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Spring 2016 Graduate Course Offerings

Folk-F512 Vernacular Forms and Expressive Genres
Instructor: John McDowell
M 4:45-7:15pm
Location: 501 N Park Ave
Course # 30890

Fulfills: Form

Folkloristics is built on the foundation of genre, and although this grounding is perhaps not as solid as it once was, genre remains an immensely useful, even necessary, conceptual framework in the study of expressive behavior and expressive culture, as people continue to organize their social conduct around genres and folklorists continue to organize their studies in this fashion.

This seminar takes a close look at the scholarly literature on a set of folklore genres drawn from verbal, musical, material, kinetic, and conceptual domains, in an effort to adduce the significant insights that have arisen, as well as the persisting problems that remain, in the focus on genre. We will also inspect the current critique of genre in light of such factors as indeterminacy, intertextuality, and embeddedness – how do factors like these invite a reconfiguration of our core concept?

The method of the seminar features a combination of reading about each of our selected genres and encountering each of them directly through ethnographic adventures.

Folk-F517 History of Folklore Study
Instructor: Greg Schrempp
T 4:00-6:30pm
Location: 501 N Park Ave
Course # 12172

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.

Folk-F523 Fieldwork in Ethnomusicology
Instructor: Rebecca Dirksen
T 1:00-3:30 pm
Location: 501 N Park Ave
Course # 4828

This course offers an in-depth introduction to ethnographic field research, providing a foundation in theory and methodology while building a repertoire of practical approaches to the work frequently undertaken by ethnomusicologists and music scholars. We will consider what it means to “do” ethnography, both as a specific type of qualitative data collection and as a final written/documented product that comes from such research endeavors. Assigned readings will cover theory, methodology, and applied/engaged and activist ethnomusicological perspectives besides issues pertaining to project design, data collection, positionality and reflexivity, and writing and representation. Our practice over the semester will include meeting institutional requirements (IRBs, etc.), addressing funding concerns, taking field notes, handling audio-visual recording equipment, developing interviewing techniques, building rapport, becoming effective participant observers, navigating archives, mapping social spaces, and cultivating collaborative and sustainable relationships with our partners in the field. Crucially, we will discuss ethics, safety, health, gender/orientation/religious/racial/etc. tensions, best tech practices while “on the go,” and—critically—how to deal with the challenges and obstacles that inevitably come up throughout the research process. We will review case studies that demonstrate how fieldwork has been conceptualized by ethnomusicologists, anthropologists, and folklorists, and come to our own early-career conclusions about what needs to happen in our own projects with regard to research matters. Full participation in course lectures and discussions is expected, and students will complete several smaller field exercises in preparation for a more in-depth ethnographic study that will lead toward each student’s dissertation project. Open to graduate students in all fields, F523 Fieldwork in Ethnomusicology is a core course in the graduate ethnomusicology curriculum. This section also fulfills a core course requirement for PhD minors in ethnomusicology and for School of Music cognates.

Folk-F540 Theories of Material Culture
Instructor: Jason Jackson
F 9:30am-12:00pm
Location: Mathers Museum M2 110
Course # 31329
Fulfills: Form

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.

Folk-F600 Cultural Diversity in China
Instructor: Sue Tuohy
TR 9:30-10:45am
Location: Cedar Hall C116
Course # 14771
Fulfills: Area or Theory

Meets with Folk-F305. In spite of media reports telling us that “Chinese culture is like this” and “Chinese people or do think that”, both China and Chinese are diverse. Emphasizing the importance of recognizing cultural and human diversity in contemporary China, the course will explore the multiple meanings of China and Chineseness. We will explore diverse forms of difference in China today—from regional, ethnic, gender, generational and regional, to rural and urban. Many class sessions will emphasize artistic and expressive forms (such as music and folklore, film and television, tourism and cultural heritage).

Among the broad questions to be addressed are: What is China? Who are Chinese? What is Chinese culture (and who says)? This diversity will be discussed in relation to Chinese history and interactions beyond the borders of China as well as contemporary politics and economics. Graded components will include class preparation and participation, written assignments, quizzes, and a midterm and/or final exam.

