Folklore | MIDDLE EASTERN & ARAB MYTHOLOGY
F307 | 2233 | H. El-Shamy
Meets with F617. 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. 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, etc.); the proverb and the
riddle; folk poetry and narrative poetry; folk healing rituals, etc.
may treat any Middle Eastern group, or emphasize other facets of
may not receive sufficient coverage in class presentations).
IV. 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. 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).
Other materials: Handouts: "The outline of culture," "Culture Areas of the
Middle east," "TEXTS" etc.
Examinations: 2 exams--(Take home)
Paper: One term paper.
*Work with Arabic texts (classic or dialectical) can be arranged on
individual bases for students interested in the language aspect of the data
Fulfills a COAS Arts and Humanities, Traditions and Ideas distribution
requirement and is on List A of the COAS Culture Studies requirement.