Folklore and Ethnography
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Undergraduate Minor
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FOLK 321 401: Exploring Local Memory and Tradition

Mary Hufford
Seminar: Friday 2:00-5:00

Cross-listed: URBS327

In this ethnography-based course we will explore the integral role of traditional arts in the lives of a group of elderly men and women in West Philadelphia. We will begin with reading about groups, communities and identity as they are formulated in folklore and anthropology. We will then survey a selection of readings that lay out approaches to fieldwork and ethnography, focusing, specifically on interview techniques, interpretation, and ethical responsibilities in fieldwork situations. Students will learn and use oral historical and ethnographic interview skills to develop their own research papers and also serve particular needs of the community. The fieldwork component of this class will take place within a community formed around a senior center for African elderly in West Philadelphia. Part of the requirements of this class will involve preparing a brochure and news letter for the center. Students will interview elderly men and women and document their traditional skills, such as mat and basket weaving, fishnet-making and tradition costume making.

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