Folklore | Folklore in Video & Film
F205 | 20997 | Johnson

William Thoms conceived the term Folk Lore in 1846 to name the new
discipline centered around the study of tradition.  Since the advent
of modern media and the World Wide Web, a more standardizing
influence has evolved upon folk belief and other kinds of folklore.
The new and related discipline of Popular Culture was developed to
analyze the standardizing effects on these forms. The difference
between folklore and popular culture is sometimes very difficult to
determine, if such a distinction can really be made at all. Topics
that interest scholars both in folklore and popular culture now
appear regularly on film and video. This course will deal with a
number of issues of folk belief and worldview reinforced, debated,
propagated, and spread by film, video, the web, cinema, television,
VCR, and DVD players in modern America. Moreover, the course will
explore ways of critically viewing and examining folklore and
popular culture in video and film. In spite of the powerful
influence of science on contemporary worldview, many people still
cling to beliefs others consider illogical and unreasonable. Tools
for critical thinking will be explored in readings and discussions.
A major goal of this class will be to assist students to develop
skills for thinking critically about a wide variety of folk belief
common in our times.
	As this course has progressed from one semester to the next,
students themselves have chosen over half the topics potentially
covered in the course. From this list, students choose 10 topics to
be thoroughly investigated during the semester in both videos and
class debates.

Those topics include:

Aids Conspiracy Theories	Martin Luther King Assassination
Alien Abductions		Conspiracy Theories
Ark of the Covenant	        Marilyn Monroe Assassination	
Atlantis		         Conspiracy Theories
Bermuda Triangle	        Moon Landing Hoax Conspiracy Theories
Bigfoot	                        Near Death Experience
Chupacabra	                9/11 Conspiracy Theories
Crop Circles	                Nostradamus Prophesies
Doomsday Prophesies	        Philadelphia Experiment
Exorcism	                Princess Diana Assassination
Garden of Eden		        Conspiracy Theories
Ghosts	Psychics	
Holy Grail (cup)	        Roswell UFO Crash
Hole Grail (Da Vinci Code)	Search for Holy relics
Human Cloning	                Search for Noah’s Ark
JFK Assassination Conspiracy Theories	  Shroud of Turin
Jack the Ripper	                Spontaneous Human Combustion
Lincoln Assassination Conspiracy Theories  Stigmata
Loch Ness (and other Lake Monsters)	UFOs
Lost Tribes of Israel	        Yeti (Abominable Snowman)

If the Truth is out there, perhaps you will find it in this course.