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First Year Seminar: Navigating America
Instructor: Dr. Rachel Willis
12:30-1:45; Venable G311
51 First-Year Seminar: Navigating America (3). This seminar is designed to teach
AMST 051.001

students how to navigate new intellectual terrain and process unfamiliar information from a
variety of disciplinary perspectives with an emphasis on discussion, field study, and
documentation. Each student will plan, implement, and document an individual short journey.
This voyage of discovery on the campus or in the surrounding community will be chronicled with
a documentary journal and presented to the class in a multi-media format that conveys the
individuals perspective, journey, and discoveries. Additionally, the class will collaboratively plan,
implement, and document a common full day journey. This required field study will be a core
aspect of the experiential education connection for the course.
AMST 055.001

First Year Seminar: Birth and Death in the US

Instructor: Dr. Tim Marr

3:30-4:45; Graham Memorial 213
This course explores birth and death as essential human rites of passage that are
invested with significance by changing American historical and cultural contexts. Since
both events define life events that none of us can recall or relate with experiential
authority, examining them offers powerful insights into how culture mediates the
construction of bodies, social identity, and the meaning of human life. In contrast to the
American historical past, birth and death in contemporary United States are often
shrouded behind conventions of privacy and medical confidentiality, even as the
questions they raise are prominent in political discourse. This seminar uses
interdisciplinary learning to expose how different processes of cultural power have
shaped these experiences. Readings and assignments are designed to provoke new and
complex understandings of birth and death by examining the changing anthropological
rituals, medical procedures, scientific technologies, and ethical quandaries surrounding
them. We will also explore a variety of representations of birth and death in literary
expression, film, and material culture as well as well as in hospitals, funeral homes, and
cemeteries.. This course will encourage you to inquire into issues of importance to you
and will empower you to seek out sources and readings that can assist you to deepen
and refine your understanding of American cultural practices and their development over
First-Year Seminar: American Indians in History, Law, and
Instructor: Dr. Daniel Cobb
MWF 11:15-12:05
Murphy 104
AMST 060.001

This research seminar provides a broad grounding in American Indian law, history, and
literature through an exploration of the remarkable life and times of Flathead author,
intellectual, and activist DArcy McNickle (1904-1977). We will read DArcy McNickles
novels, short stories, histories, and essays, as well as secondary works about him. Even
better, we will be working with DArcy McNickles diary. Students will have an opportunity
to transcribe, contextualize, and share (probably through digital technologies) what they
have learned about history, law, literature (and much, much more) through his life story.
AMST 089.001
FYS American Indian Art in the 20th Century
Instructor: Dr. Jenny Tone-Pah-Hote
MWF 11:15-12:05;
Murphy 204
This course examines twentieth century American Indian art though secondary articles,
books, a graphic novel, and art itself. The class sharpens written and verbal
communication though in-class discussion, informal, and formal assignments. Students
will hone their visual critical thinking skills as well by examining and analyzing
contemporary American Indian art and representations of Native people.
This course connects American Indian art to vital conversations in American Indian
studies such as colonialism, identity, gender, and tribal sovereignty. We will also address
the following questions: How and why does contemporary traditional and modern
come to describe and even categorize art created by Native people in the twentieth
century? How Native people and others have constructed and contested the idea of the
American Indian art? Additionally, we will examine how artists have engaged with and at
times resisted the markets for their work and their influence on Native art.

