Skip to main content
Indiana University Bloomington

HomeFolklore InstituteEthnomusicology Institute

Spring 2014 Graduate Course Offerings

F517 History of Folklore Study
Instructor: Greg Schrempp
Tuesday 4:00P-6:30P
Location: 510 N Fess Ave
Course # 27228

This will be a course in the intellectual history of the study of folklore. The goal will be to contextualize folkloristic concerns within the major theoretical currents that have shaped the social sciences and humanities broadly in the nineteenth, twentieth, and early twenty-first centuries (including social evolutionism, diffusionism, psychoanalysis, structuralism, formalism, performance theory, and postmodernism). The readings will be classic works that reflect such currents. We will approach the readings both in terms of the intellectual assumptions belonging to milieux in which they arose, and with an eye towards determining what aspects of them might be brought forward and made useful to our present-day endeavors.
 The reading load will be heavy. Students will make at least one oral presentation on a course reading, and will write two analytical essays (selected from assigned topics) focusing on course readings.


F523 Fieldwork in Folklore
Instructor: Pravina Shukla
Monday 1:15P-3:45P
Location: Ballantine Hall 018
Course # 22021

In this class, students will learn about fieldwork by doing it, as well as reading about it. We will read an ethnographic work, and discuss the methodology employed by the author. We will read how-to fieldwork manuals. But we will also do many small fieldwork projects, getting comfortable with the questions that haunt all novice fieldworkers: how do I contact people? What do I say to them? When do I take out my tape recorder and camera? How do I catalog my information?
Students in the class are required to engage in the main techniques of fieldwork: observation, documentation using a notebook, a camera, and an audio recorder, interviewing, interpretation, and also the written presentations of fieldwork findings and oral presentations that employ technological aids. During the class meetings students discuss the theoretical, practical, and ethical/moral issues of fieldwork from the standpoint of their own experience. Students are required to abstract general principles and provide specific examples based on their own work, feedback, personal feelings, and reflections. In this way, it is my hope, they internalize many of the theories and practices of fieldwork, relegating them to second nature. When one encounters the complexity and confusion of a real field situation, one should not have to think about fieldwork, but find it possible to act quickly and productively. Students will learn self-confidence, and develop a knowledge that will enable them to conduct research on their own.


F523 Fieldwork in Ethnomusicology
Instructor: David McDonald
Wednesday 4:00P-6:30P
Location: 501 N Park Ave
Course # 18144

This course is an in-depth introduction into the various theories and methods of ethnographic field research. Throughout the semester we will actively interrogate what it means to “do” ethnography, as both a specific type of qualitative research and (perhaps more appropriately) a final written product that results from such research endeavors.  Assigned readings for this course will introduce issues of ethnographic theory and methodology, research ethics, project design, writing and representation, and provide many examples of how field work has been historically conceptualized in the fields of ethnomusicology, anthropology, and folklore. However, the primary focus of this class will be the actual “doing” of ethnographic fieldwork.  Through various practical exercises and hands-on applied research activities, we will learn various methods of field research relevant to the students’ individual research interests (taking field notes, participant observation, interviewing techniques, mapping social spaces, and others techniques and issues as they emerge from collaborative inquiry). In addition to full participation in course lectures and discussions, students will be expected to complete several small-scale field exercises in preparation for a more in-depth ethnographic research project.  While open to graduate students in all fields interested in qualitative research methods, this course is a core course in the graduate ethnomusicology curriculum.  This section also fulfills one the core course requirements for Ph.D. minors in ethnomusicology and for School of Music cognates.


E529 Musical Cultures as Systems of Meaning
Instructor: Mellonee Burnim
Wednesday 1:00P-3:30P
Location: 501 N Park Ave
Course # 30301

This course is designed to introduce students of ethnomusicology and related fields of study to a range of ideologies, processes, and patterns that define distinct musical cultures across the globe. Students will develop an understanding of the concept of music as culture by exploring historical and contemporary issues in cross-cultural perspective. Using audio and video examples as a lens for critically engaging texts, students will gain familiarity and understanding of musical genres and instruments and their associated aesthetic and political values.  Musical systems covered in the course reflect the expertise of the ethnomusicology institute faculty.

