Although doctoral seminars involve advanced work, for many students this course will represent an introduction to folklore—thus the rationale for readings that combine basic folkloristic concepts with adaptation of those concepts to the discipline of Library and Information Science. The texts for the course will be Barre Toelken’s revised edition of The Dynamics of Folklore (Utah State U.P., 1996) plus other articles or essays as assigned in a course packet and in an issue of Library Trends (Winter 1999) entitled “Folkloristic Approaches in Library and Information Science” (written by students in an earlier seminar). We will discuss samples and genres of folklore; analysis and interpretation of folklore; and issues such as gender representation and intellectual freedom vs. cultural ownership. My particular interest is folklore aesthetics, especially the way folk narrative permeates art forms such as fiction, film, and picture books, but I expect a broad range of other emphases, from worklore to cyberlore. Beyond a common core of readings, these individual interests will shape the course and bibliography. Students are encouraged to contact me before class begins with a defined area of interest, or to identify an area of interest at the beginning of the course. Each student will pursue in-depth research in that area and present his or her findings to the group, with the goal of producing a paper for publication or contributing in some way to background work for a dissertation (there is no subject irrelevant to folklore!).
8/26 What is folklore and who are the folk?
--Opening exercise: each student defines folklore and identifies his/her folk groups (with overlaps, intersections, boundaries) and the class generates a group definition, to be modified as the course continues
--Definition of each student’s doctoral research background
--Introduction and interdisciplinary aspects, genres, issues; course goals
--Historical perspectives and futuristic folkloristics (Propp/Star Wars video)
--Discussion: the relationship between folklore and popular culture
--Folklorists as folk
9/2 What are some ways to observe, collect, and analyze folklore?
--Discussion of fieldwork, analytic methodologies, and theoretical perspectives
--Discussion of readings and folklore samples collected by students
Assign. for 9/2: (1) Read Barre Toelken’s The Dynamics of Folklore, Preface, Intro., & ch. 1-3, pp.xi-156; + the Introduction to “Folkloristic Approaches in LIS” in Library Trends (1999) 47(3): 341-345”; (2) Collect two examples of folklore (verbal, material, and/or customary) and prepare to analyze or interpret them in terms of text (tone, function, structure, detail, theme) and context (time, setting, occasion, informant/s)
9/9 What are some ways to research, archive, and organize folklore?
--Guest lecturer on sources and resources: Jo Kibbee
---Discussion of student research projects, resources, and search strategies
Assign. for 9/9: (1) Read Dynamics ch. 4-7, pp.157-314; + assigned articles; (2) define the issue, aspect, or genre in which you expect to be most interested as a research project; (3) browse this site: http://lcweb.loc.gov/folklife/
9/16 What are some of the ethics and issues of folklore?
--Considerations of collecting, interpretation, gender, age, ethnicity, and world view
--Who determines ownership, copyright, and artistic/intellectual freedom, & how ?
Assign. for 9/16: (1) Read Dynamics ch.8-10, pp.315-432; + articles:
--Farrer, Claire R. “Who Owns the Words? An Anthropological Perspective on Public Law 101-601.” The Journal of Arts Management, Law and Society 23 (1994): 317-326.
--Toelken, Barre. “The Yellowman Tapes, 1966-1997.” Journal of American Folklore (1998): 111(442): 381-391.
--Hearne, Betsy. “Swapping Tales and Stealing Stories: The Ethics and Aesthetics of Folklore in Children’s Literature.” Library Trends (1999): 47(3): 509-528.
--Jackson, Bruce. “The Perfect Informant.” Journal of American Folklore. 1990. Oct-Dec. Vol.103, No.400. pp.401-416.
--Lau, Kimberly. “This Text Which Is Not One: Dialectics of Self and Culture in Experimental Autoethnography.” Journal of Folklore Research, vol.39, Nos.2/3, 2002.
9/23 What is verbal folklore?
--Discussion of folktales, fairy tales, myths, legends, poems, jokes, anecdotes, ballads, etc., and the interpretations thereof
Assign. for 9/23: (1) Draft a proposal for your research project, defining the essential question you are asking, the way you plan to answer it, and some possible resources you will use (2) Readings on Beauties Curious and Beasts Untransformed
-- “Bluebeard,” Charles Perrault; “Mr. Fox, Joseph Jacobs; “The Robber Bridegroom” and “Fitcher’s Bird” (or “Fowler’s Fowl”), Jacob & Wilhelm Grimm; “Count Silvernose,” Italo Calvino; “Beauty and the Beast,” Madame Le Prince de Beaumont
--Bettelheim, Bruno. “Bluebeard”; “Beauty and the Beast.” The Uses of Enchantment.
--Zipes, Jack. “On
the Use and Abuse of Folk and Fairy Tales with Children: Bruno Bettelheim’s Moralistic Magic
Wand.” Breaking the Magic Spell: Radical Theories of folk and Fairy Tales.
--Brunvand, Jan Harold. The Study of American Folklore. W.W. Norton, 1998. Section on Folksongs, pp.269-295; on Folklife, pp. 511-12.
--Find a contemporary urban legend about a serial killer
9/30 What is customary folklore? Material folklore?
--Discussion of customs, games, dances, herb cures, superstitions, gestures, music, etc.
Guest lecturer: Lori Garner on women’s childbirth and healing charms, readings TBA
--Discussion of crafts, vernacular buildings, xerox art, etc.
Assign. for 9/30:
-- Babcock, Barbara. “Artifact.” Folklore, Cultural Performances, and Popular
Entertainments: A Communications-Centered Handbook. Ed. Richard Bauman.