First Year Seminar: Mobility, Cars, NASCAR and the South

Instructor: Dr. Elizabeth Engelhardt
MWF 1:25-2:15; Murphy 204
On July 10, 1949, three female drivers competed at the Daytona Beach Road Course, the
second ever NASCAR event. That same year Victor Green published another volume of
his Negro Motorist Green Book, which had helped African American travelers find friendly
places to stay while on the road in the Jim Crow era since 1936. The Good Roads
Movement, begun by enthusiastic bicyclists in the late nineteenth century, made grand
plans for a Dixie Highway taking tourists from Maine to Florida and transforming
automobile highways across the US South. This class will look at the culture, history,
memories, and meanings of mobility for a diverse range of people in southern cultures.
AMST 089.002

The Emergence of Modern America

Instructor: Dr. Sharon Holland
MW 12:20-1:10 Hanes Art 121
Recitation Sections: #601 (R 2:00-2:50); #602 (R 3:30-4:20); #603 (F 11:15-12;05);
#604 (F 12:20-1:10)
This course traces major themes in American culture as viewed through history,
literature, art, film, music, politics, and popular culture, from the American Revolution to
the present. It is not a comprehensive survey but rather an examination of the ways in
which history and the arts interrelate as the present emerges from the past. Topics
AMST 101.001

include American diversity, the natural environment, the rise of the cities, social
criticism, the cultural impact of war. Readings consist of primary sources: poetry (Walt
Whitman), fiction (Ernest Hemingway and Tim OBrien), and autobiography (Frederick
Douglass and Jane Addams). Each unit will include the work of an artist or photographer,
such as Thomas Cole, Matthew Brady, Jacob Riis, Dorothea Lange. Topics include the
heritage of the American Revolution; slavery, Civil War, and memory; technology and the
environment; writers, film-makers, and artists as social critics.
Students enrolling in AMST 101-001 must also enroll in one recitation section numbered
101-601 through 101-604.
AMST 110.001

Intro to Cultures & History of Native North America (HIST

Instructor: Dr. Malinda Maynor-Lowery
MWF 10:10-11:00;
Coker 201
Recitation Sections: #601 (F) 11:15-12:05; #602 (F) 12;20-1:10; #603 (F) 9:05-9:55;
#604 (R) 3:30-4:20; #605 (R) 5:00-5:50; #606 (F) 10:10-11:00; #607 (F) 11:15-12:05,
and #608 (F) 12:20-1:10
An interdisciplinary introduction to Native American history and studies. The course uses
history, literature, art, and cultural studies to study the Native American experience
AMST 201.001

Literary Approaches to American Studies: Southern

Instructor: Dr. Elizabeth Engelhardt
MW 3:35-4:50 Murphy 204
What did nineteenth century tourists to resort hotels across the US South read while they
sat on porches or took the waters? What novels did the Book of the Month Club
recommend to readers interested in the US South as they sipped cocktails in the suburbs
in the middle twentieth century? What do writers tell us about southern cultures through
social media and web-based writing today? We will read popular novels and media about
the south, asking questions about the role of writers and their readers in shaping and
understanding American and southern cultures.
Historical Approaches to American
Instructor: Dr. Seth Kotch
9:30-10:45 Murhpy 204
This course invites you to explore American history and culture through the voices of
those who lived it. Moving forward from the slave era to the recent past, you will
approach American history through narratives as expressed in oral histories, original
writing, photographs, music, and film. These narratives will introduce the human voice,
and more broadly human expression, into American history and allow you to explore its
major problems, from issues of race, gender, class and other identities; to the influence
of memory and context on our understandings of our history; to the reliability of different
versions of the past and how to evaluate authenticity, reality, and truthshould it exist
in a historic context.
AMST 202.001

Native American Tribal Studies

Instructor: Dr. Jenny Tone-Pah-Hote
MWF 2:20-3:10 Murphy 204
It is possible to gain a comprehensive understanding of American Indian Studies though
the lens of one American Indian nation. This course examines major discussions in the
field, through a discussion of the Kiowa, a Plains Indian nation located in Oklahoma.
AMST 234.001