F540 Theories of Material Culture
Instructor: Jason Jackson
Friday 9:30A-12:00P
Location: Mathers Museum Room 110
Course # 30351

Fulfills Form or Theory

Material culture—the stuff of human existence—is again at the center of many key debates and discussions in the humanities and human sciences. Centered on the concerns of folklorists and ethnomusicologists, but open to students across the humanities and social sciences, this course will examine key theoretical perspectives used in the study of material culture. While some attention will be given to literatures and topics grounded in historical and archaeological methods, the course’s methodological center of gravity will be ethnographic and ethnological. We will read and critically examine a combination of classic and contemporary studies and will explore an array of theoretical perspectives not only on material culture per se, but also on the ways that social and cultural life are, according to various perspectives, reflected in, mediated by, fashioned through, recast via, or contested around, things and peoples’ relations with things. We will begin and conclude by considering the roots and fruits of the distinctive tradition of material culture studies associated with the Indiana University Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology, but we will place our school of material culture studies, which is dominant in American folklore studies at-large, into dialogue with important older perspectives and with other contemporary ones that are increasingly influential in the wider field of material culture studies today.

F609 Ghanaian Music, Drum, and Dance
Instructor: Bernard Woma
Monday 7:00P-9:30P
Location: 800 N Indiana Ave
Course # 25237

Fulfills Area

Meets with Folk-F301. Meets at 800 N. Indiana Ave. Class will require a $50 course fee.
This course is an introduction to African performing arts. Students will be introduced to practical African drumming and dancing as well as learn the performance aspects of these musical genres. The class material will focus mainly on Ghanaian drumming, gyil (xylophone music) and some musical traditions of West Africa. With emphasis on hands-on experience in drumming, singing and dancing, students will also learn the history and social contexts in which these performance genres are organized. There will be a short lecture/discussion at the end of each session on the musical traditions covered in class. Students will be evaluated on how actively they participate in class and their understanding of the performance aspects of the various genres. There will be a performance at the end of the semester and students are required to be part of the performance. Previous music and dance experience is welcome but not required. All materials will be taught orally and through demonstrations.


F635 Irish Music and Culture
Instructor: David McDonald
Monday/Wednesday 9:30A-10:45A
Location: Cedar Hall C102
Course # 27246

Fulfills Area

Above class meets with Folk-F312. This course introduces students to the history of Irish music and culture through a combination of lectures, discussions, and applied fieldworking activities.  Specifically, this course offers an introduction to the vocal and instrumental traditions of Irish music in the context of the Irish diaspora and other Celtic traditions.  Intended for undergraduate and graduate students in music, ethnomusicology, anthropology, area studies, and folklore this course brings together case studies on Irish music and culture from a wide variety of historical, analytical, and ethnographic sources.  Included in this course will be aspects of Irish culture and history, politics, poetry, dance, and storytelling.  Based on course readings, lectures, films, and live music performances/demonstrations students will trace the development of Irish music and dance from indigenous rural contexts to the international stage, investigating issues of religion, politics, nationalism, and globalization.

F638 South American Performance & Culture: Protest Music
Instructor: Javier León
Wednesday 7:00P-9:30P
Location: 800 N Indiana Ave
Course # 22572

Fulfills Area or Form

This performance-based course introduces students to a variety of folk and popular music traditions associated with social and protest movements the South American region.  The course will cover rural and urban musics from Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Peru, Bolivia and Uruguay and in the process learn about the important role that music and musicians have had in building community, provide social commentary, and challenge authoritarian rule.  The course will be a combination of live performance workshop, classroom lectures, take-home reading and writing assignments, and an end of the semester group research project designed to about the rich history and social importance of protest music in South America.  Emphasis will also be given to the development of aural skills, learning the repertoire by ear, and the use of local performance practice techniques.  Note: Because of the performance component in this class, students are expected to have some basic musical performance skills.  Interested students must contact Prof. León (jfleon@indiana.edu) and make an appointment to have their musical skill assessed before they are given permission to enroll in the class.

