Folklore | Comparative Approaches in Folklore
F740 | 27234 | H. El-Shamy
This seminar examines the "comparative approach" within the context
of the theories and techniques folklorists have employed in
determining the nature of their discipline. "Types" and requirements
of research in sociocultural sciences (see segment VI below) will
provide guidelines for discussions. The course will also explore the
prevailing "theories" and related academic "worldviews" with
reference to their impact on determining the parameters/"boundaries"
of the folklore scholarship in relation to allied disciplines and
culture specialty studies.
The contents may be designated in the following broad categories:
I. Introduction: the nature of "the folkloric phenomenon".
Key concepts and analytical tools.
II. Factors involved in "comparative" studies. These include
form; contents; functions or performance and performer' intent;
meaning; context; the social process; kinship ties; culture-bound
symbols and perceptions; historical evidence as a criterion in
classification; the world view of the scholar/classifier; perception
within cognitive systems.
III. Units of measurement: Genre, field, area and other
units (e.g., theme, motif, tale-type, trait, etc.).
IV. Indexes, catalogues and archives. The Aarne-Thompson
classification and its relevance to other regions of the World
(e.g., sub-Saharan African, Middle Eastern). The ATU (H.-J Uther)
Other systems of classification: the Human
Relations Area Files: G.P. Murdock's Outline of Culture Materials.
V. The genres and forms of the international folktale.
Comparing forms and structures.
Links to other categories of lore: proverb, riddle,
rituals, customs, narrative folk poetry (ballad, epic, cante-fable).
VI. Types of methods: Cross sectional, Longitudinal and Ex
post facto studies; Planned experiments; Observational studies;
Statistical comparative studies; Questionnaire and interview
studies; Participant observer studies; Case Studies.
VII. Theories, approaches (methods), and the interpretation
of data (mostly, narrative materials): "Historical Reconstructional;
the "Historic Geographic (Finnish) Method". The Anthropological-
Evolutionary; the Functional; "The Psychoanalytical and Neo
psychoanalytical"; Analytical Psychology/Jungian; Performance and
Contextual Approaches. Genre and `performance'.
VIII. Assessing validity of results of a comparative study.
Graduate standing, or approval of instructor
One term paper. 2-3 reports