The Kiowa play a unique role in American Indian history, literature, and the arts. This
class will take an interdisciplinary approach to explore Kiowa social, cultural, and political
life. We will examine Kiowa efforts to maintain their tribal sovereignty. We will also
analyze the role of law policy, gender, and the rise of intertribal movements like the
powwow. To approach these and other issues, students will read a number of articles,
historical documents, and following texts: The Way to Rainy Mountain by Pulitzer Prize
winner, N. Scott Momaday, The Jesus Road: Kiowas, Christianity and Indian Hymns by
Luke Lassiter, Clyde Ellis, and Ralph Kotay, and Kiowa Humanity and the Invasion of the
State by Jacki Rand.
Native America in the 20th Century (HIST 235)
Instructor: Dr. Daniel Cobb
MW 12:20-1:10 Peabody 104
Recitation Sections: #601 (R 2:090-2:40); #602 (R 3:30-4:20); #603 (F 10:1011:00); #604 (F 10:10-11:00);
#605 (F 11:15-12:05); #606 (F 12:20-1:10)
The idea that American Indian communities would continue to exist in the year 2000
would have confounded late nineteenth-century federal policymakers. By that time, the
Native population had collapsed, the tribal land base had been all but destroyed, and the
allotment and assimilation juggernaut pledged to Kill the Indian to Save the Man. At
the dawn of the new millennium, however, it was the system of colonial administration
not the indigenous peoples subjected to itthat appeared anachronistic. Against terrible
odds and in defiance of dominant expectations, Native communities endured.
Twentieth-Century Native America explores this complex and fascinating story.
Readings, lectures, and recitation sections will carry students across Native America from
the late nineteenth to the early twenty-first centuries. Along the way, we will engage
critically important issues, such as identity construction and contestation, the shifting
meanings of sovereignty and citizenship, and the problems of blood and belonging.
AMST 235.001

This course is cross-listed with History 235.

A Social History of Jewish Women in America
Instructor: Dr. Marcie Ferris
MWF 2:30 3:20 Saunders 204
AMST 253.001

This course will examine the history and culture of Jewish women in America from their arrival in
New Amsterdam in 1654 to the present day. We will explore how gender shaped Jewish womens
experiences of immigration, assimilation, religious observance, home, work, motherhood, family,
and feminism. The course will also investigate how factors such as region, race, class, country of
origin, and religious denomination influenced the lives of Jewish women in America, and in turn,

how Jewish women have shaped the national expression of American Judaism. Texts and
discussions consider how these factors have created an American Jewish womens history that is
distinctive from mens. Students will examine a variety of sources, including diaries, memoirs,
letters, film, recipes, organizational records, and artifacts that reveal womens voices that are
absent in more traditional histories. The central goal of the course is to integrate Jewish women
into the American past, and thus, fundamentally transform American Jewish history.

Melville: Culture and Criticism

Instructor: Dr. Tim Marr
Saunders 104
This seminar on Herman Melville examines a creative and deep-thinking nineteenthcentury American author whose works continue to speak with power to readers. We will
explore together Melvilles world-embracing attempts to engage what he called the
great Art of Telling Truth through fictional imagination. The course places Melvilles
literary expressions in the biographical and political situations when they were composed
as well as across a spectrum of evolving critical paradigms. We will also examine cultural
approaches that assess Melvilles engagement with gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity,
class, and the politics of the literary marketplace. Readings include Typee, Moby-Dick,
Pierre, The Piazza Tales, and Billy-Budd, Sailor. There will be a special project on
Melvilles Civil War poems. The course will examine the status of Melville and his work
today, especially Moby-Dick and its characters, as central icons of American memory, as
shown in recent popular culture, film, and art.
AMST 257.001

Globalization and National Identity

Instructor: Dr. Rachel Willis
2:00-3:15 Graham Memorial 210
277 Globalization and National Identity (3). Considers the meanings and
implications of globalization especially in relation to identity, nationhood, and America's
place in the world.
AMST 277H.001

Introduction to American Legal Education

Instructor: Dr. Keith Richotte
12:30-1:45 Genome G010
This class will afford students the opportunity to learn and engage with how legal
education is conducted in the United States by mimicking the 1L experience, or first
year in law school. The class is broken into units that represent the classes that virtually
every law school teaches to its first year class. By the end of the course, students will
have an introductory understanding of some of the major principles in some of the most
prominent areas of law, a greater capacity to think like a lawyer, and a true sense of
life as a law student and a member of the legal profession.
AMST 290.002

