Introduction to Folklore
Dr. Antone Minard
Sierra Hall 240M
MWF 10–10. a.m.
Folklore is the body of lore that exists below the radar in any given culture. It is unofficial and informal, and
folkloric traditions are usually communicated between individuals and among small groups rather than at the
level of a society as a whole. Because of its nature, “folklore” is often a synonym for “untrue” in vernacular
speech, and consequently it is often dismissed as unimportant. Folklore is in fact both valuable and powerful:
it can be a subversive tool among oppressed subcultures, who do not have a voice in the mainstream, or it can
be a tool of oppression that exists alongside an ostensibly tolerant official policy. In this course, you will be
studying art, beliefs, behaviors, customs, festvials, jokes, language, music, narrative, poetry from a folkloristic
perspective, as well as the theories and methodologies used by scholars to analyze folk traditions.
Upon successful completion of this course, you will have learned to recognize, document, and analyze cultural
behavior in everyday life. You will gain practical fieldwork experience including a unit on professional ethics,
release forms, and archiving. This course develops both descriptive and analytical writing with both colloquial
and formal language registers. Over the course of the semester you will be exposed to the traditions of more
than two dozen cultures and subcultures, increasing your awareness of and appreciation for diversity both within
your community and worldwide; the focus this semester will be on Armenian and Manx folklore.
The course consists of lectures, readings, and fieldwork. The lectures and readings will be evaluated by one
final exam. You will have seven fieldwork projects and one archival project. There is also a participation grade
which evaluates your level of engagement with the course by attending lectures, participating in class
discussions, responding to questions, posting to the course website, visiting me in office hours, and, if and only
if I feel the class as a whole is not doing the readings, pop quizzes.
Collection Project #1: Folk Speech / Proverb
F 19 September, 6.30 p.m.
Collection Project #2: Foodways
F 3 October, 6.30 p.m.
Collection Project #3: Folk Belief / Superstition
F 17 October, 6.30 p.m.
Collection Project #4: Folk Custom / Behavior
Þ 30 October, 6.30 p.m.
Collection Project #5: Folk Narrative / Legend
F 14 November, 6.30 p.m.
Collection Project #6: Miscellaneous
W 26 November, 6.30 p.m.
Useful Weed Photo:
F 5 December, 6.30 p.m.
Schedule to Circulate
MWF: 12/15; TÞ: 12/16
Participation / Quizzes: