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Syllabus, Spring 2012

Syllabus, Spring 2012 - American Studies O1:050:366...

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American Studies O1:050:366 Folklore of American Groups: Occupational and Regional “Always drink upstream from the herd.” --Cowboy saying Spring Semester 2012, Index 75270 Tuesdays and Fridays, 10:55 am to 12:15 pm Ruth Adams Building, Room 001 Professor Angus Kress Gillespie Office: Ruth Adams Building, Room 024 Office Hours: Tuesdays and Fridays 1:00 to 2:00 pm Email: [email protected] Complete syllabus is available on American Studies Website: http://amerstudies.rutgers.edu Course Objectives By the end of the class, students will have: 1. Gained tools of analyzing folklore in America (specifically, ethnography of cultural behavior, collection of items in the field); 2. Comprehended major American issues in the relation of folklore in modern society (e.g., role of tradition in a future-oriented society such as the United States, effect of modern technology on transmission of folklore, significance of identity and belonging to folk groups in a modern society. 3. Articulated major concepts, sources, and scholarship on folklore as a topic of inquiry in American Studies (e.g. structure, performance, symbol, and context) 4. Expressed in writing techniques of ethnography for an occupational group and for particular place with emphasis on interpretation of field-collected texts. Course Synopsis This course features both occupational and regional folklore. In the first half of the course we deal with occupational folklore, a branch of folklife that deals with such groups as cowboys, railroad workers, and mariners. Through documentary film, we examine their traditional customs and practices. Similarly, in the second half of the course we take up regional folklore that deals with such rural areas as the upper Midwest, the American heartland, the Mississippi Delta, .the bayous of Louisiana, and the Hispanic Southwest. We also touch upon the regional folklore of such urban areas as Chicago and Milwaukee. Each region has its own tales, songs, superstitions, beliefs, rituals, crafts, and customs. 1
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Course Requirements and Expectations There are required readings for every class meeting.. Specific page numbers are assigned day by day. You are expected to do the reading for a given day before coming to class so as to be prepared to discuss that reading intelligently. Failure to do the readings will most likely lead to failure on exams and papers. Students who find this reading load excessive might want to seek out other academic pursuits. There will be a midterm and a final exam. The exams will test your ability to identify key names, places, and phrases from the texts we have read and the documentary films that we have viewed. Regular attendance will be essential to your success in this course. You are expected to have an active Rutgers email account @eden.rutgers.edu. You should have regular access to the internet. You will be expected to check Sakai several times a week.
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Syllabus, Spring 2012 - American Studies O1:050:366...

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