Historical Seminar in American Studies

Instructor: Dr. Seth Kotch
AMST 292.001

Murphy 204
Historical Seminar in American Studies: Crime and Punishment uses a variety of sources
to explore Americans' experiences with crime and punishment from the strict laws of the
New England Puritans to the newly urgent conversation about policing in minority
communities. Students will use archival material, historical scholarship, images, film, art,
and other sources to encounter rebels, revolutionaries, duelists, brawlers, gangsters,
hobos, yeggmen, cops, robbers, protestors, wardens, mobs, moonshiners, chain gangs,
judges, juries, executioners, and others with an aim to understand American history and
culture through the lens of bad behavior and responses to it.

AMST 365.001

Women and Detective Fiction: From Miss Violet Strange

to Veronica Mars
Instructor: Dr. Michelle Robinson
MWF 10:10-11:00
Greenlaw 305
Traces the origins of detective fiction and major developments in the history of the genre
with a focus on women authors and protagonists. Examines literary texts including fiction
and film, with close attention to historical and social contexts and to theoretical
arguments relating to popular fiction, genre studies, and gender.

Radical Communities in Twentieth Century

Instructor: Dr. Michelle Robinson
MWF 12:20-1:10 Murhpy 204
The goal of this course is to examine some of the radical developments in American
religious history from the turn of the twentieth century to the present. We will consider
how the language, ideas, and cultural products of religious outsiders responded to and
influenced mainstream ideas about what American communities could (and should) look
like in terms of gender, race, economics, and faith-based practices. We will closely
examine primary documents (sermons, short stories, documentary films, newspaper
articles) by believers and their critics, secondary sources by historians, and documentary
films, in order to think about the challenges these religious outsiders posed to religious,
social, and political institutions in the United States. Our studies may include the Ghost
Dance Religion, Mary Baker Eddys Christian Science, early Pentecostalism, the Catholic
Worker Movement, Nation of Islam, Jim Joness Peoples Temple and other movements.
AMST 392.001

Shalom Yall: The Jewish Experience (JWST 486)

Instructor: Dr. Marcie Ferris
MWF 10:10-11:00
Caldwell 105
This course explores ethnicity in the South and focuses on the experience of Jewish
southerners. Since the arrival of Sephardic Jews in the late seventeenth and early
eighteenth centuries, southern Jews have blended their regional identity as Jews and as
AMST 486.001

Southerners. This course explores the braided identity of Jews in the Souththeir
relationships with white and black Gentile southerners, their loyalty to the South as a
region, and their embrace of southern culture through foodways, language, religious
observance, and other expressive forms of culture. The course traces the history of
Jewish southerners from the colonial era to the present, using film, museum exhibits,
literature, and material culture as resources. Throughout the course we consider the
question of southern Jewish distinctiveness. Is southern Jewish culture different from
Jewish culture in other regions of the country, and if so, why? Is region a significant factor
in American Jewish identity? Students will explore these issues through class discussion
and writing assignments.
This course is cross-listed with JWST 486
Writing Material Culture
Instructor: Dr. Bernie Herman
3:35-6:25 Center for the Study of the American South The Love House
410 E.
Franklin Street
Writing material Culture is a reading seminar that examines multiple perspectives that
shape the understanding and interpretation of objects and images of all sorts. Our
readings explore the ways in which material culture can be written and the application
of an array of approaches for analysis and writing. Our readings, however, do not
superintend an overview of a field as diverse as its subject matter, but offer examples of
strategies that can be combined and applied to the scrutiny of things. Consider each of
our readings as a critical tool that has a place in an analytical toolbox and recognize that
you will constantly add to your stock of tools. Together, we work on an online occasional,
student-edited journal entitled Southern Things. Each person chooses a "Southern"
object and explores its narrative richness over the course of the semester leading to
publication. For an example, see volume 1 from Spring
AMST 489.001

