Folklore | Folklore in the United States
F131 | 13322 | J. Wolf

Fulfills COLL Arts & Humanities

What does it mean to be American? For many years and even still for
many people, the answer lies in folklore – that storehouse of
knowledge unique to “folk” in the United States. But just what is
that knowledge and who are these U.S. folk anyway? In this class, we
will take a look at the way folklore scholars have answered these
questions in the past and continue to grapple with them today. We
will examine a broad range of U.S. expressive culture, from “ugly
jugs” to festivals for the dead, and discuss how these expressions
relate to who we are regionally and ethnically. We will also explore
how people re-contextualize specific community-based expressions
like work songs to fit into wider movements like the folk music
revival. Students will engage many of these ideas on a deeper level
by crafting their own folklore project using the fieldwork
techniques taught in class. The goal of the class is not only to
provide students with a limited survey of U.S. folklore materials
but also to have them understand how folklore plays a role in their
daily lives here in the United States.