Folklore | Folklore in Video & Film
F205 | 13400 | J. 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 Prophecies           Philadelphia Experiment
Exorcism		      Princess Diana Assassination Conspiracy
Garden of Eden			Theories
Ghosts			      Psychics
Holy Grail (cup)              Roswell UFO Crash
Holy Grail (Da Vinci Code)    Search for Holy Relics
Human Cloning		      Search for Noah’s Ark
JFK Assassination Conspiracy  Shroud of Turin
Theories                    Spontaneous Human Combustion
Jack the Ripper		      Stigmata
Lincoln Assassination         UFOs
Conspiracy Theories         Yeti (Abominable Snowman)
Loch Ness (and other Lake
Lost Tribes of Israel		

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

Fulfills COLL Arts & Humanities, TFR