Folklore | Folklore in Video & Film
F205 | 7202 | J. Johnson


Fulfills COLL Arts & Humanities, TFR

William Thoms conceived the term Folk Lore in 1846 to name the new
discipline centered around the study of tradition. Since the advent
of modern media and the World Wide Web, a more standardizing
influence has evolved upon folk belief and other kinds of folklore.
The new and related discipline of Popular Culture was developed to
analyze the standardizing effects on these forms. The difference
between folklore and popular culture is sometimes very difficult to
determine, if such a distinction can really be made at all. Topics
that interest scholars both in folklore and popular culture now
appear regularly on film and video. This course will deal with a
number of issues of folk belief and worldview reinforced, debated,
propagated, and spread by film, video, the web, cinema, television,
VCR, and DVD players in modern America. Moreover, the course will
explore ways of critically viewing and examining folklore and
popular culture in video and film. In spite of the powerful
influence of science on contemporary worldview, many people still
cling to beliefs others consider illogical and unreasonable. Tools
for critical thinking will be explored in readings and discussions.
A major goal of this class will be to assist students to develop
skills for thinking critically about a wide variety of folk belief
common in our times.

As this course has progressed from one semester to the next,
students themselves have chosen over half the topics potentially
covered in the course. From this list, students choose 10 topics to
be thoroughly investigated during the semester in both videos and
class debates.

Those topics include:

AIDS Conspiracy Theories
Alien Abductions
Ark of the Covenant
Atlantis
Bermuda Triangle
Bigfoot
Chupacabra
Crop Circles
Doomsday Prophecies
Exorcism
Garden of Eden
Ghosts
Holy Grail (cup)
Holy Grail (Da Vinci Code)
Human Cloning
JFK Assassination Conspiracy Theories
Jack the Ripper
Lincoln Assassination Conspiracy Theories
Loch Ness (and other Lake Monsters)
Lost Tribes of Israel
Martin Luther King Assassination Conspiracy Theories
Marilyn Monroe Assassination Conspiracy Theories
Moon Landing Hoax Conspiracy Theories
Near Death Experience
9/11 Conspiracy Theories
Nostradamus Prophesies
Philadelphia Experiment
Princess Diana Assassination Conspiracy Theories
Psychics
Roswell UFO Crash
Search for Holy Relics
Search for Noah’s Ark
Shroud of Turin
Spontaneous Human Combustion
Stigmata
UFOs
Yeti (Abominable Snowmen)

If the Truth is out there, perhaps you will find it in this course.