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Faculty Courses Events News

FOLK 321 401 Exploring Memory and Tradition in Philadelphia Communities

Mary Hufford and Yoonhee Kang
Seminar: Friday 2:00-5:00 p.m.

Cross-listed: URBS327/ASAM 311/ANTH 321

In this place-based community service learning course, we explore the use of traditional verbal arts and material practices among immigrant communities seeking 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.

The fieldwork component for the Spring of 2007 focuses on the verbal arts and material cultural traditions of South Philadelphia's Indonesian community. In partnership with the Folk Arts and Cultural Treasures School (FACTS), students and faculty will develop an overview of Philadelphia's Indonesian community and its goals for cultural and linguistic maintenance. Students will also work with community members to identify resources on which FACTS can draw in order to support these goals for the many Indonesian children who have recently enrolled in the school. This one and a half credit course, which fulfills the General Distribution requirement in Society, will be of special value to students interested in anthropology, sociology, folklore, urban studies, linguistics, Asian studies, literary studies, and vernacular arts and culture.

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