Fall 2019 Folklore Courses
Folklore 100: Introduction to Folklore
Mo/We 9:55-10:45 (with Discussion Section) Humanities 1651 Dr. Anna Rue (3 credits)
Folklore 100 introduces the stimulating discipline of Folklore Studies, to examine why we do, make, believe, and say the things we do. Studying folklore offers the opportunity to hone several skills: information-gathering (through observation and interviewing in the real world and through library research), critical reading (of print texts and folkloric “texts” such as objects, landscapes, and events), and critical thinking (discerning cultural patterns, asking questions about representation, and considering how to convey cultural information to different audiences). Fulfills Comm B requirement, counts toward Ethnic Studies requirement.
Folklore 103/Music 103: Introduction to Music Cultures of the World
Mo/We 1:20-2:10 (with Discussion section) Humanities 2650 Professor Nadia Chana (3 credits)
An introductory ethnomusicology course providing a variety of ways to approach musics typically not covered in music history courses. Active engagement with these musics within their larger world contexts.
Folklore 200/GNS 200: Folklore of Central, Eastern and Northern Europe
Mo/We 11:00-11:50 (with Discussion Section) Van Hise Hall 594 Professor Thomas DuBois (3 credits)
This brand new class is taught by Prof. Thomas DuBois, covering folklore from all three of our Programs: German, Scandinavian Studies, and Slavic Studies. Whether it be rousing bedtime tales of unlikely heroes and magic helpers, jaunty tunes played on the fiddle, age-old recipes for preserving foods or curing ailments, mysterious rituals for maintaining luck, celebrating a wedding, or saying goodbye to a loved one, pieces of folklore are ancient and enduring elements of daily life throughout the world. In the diverse cultures of Central, Eastern, and Northern Europe, folklore holds particular significance not only as enduring parts of culture, but also as emblems of national identity, political idealism, and historical change. This introductory course surveys a range of past and present genres of folklore from the various cultures that make up the areas of expertise of the Department of German, Nordic, and Slavic. We will look at examples of primary materials as well as the theories that have developed to explain them, and we will look at the complex and sometimes surprising ways in which “Old World” traditions have become transplanted and adapted in North America. Students will learn techniques of fieldwork and analysis and examine a range of different traditions from throughout the wide array of cultures found in Central, Eastern, and Northern Europe, both among longstanding communities and among populations that have migrated to the region in more recent eras.
Folklore 210/African 210: The African Storyteller
Online Professor Matthew Brown (3 credits)
This online course provides students with a new and critical perspective on a popular UW-Madison course. Originally developed by Harold E. Scheub, “The African Storyteller” introduces students to both the oral and written traditions of African literature. The first half of the semester focuses on oral stories, and theories for interpreting them, while the second half focuses on famous 20th-century novels, by writers including Chinua Achebe, Ferdinand Oyono, Alex La Guma, and Nawal El Saadawi. All coursework is online. There are no meetings or official office hours. Students read stories and introductory hypertext, watch lectures featuring Harold Schueb, complete quizzes, participate in discussion forums, and compose weekly practice essays. Coursework is synchronous, meaning that, while there is a great deal of flexibility, students must meet weekly deadlines. Major assessments include a midterm essay and a final research essay.
Folklore/Linguistics/Anthro/International Studies 211: Global Language Issues
Mo/We 2:30-3:45 Van Hise Hall 215 Professor Rand Valentine (3 credits)
Global Language Issues is a topically-oriented course that examines the phenomenon of human language in the world, addressing linguistic, cultural, social, political and aesthetic aspects of the place of language in human lives and societies. We begin with an overview of the roles of language for individuals, communities, and nations, then move on to the basic components of linguistics (phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, and semantics). We then examine the science of historical linguistics and the construct of the language family by looking at the prominent Indo-European language family, and in much less detail, other language families in the world. We then begin a journey through many languages. Languages from all over the world will be treated, including Chinese, Japanese, Arabic, Hindi, Urdu, Bengali, Maninka, Swahili, Cape York Creole, Guugu Yimidhirr, and Ojibwe. We will look at various writing systems, particularly those used with Chinese and Japanese; we will look at the relationship of language to nation, primarily through the incredibly complex linguistic situations holding in China, India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. We will look at the role of verbal art in the traditions of the Maninka language of West Africa and traditional Chinese poetry. We will examine the concept of lingua franca through the lens of Swahili, a language spoken widely over eastern Africa, as well as the role of Arabic throughout the world. We will study pidgins and creoles by examining Cape York Creole of Australia. Lastly, we will learn about cultural, linguistic and political issues related to indigenous minority languages, looking at the Australian aboriginal language, Guugu Yimidhirr, and the American Indian language, Ojibwe.
Folklore 230/French 248: Introduction to American Folklore
Tu/Th 11:00-12:15 Van Hise Hall 483 Professor Jennifer Gipson (3 credits)
How do the traditions of French-speaking immigrants live on in Wisconsin in more than city names like “Luxembourg” or “Prairie du Chien”? How do certain depictions of Afro-Creole folk roots help to sell Zydeco music worldwide? Two-hundred years after the Louisiana Purchase, what cultural ties did residents of post-Katrina New Orleans cite in begging France’s then-president: “Buy us back, Chirac?” For Native Americans, had this land ever been French? This class will trace these and other questions of cultural and linguistic identity as we work to understand how notions of “race” and “ethnicity” have been shaped by French influence in the U.S. Among other literary texts, we will read a short story written in French in 1837, now hailed as the first published work of African-American prose fiction. We will also study films; folk narrative; music; maps; political and religious writings; and customary practices. Counts toward Ethnic Studies requirement.
Folklore/Medieval/LitTrans/RelSt 342; Scand St 429: Mythology of Scandinavia
Tu/Th 1:00-2:15 Ingraham 224 Dr. Scott Mellor (3 credits)
Scandinavian Mythology will introduce you to the belief systems of early and medieval Scandinavia in a European Context and take a look at the literary works written by Christian Scandinavians about their former Religion. We will look at the Kalevala, the mythological and heroic poetry of the Edda and the Icelandic legendary sagas, as well as a few early Christian texts. Requirements Fulfilled: Literature; Humanities; Advanced; L&S.
Folklore 530 (Topics in Folklore: Folklore, Design, and Plants)
We 2:30-3:45 Sterling 1333 Professor Janet Gilmore (1 credit)
*Meets With Landscape Architecture 375 (Topics in Landscape Architecture) & Landscape Architecture 866 (Seminar in Natural Plant Community Restoration & Management)
Readings-discussion with presentations, site visits, & class visitors to introduce approaches & disciplinary perspectives across the arts, humanities, social & biological sciences that relate to human roles in perceiving, living among, and managing plant communities for livelihood, artistic practice, architectural design, conservation, &/or restoration—all relating to issues of resilience, sustainability, health, & social justice.
Independent/Directed Study Options for Undergraduate & Graduate Students:
Folklore 399: Directed Study in Folklore (Undergraduate)
Folklore 699: Independent Study in Folklore (Graduate)