F638 Constructing Tradition
Instructor: John McDowell
Monday 4:00P-6:30P
Location: 501 N Park Ave
Course # 30359

Fulfills Area or Theory

This course explores the implications of the now widely accepted proposition that “tradition” is a process rather than an object. Hence, instead of taking traditions as natural or given, we explore the dynamics of traditionalization, the process of making claims on past practices to suit current and anticipated purposes. The plan is to review the robust literature on this topic, and then to examine a particularly productive thread, tied to the core concept of folklorization, a term that appears to have originated in Latin America and that has gained some currency of late, especially among anthropologists and ethnomusicologists working in Latin American and other world settings. Like the term originating in European folklore studies, folklorism, folklorization draws our attention to processes that extract local traditions from their contexts of origin and reposition them as exemplars of larger concerns and ideologies. Much of the literature on traditionalization and on folklorization tends to view these processes as necessarily corruptive. In this seminar, we enter these zones where tradition is constructed with an open mind regarding the impact of these activities, and indeed, with a disposition to explore the construction of tradition in all of its multiple effects.

F722 Senses of Place: Production & Performance
Instructor: Sue Tuohy
Tuesday 1:00P-3:30P
Location: 501 N Park Ave
Course # 26200

Fulfills Theory

This seminar course examines approaches to the study of place in ethnomusicology, folklore, and related fields.  It focuses on theories and methods designed to help us understand how places and senses of place are produced, exhibited, inscribed, performed, and contested, particularly in relation to expressive culture and the arts.  As a central concept in our disciplines, place occupies an expansive space and has been mapped on to a number of other key concepts. Thus, it provides a center from which to examine diverse issues and topics.  Areas of focus for the class will include:

* Relations between place, social formations, and identities (national, local, virtual; scenes; etc.)
* Theories of soundscapes, landscapes, borderlands and boundaries
* Conceptual, material, and experiential dimensions of place
* The cultural organization and production of place
* Attachments to and expressions of place through narratives, music, images, and objects
* Place-making and performance through tourism, performing arts, media, and memory and heritage projects.

Explicitly interdisciplinary, among the goals of the course are to learn about what our colleagues in other fields have to offer to us in our understanding of place as well as to consider strategies for framing our research and contributions to scholars working in other fields.

In the third part of the semester, much of the class work primarily will be directed toward each student’s individual research interests. Students will have to explore resources related to an area or locale, research question, or topic of particular interest through an annotated bibliography, a short literature review, a proposal, presentation, and substantive research paper.

This courses fulfills Form and Theory requirements (in the Folklore curriculum); it counts as a required course for the Social and Cultural Theory track (in the Ethnomusicology curriculum).

F755 Ethnography of Belief
Instructor: Diane Goldstein
Thursday 12:30P-3:00P
Location: 501 N Park Ave
Course #

Fulfills Theory or Form

Ethnography is the description of (cultural) behaviour preparatory to analysis and interpretation, although description and interpretation are never really separated despite the scientific ideal.  Since belief is primarily a cognitive behaviour, it presents interesting and special problems for the ethnographer.  The ethnography of belief (as an ethnography of an activity which is not directly observable) is particularly dependent on inference and presents interesting difficulties in the separation of observation and interpretation.

This course will sample, critique and practice approaches to the ethnography of systems of belief and will look closely at the resulting descriptions.  The role of personal experience and tradition in the development and maintenance of such systems of belief will be emphasized.  Belief systems will be considered in terms of their descriptive methodologies, internal logic and methods of acquiring and evaluating evidence, and their means of transmitting explanations.  The course will be divided into three areas of belief: the supernatural, folk religion and folklore and health. 

F804 Folklore & Disaster
Instructor: Kate Parker Horigan
Thursday 9:30A-12:00P
Location: 501 N Park Ave
Course # 30363

Fulfills Form or Theory

We are perhaps too familiar with what happens when disaster strikes—with its images of flooding, fires, nuclear explosions, or terrorist attacks—but what happens next? How do individuals react, how do cities recover, how do neighborhoods resume a sense of normalcy? Are communities ripped apart, as Kai Erikson suggests in A New Species of Trouble, or are bonds stronger than ever, as proposed by Rebecca Solnit in A Paradise Built in Hell? This course will examine intersections of folklore and disaster, considering a wide range of genres and contexts, such as children’s games after Chernobyl, joke cycles following the explosion of the Challenger shuttle, spontaneous shrines in post-9/11 New York, and legends in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. As we engage with relevant scholarship and a series of rich case studies, we will examine vernacular responses to disaster, as well as the potential of ethnographic approaches not only to analyze disaster, but to change the way we respond to it.