--Glassie, Henry. “Folkloristic Study of the American
Artifact: Objects and Objectives.” Handbook of American Folklore.
Ed. Richard M. Dorson.
--Glassie, Henry. “Folk Art.” Folklore and Folklife: An Introduction. Ed. Richard M. Dorson.
--Merkel, Cecelia. “Folkloristics of Educational spaces: Material Lore in Classrooms with and Without Walls.” Library Trends, pp. 417-438.
10/7 What is family narrative and oral history?
--Discussion of memory as information
Assign. for 10/7: (1)
Collect a worklore story; (2)
--Dorson, Richard M., ed. Handbook of American Folklore.
--Smith, Margaret and Linda Holmes. Listen
to Me Good: The Life Story of an
--Hudley, Edith, and Wendy Haight and Peggy Miller. Raise Up a Child (Lyceum, 2003), pp.xiii-54.
--Sloan, Bernie. “These Keys . . . Written Personal Narrative as Family Lore & Folk Object.” Library Trends, pp. 395-413.
10/14 What is worklore?
--Discussion of professional, corporate, legal, academic, industrial lore
--Assign. for 10/14:
----Dorson, Richard M., ed. Handbook of American Folklore.
--Gremore, Elizabeth. “Mapping Culture:
Rural Circuit Medical Librarians’ Information
Systems.” Library Trends, pp.349-374.
--Martin, Linnea. “Pin the Tales on the Donkay: The Life of Libraries.” Library Trends, pp.375-394.
--Neumann, Laura. “Paper, Piles, and Computer Files: Folklore of Information Work Environments.” Library Trends, pp.439-469 [skim].
10/21 How is folklore related to popular culture and mass media?
--Discussion of films, music, images, commercialism, and folkloric traditions
--Guest lecturer on folklore and public culture: Susan Davis
Assign. for 10/21:
--Davis, Susan. “Eros Meets Civilization: Gershon Legman Confronts the Post Office.” Counterpunch, Oct.15-Nov. 15, 2002. pp.4-9. + other readings TBA
--The Piano. Jane Campion, 1993; My Big Fat Greek Wedding, 2002
10/28 What is Cyberlore?
--Discussion of technolore as a folk expression
Assign. for 10/28:
--Bausinger, Herman. Folk Culture in a World of
--Kozma, Thomas. “The Folklore of Computer Users.” Print-out of inactive web site.
--Powell, Kevin. “Technolore.” Library Trends, pp.473-484.
--Ong, Walter. “Orality and Literacy: Writing restructures Consciousness.” Book History Reader. Eds. Finkelstein and McCleery. Chapter 8, pp.105-117.
--Hearne, Betsy and Anna Nielsen. “Catch a Cyber by the Tale: Online Orality and the Lore of a Distributed Learning Community.” Learning, Culture, & Community in Online Education. Haythornthwaite and Kazmer, eds. Peter Lang, 2004. pp.58-88.
11/4 What are some of the developmental, familial, generational, and social dimensions of folklore?
--Guest lecturer: Peggy Miller on generational and educational aspects of personal narrative
--Discussion of folklore as reflective of social value systems
Assign. for 11/4:
--Miller, Peggy et al. “Narrating Transgressions in Longwood: The Discourses, Meanings, and Paradoxes of an American Socializing Practice.” Ethos 29(2):159-186.
--Alexander, K.J., Miller, P.J., & Hengst, J.A. (2001). “Young children's emotional attachments to stories.” Social Development, 10(3), 374-398.
--Kimball, Melanie. “From folktales to Fiction: Orphan Characters in Children’s Literature.” Library Trends, pp.529-557.
--Del Negro, Janice M. “A Change of Storyteller: Folktales in Children & Books.” Library Trends, pp.579-601.
--Lastra, Sarai. “Juan Bobo: A Folkloric Information System.” Library Trends, 529-557.
--Tidline, Tonyia. “The Mythology of Information Overload.” Library Trends, 485-506.
11/11 What are some of the international dimensions of folklore?
--Discussion of folklore and globalism
Rania Huntington on ghost lore in
Assign. for 11/11:
11/18 How does folklore and related scholarship get published?
--Discussion of scholarly publication with guest lecturer Judy McCulloh
Assign. for 11/18:
“Writing for the World,” McCulloh’s presidential address to the AFS, 1987
“What Do Publishers Do?” A chapter from “Getting it Published: A Guide for Scholars and Anyone Else Serious About Serious Books by William Germano (U.Chicago, 2001)
11/25 No class (Thanksgiving Holiday)
12/2 Conference papers
Presenters and respondents, as assigned
12/9 Conference Papers
Presenters and respondents, as assigned
Grades will be based on the following percentages: class participation 40%, discussion leadership of readings 10%, oral presentation of research project 10%, research paper 40%
Lori Peterson Garner, folklorist
Dissertation: “Oral Tradition and Genre in Old and Middle English Poetry”
Head of Reference, UIUC library, and folklorist
Author of Cultural Anthropology: A Guide to Reference and Information Sources.
Susan Gray Davis
Professor of Communications, UIUC, and folklorist
Author of Spectacular Nature: Corporate Culture and the Sea World Experience (University of California Press, 1997)
Professor of Speech Communication, UIUC
Co-author (with Edith Hudley & Wendy Haight) of Raise Up a Child (Lyceum, 2003).
Assistant Professor of East Asian Studies, UIUC
Author of Alien Kind: Foxes and Late Imperial Chinese Narrative (Harvard East Asian Monographs, 2004)
Executive Editor of
Author of “Writing for the World” (presidential address to the AFS, 1987)