Folklore | Middle Eastern & Arab Mythology
F734 | 27333 | H. El-Shamy
Above class meets with Folk-F 308.
This course introduces the Middle East and the various facets of
lore associated with it. It is composed of four (4) segments:
I. Introduction: The field of folklore as it applies to "The Middle
--What is meant by "folklore" and its relation to other
levels/categories of Middle Eastern cultures.
--Peoples and cultures of the Middle East
--A brief overview of Middle Eastern Religions
II. Areas, Fields, and Genres of Middle Eastern Folklore:
-- Introducing such concepts as: Oral Literature, Verbal Art, Folk
Beliefs, Rituals, and Religion, Mythology, Festivals, Folklife
Studies, Material culture, Folk Art, Folk Architecture, etc.
III. Folklore theories and Mythology
-- A brief survey of the literature
--The Generic characteristics of "myth" as compared to other
categories of narrative lore.
IV. In-depth Treatment of Select Forms, Fields, and Genres. Emphasis
is placed on Verbal, Social, and Mental/affective aspects of lore:
The folk narrative and its genres, the major anthologies (e.g., 1001
Nights, Kaleelah and Dimnah/Panchatantra, etc.); the proverb and the
riddle; folk poetry and narrative poetry; folk healing rituals, etc.
(You may treat any Middle Eastern group, or emphasize other facets
of lore that may not receive sufficient coverage in class
V. Your Own Work/Research in a Middle Eastern Field, Country, or
Social Group of Your Choosing. (E.g., Pharaonic Egypt, Jewish tales
from Yemen, Zoroastrians, rug-weaving, dancing, etc.)
Requirements: Interest in the Middle East, traditional culture and
folklore, and willingness to think.
Hasan El-Shamy. A Handbook of Arab Mythology. (ABC-CLIO, 2002)
Other Reference Works:
Hasan El-Shamy. Tales Arab Women Tell, and the Behavioral Patterns
they Portray. (Indiana University Press, 1999).
H. El-Shamy. Folktales of Egypt ... with Middle Eastern and African
Parallels (U. of Chicago Press, 1980).
T. T. Sebeok. Myth: a Symposium. (1958).
Handouts: "The outline of culture," "Culture Areas of The Middle
East," "TEXTS" etc.
Examinations: 2 exams
Paper: One term paper.