Indian Law and Policy

Instructor: Dr. Keith Richotte
9:30-10:45 New East 301
This class will engage in an in-depth study of the federal governments legal and political
interactions with tribal nations and peoples from the founding through the present day.
Often couched as, the Indian problem, this class examines how the federal government
has sought to solve the problem through treaties, legislation, litigation, and other
political and legal means. By the end of the course, students will have a thorough
understanding of the major policy eras and movements in the field of federal Indian law,
the major pieces of legislation that have defined the field, and the major court cases that
have shaped the law, as well as other political and legal efforts that have defined the
relationship between the federal government, the states, and tribal nations and peoples.
AMST 510.001


Senior Honors Thesis (ASIA 691H)


Instructor: Dr. Morgan Pietelka

6:00-9:00 New West 103
This course is cross listed with Asia 691H. AMST 691H is a research and methods
course designed to help senior Asian Studies and American Studies majors research and
write an honors thesis. Our objectives are to review some major issues in Asian and
American Studies and interdisciplinary area studies in general, investigate how each
students research topic fits into these larger debates, review the writing conventions of
the appropriate discipline and field, and help students produce innovative, insightful, and
articulate research essays. EE.
Students who complete and successfully defend an honors thesis will graduate with
honors. Asian Studies students will also participate in the senior colloquium in the spring,
where each student will give a short presentation summarizing their thesis research.
Completed theses will be entered into the Carolina Digital Repository.
Students writing an honors thesis will be enrolled in AMST 691H/ASIA 691H by the
department once their thesis applications have been approved

AMST 700.001

The History and Practices of American Studies

Instructor: Staff
3:35-6:15 TBA
The History and Practices of American Studies will acquaint students with American
Studies as an interdisciplinary field. A close look at the emergence of the field of
American Studies in the 1940s and 1950s will be followed by considering its expansion
into new areas and the self-reflexive evaluation of the field. Reading will consist of
journal articles and books; weekly reflection papers will take the place of a concluding
seminar paper. Visiting faculty members will share insights into new work in fields
including American Indian and Indigenous Studies, Southern Studies, Foodways, Visual
Culture, Popular Culture, Music, Ethnography, and other areas. Graduate students from
American Studies are required to take this course in their first semester, and students
from other disciplines are especially invited to join in the conversation.
Digital Humanities Practicum
Instructor: Dr. Robert Allen
3:35-6:25 Greenlaw 431
This course approaches digital humanities through practical experience in a lab setting
and seminar-style reflection upon and discussion of that experience. Administered
through the Department of American Studies, the Digital Innovation Lab shares with it a
commitment to public humanities that integrates community engagement, digital
technologies, and inter-disciplinary inquiry; to preparing graduate students to work
effectively in academic and non-academic settings; and to realizing synergies across all
areas of academic practice: research, engaged scholarship, graduate training, and
student learning. We also benefit from and share the departments emphasis on place:
the local, the regional, the national, and the trans-national, rooted in our role as public
research university supported by the citizens of North Carolina. Participants will work
with Will Bosley, General Manager, and other staff of the DIL to contribute to ongoing DIL
AMST 850.001

project work and to augment and expand published projects. In addition to exploring
and evaluating a range of digital humanities tools, they will learn to use DH Press to
design and implement digital humanities projects and explore different ways of
visualizing digital humanities data for academic and non-academic audiences. They will
gain valuable experience in developing effective work practices and hone project
management and communication/presentation skills of particular relevance to
interdisciplinary, collaborative, public-facing digital humanities practice. This course
counts toward the UNC-CH graduate certificate in digital humanities. Participants should
plan to spend at least one additional hour each week in the lab during business hours
working on small-group projects. Enrollment is limited and is by permission of the
instructor. Expressions of interest should be sent to Professor Robert Allen:

