Folklore | World Arts & Cultures
F121 | 13182 | S. Stuempfle

Fulfills COLL Social & Historical

This course will explore traditional arts in a variety of cultural
contexts around the world. We will seek to understand the myriad
ways in which the arts are fundamental to human existence and are
central vehicles for social integration, criticism, and change. Our
focus will be the dynamics of creative expression in religious
rituals, seasonal festivals, and traditional dramas, such as
Nigerian Egungun celebrations, English mummers’ plays, Diwali and
Holi festivals in India, Cuban Santería and Haitian Vodou rituals,
Carnival in Trinidad and Brazil, Native Canadian potlatch
ceremonies, the Mexican Day of the Dead, and American Halloween.
These types of customary collective performance all involve the
synthesis of various material/visual, verbal, musical, and
choreographic art forms. Our objective will be to describe the
stylistic characteristics of these forms and to examine how they
work together to communicate cultural meanings and affect

By studying art forms in specific cultural settings and by comparing
different forms and settings, we will develop a discussion about
some of the basic goals of traditional arts, including the play of
the imagination, the construction of worldviews and values, the
validation of social orders, and the expression of social
differences and conflicts. Among the related topics that we will
consider are the roles of artists and patrons; relationships between
artistic innovation and social change; the geographic dissemination
of art forms through diffusion, migration, and the mass media; and
the promotion of art forms as symbols of ethnic/national identities
and as valuable commodities in global markets.