Folklore | Putting Folklore to Use in Communities
F404 | 33264 | I. Carpenter

This is a 2nd 8-weeks only course.

F404: Putting Folklore to Use in Communities foregrounds applied
work that draws upon concepts methods, and problem-solving skills
derived from academic research. Students in this service-learning
class will be introduced to basic readings, and through a variety of
activities, will practice participant-observation, interviewing,
fieldnotes, transcription, archiving, and analysis in applied

The fall 2008 class builds upon and extends the work in previous
classes (beginning in 2004 and co-taught with Dr. Phil Stafford)
with residents of Crestmont, a federal housing neighborhood on
Bloomington’s west side. Historically, it has been stigmatized
as “the Hill.” Past activities have included neighborhood mapping,
collaborative public art (with Bloomington artist Joe LaMantia),
life story interviewing, focus group discussions, and neighborhood
surveys. These involvements have paved the way for a planned series
of arts initiatives in 2008-09 intended to build relationships and
positive community identity. The class will connect to this on-going
activity. Work to-date has been funded by local and national
agencies, including the National Endowment for the Arts.

Texts will include Michael Owen Jones, Putting Folklore to Use, and
a reader of pertinent articles on applied and collaborative
research, public housing, and community-based arts. Human subjects
approval for research on the efficacy of arts in community-building
has been secured.

Class requirements will include weekly volunteer shifts in
Crestmont, weekly fieldnotes, short reflection papers and class
presentations on all readings, designing and implementing a formal
presentation for residents of Crestmont, and a final 10-page
reflection and recommendation paper.

The class will require initiative, imagination, careful scheduling,
and dedication. Students in past classes have not only sensitized
themselves to cultural documentation but also have learned about the
challenges, stigmas, and the sometimes surprising dividends of life
in a public housing neighborhood. The students also learned about
the hardships and benefits of collaboration and of innovating and
implementing applied projects grounded in knowledge derived from