Ph.D Research Seminar

Instructor: Dr. Patricia Sawin
3:30-6:20 Phillips 301
Over the course of the semester each student, in consultation with the professor
teaching AMST 902 and his/her advisory committee, will prepare his or her professional
portfolio and dissertation proposal. Students will workshop drafts to assist each other in
preparing the most effective portfolios and proposals. The course will also involve
readings and guest speakers to explore approaches to dissertation research and writing;
pedagogy and syllabus design; exhibit design; publishing; and other issues especially
relevant to the career goals of the students in each cohort.
AMST 902.001

The Cherokee-Speaking World
Instructor: Dr. Ben Frey
Day: MWF Time: 2:30-3:20 Classroom: Murray G205
CHER 101

01 The Cherokee-Speaking World: "Hadolegwa Tsawonihisdi'i" (3). This course

presumes no knowledge of Cherokee. Students are introduced to basic vocabulary
oriented around classroom objects, daily routines, descriptions of people and objects,
and simple narration in the present time. By the end of the course, students will be able

to introduce themselves and others, identify and describe objects and people, discuss
on-going and daily activities, follow simple directions, comprehend and repeat simple
narratives, and participate in rudimentary discussion of themselves and others. This
course will introduce the use of the Cherokee syllabary and will be held in the Cherokee
language. Texts and class materials will be provided digitally.

FYS: Poetic Roots of Hip-Hop
Wilson 217
There aint nothing new about rapping. Thats what elders from a host of African
American communities declared when hip hop first exploded onto the scene. This new
form, they claimed, was just a skilled re-working of poetic forms that had been around
for generations. Each elder seemed to point to a different formsome to the wordplay
of rhyming radio deejays, others to the bawdy flow of streetcorner poets, still others to
the rhymed storytelling of sanctified singers. And each was right; elegant rhyming has
indeed marked African American talk for generations. Yet because most such rhyming
was spoken, its history remains hidden. In this seminar, well explore this lost history,
searching the historical record to uncover hidden heritages of African American
eloquence, rhymed storytelling, and sharp social critique. Our goal is nothing short of
writing the prehistory of hip hop, by revealing the everyday poetries that, for
generations, have defined what it means to be African American. Towards this end,
students will meet with oral poets and hip hop emcees, and also conduct original archival
research, leading to team-based class presentations and individual papers. Throughout
the semester, students will also attend a range of poetic events, thus honing their skills
at hearing and appreciating the eloquence that surrounds us all.
FOLK 77.001

FOLK 202.001

Intro to Folklore (Anth/Engl 202)

Instructor: Staff
MW 9:05-9:55 Gardner 08
Recitation Sections: #601 (R 3:30-4:20); #602 (R 5:00-5:50); #603 (F 10:1011:00); #604 (F 12:20-1:10)

Folklorists seek to understand how people interpret and make sense of the world. The
study of folklore asks how, in a world flooded with commercial and highly refined cultural
products, people use those particular materials that they themselves create and reshape in order to express who they are, where they belong, and what they value. In this
course we will look at diverse forms (or genres) of folklore, including song,
architecture, legend, and food. We will consider how vernacular expressive culture is
learned, what it does for people, and why these processes and products persist through
time and space. Students will be introduced to the discipline of Folklores central
research methodology, ethnography, and have an opportunity to practice that approach
in individual and group research projects.
This course is cross-listed with ENGL/ANTH 202.
Note: Students enrolling in FOLK 202-001 are also required to enroll in one recitation
section numbered FOLK 202-601 through FOLK 202-604.

