Folklore | Healing & the Occult
F215 | 26996 | H. El-Shamy

Fulfills COLL Social & Historical

Concepts of health and illness in traditional cultures and societies
are the focus of this course. Folk practices and other traditional
rituals will be explored for the roles they play in the development
of the sense of wellness and morbidity. The course may be divided
into six major main segments:

I. The systemic relationships among individual, community, and

II. Concept of "self" and "Wants" (needs, motivations, etc.):
Affiliation Want Acquisitive Want; Prestige Want; Power Want;
Altruistic Want; Curiosity Want; and others depending on the

III. The impact of belief systems (sacred ideologies), social
structures (especially kinship dynamics), on the "health" of the
individual and the "group".

IV. Issues of gender, age, ethnicity, etc.

V. Traditional preventive and therapeutic measures (beliefs,
rituals, texts, etc.--typically referred to as: "folklore") will be
analyzed in terms of the above cited factors.
The roles of possession, exorcism, and the re-organization of the
social system.

VI. Some relevant aspects of "scientific" treatments in mental
institutions compared to folk healing practices.

Exams: Two: midterm and final (take home and objective)
Term paper: One