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Elizabeth Cullingford, Chair CAL 226, Mailcode B5000, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-4991

Spring 2008

E 325K • Introduction to Folklore and Folklife

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
35080 MWF
11:00 AM-12:00 PM
PAR 1
Renwick, R

Course Description

We use the word "folklore" in two senses: first as a kind of subject matter--traditional, stylized, artful human products like games, proverbs, nicknames, pranks, jokes, and so forth that people employ in the course of habitual social interaction and that they've learned from family, friends, workmates rather than from "the media"--and second as the discipline which studies that sort of subject matter, a discipline with a range of widely shared concepts and practices at its command. E 325K introduces you to folklore in both senses but principally to folklore in the second sense: the body of the course is organized according to types of questions folklorists, as observers and analysts, have asked about folklore-as-subject-matter. Their ways of answering these questions have been diverse but can be interrelated within a framework of the discipline's evolution. In our examination of this evolution, we adopt the case-study method. We look in depth at particular examples of folklore investigations--19th century Russian fairytales, a 20th century Newfoundland folksong, modern day American teenage horror stories, among others--that sought to discover something about the materials' history, or about their underlying form, about their covert meanings, about their effectiveness as strategic "performances" in interpersonal socializing. The chosen case studies are representative of the whole study-of-folklore over the last hundred years or so.

Grading Policy

Three 1300-word analytical papers on assigned topics 20% each
One three-hour final exam (essay answers) 40%

Please note that faithful class attendance is required (I take roll each day). Grade penalties are enforced after three absences.

Texts

Course packet

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