FOLK 490.001

Special Topics: Traditions in Transition: Jewish Folklore and

Instructor: Dr. Gabrielle Berlinger
3:30-6:20 Saunders 204
This course will be cross-listed with JWST (#tbd)
This course introduces students to the variety of folkloristic expression in Jewish American
communities today, as well as to the ethnographic documentation of such expression. We will
examine Jewish storytelling, humor, ritual, custom, belief, dress, and food, among other genres of
folklore, using the history of Jewish folklore and ethnology to provide context for their current
forms. Drawing upon ethnographic studies, literary sources, historical documents, films, and field
trips, we will discuss what makes these forms of vernacular expression Jewish, how source
communities interpret them, and how ethnographers document them, to engage such issues as
representation, identity, memory, and tradition. Students will learn ethnographic skills to conduct
a final community-based fieldwork project. Multimedia components are welcome.

Oral History/Performance
Instructor: Dr. Della Pollack
Murphy 111

FOLK 571.001

Southern Music (Hist 571)

Instructor: Dr. William Ferris




Center for the Study of the American South - University of North

Carolina at Chapel Hill
THE LOVE HOUSE - 410 East Franklin Street, CB # 9127 -Chapel
Hill, NC 27599-9127

This course explores the music of the American South and considers how this music
serves as a window on the regions history and culture. We will first consider the South
and how the regions distinctive sense of place defines music in each generation. From
the Mississippi Delta to Harlan County, Kentucky, from small farms to urban
neighborhoods, from the region itself to more distant worlds of the southern diaspora,
southern music chronicles places and the people who live within them.
Our course covers a vast span of southern music and its roots, from ballads to hip hop,
with numerous stops and side-trips along the way. We will examine the differences
between bluegrass and country, zydeco and Cajun, and black and white gospel. We will
also study the influences of southern music on American classical music, art, dance,
literature, and food. The class also includes guest speakers and performers. We will
listen to field recordings were made by collectors like Alan Lomax and will consider the
impact of these recordings on contemporary music. We will also view documentary films
on southern music and will discuss how these films enrich our understanding of each
musical tradition.

FOLK 790.001

Public Folklore

Instructor: Dr. Glen Hinson

2:00-3:15 Center for the Study of the American South - University of North
Carolina at Chapel Hill
THE LOVE HOUSE - 410 East Franklin Street, CB # 9127 -Chapel
Hill, NC 27599-9127

This graduate seminar addresses the world of public folklore, exploring theory and praxis
in public sector cultural work. Focusing on the ways that cultural workers (folklorists
and others) bring their understandings to broader publics, and the ways that we can
convey these understandings in full collaboration with the communities being
represented, this course explores broad issues of representation, cultural politics,
touristic display, and culturally-based economic development. While so doing, it remains
eminently pragmatic, drawing participants into conversation with public folklorists,
inviting them to attend (and assess) public folklore events, and charting the ways that
public cultural outreach translates in the 21st century. At the seminars close, each
participant will have written a fundable proposal for a public folklore project.


Approaches to Folklore Theory

Instructor: Dr. Patricia Sawin
3:30-6:30 Greenlaw 526A
FOLK 850.001

Folklore is not a thing, let alone a single, determinate object. It is, rather, a category of cultural
analysis and a way of looking at our cultural world. It was developed as part of the project of
European Modernity and had significantly different definitions and impacts in succeeding eras.
Indeed, the problem with folklore (in the sense of both a practical challenge and a fascinating
intellectual question) is that folklore is taken to stand for so many different partially overlapping
or even contradictory objects. What, then, might it mean or entail to study folklore in the 21st
century? This graduate seminar is designed to do three things. First, the readings provide one
relatively systematic overview of many of the major issues and perspectives that have
characterized the study of folklore over the past two centuries and more. Second, written work
will require students to apply selected theories to bodies of data in order to understand the
continuous process whereby theory illuminates data and data inform new theory. Third and
perhaps most importantly, our discussion is intended to model a way of thinking historically
about the discipline, recognizing how definitions of the folk and folklore and consequent ideas
about the social role of folklore and what questions one might productively ask of such material
have emerged from the political and social developments of various periods. Students challenge
will be to use this perspective to develop a form of folklore study that responds progressively to
the realities of the global culture in which we now operate.