The graduate section of the class will require additional assignments; the type and focus of this additional work will be determined after consultation with the graduate students in the course. There also will be at least a few additional meetings for the graduate section.

This course is cross-listed in EALC (and counts toward the EALC major).

Folk-E698 African American Religious Music
Instructor: Mellonee Burnim
W 2:30-5:00pm
Location: Swain East 009
Course # 30939
Fulfills: Area

Using both a socio-cultural and a historical perspective, this course explores the major forms of African American religious music indigenous to the United States, (Negro Spirituals and gospel music), as well as those Euro-American musical expressions that have emerged as integral parts of the African American worship experience.  Students are engaged in multi-layered experiences of history, aesthetics and ethnography through the frequent utilization of audio and video recordings, as well as participant observation in African American churches.  The course format is both diachronic and synchronic, so designed to assist students in recognizing relationships between different forms of African American musical expression, despite their differing time frames and contexts of origin.

Burnim, Mellonee and Portia Maultsby, ed.  African American Music:  An Introduction.  New York: Routledge, 2015, 2nd Edition.
Reagon, Bernice, ed.  We’ll Understand It Better By and By: Pioneering African American Gospel Composers.  Washington & London:  Smithsonian Institution Press, 1992.
Southern, Eileen, ed.  Readings in Black American Music.  New York:  Norton, 1997.
The African American Heritage Hymnal.  Chicago:  GIA, 2001.
Allen, William Francis, et. al.  Slave Songs of the United States.  Bedford, Mass.:  Applewood, 1867 (reprint). 

Wade in the Water.  Smithsonian/Folkways & National Public Radio, 1994. (Four vol. CD set)

Folk-F740 Ethnomusicology & the Post Colonial
Meets 2nd 8 Weeks
Instructor: Ruth Stone
MW 8:45-11:00am
Location: 501 N Park Ave
Course # 31330

This seminar in intellectual history seeks to sharpen the ear for and develop the understanding of the voices that have contributed to the study of music making around the world.  The voices to be considered originate from ethnomusicologists, performers, foreigners, local residents, blacks, whites, Native Americans, Latino,  women, men,  insiders, outsiders, and many more individuals.  The dialogues that shape the performance of sound and scholarship of that performance will become the focus of our discourse as we seek to understand the nature of the competing ideas, the venues for those discussions, and the kinds of values and power dimensions that informed the interchange.

A major component of the course will be  original research of archival materials in the Archives of Traditional Music, the Archives of African American Music and Culture, the Lilly Library, or another major repository.  Students will focus on a significant interchange between at least two individuals who created this history.  They will then make presentations of the themes from this exchange to the seminar.  Research can focus on correspondence, field notes, photographs, and recordings.  The final form of the research will result in a paper that will be due near the end of the term.  Each student will also be required to keep a journal commenting on readings, the progress on the original research, and emerging ideas.

Folk-F740 Tradition
Instructor: Ray Cashman
W 2:30-5:00pm
Location: 501 N Park Ave
Course # 31331

The preoccupation with tradition (understood as shared cultural inheritance, passed on from one generation to the next, insuring continuity with the past, bolstering collective identity in the present, providing models for living in the future) began in reaction to—and indeed helped constitute—modernity.  In this class, we will examine what is at stake in various conceptions of tradition for people in both academic and nonacademic spheres.  We will concentrate, however, on the tradition of talking about tradition within folklore studies, once characterized as “the science of tradition” (Edwin Sidney Hartwell, 1899).  Tracing the historical foundations of the concept will illuminate contemporary understandings and may suggest room for maneuver in future studies of tradition.

Appreciating tradition both as handed down materials and as creative process, we will review perspectives on: how tradition unfolds in a productive tension between conservation and innovation; how individual agency plays a central role in the instantiation and development of tradition; how traditions may be “invented,” preserved, conserved, commodified, and/or co-opted by various parties to various ends over time. 

Readings include both theoretical texts and ethnographic case studies.  The first half of the course lays out a range of core issues in thinking about tradition, mostly through clusters of articles and chapters.  The second half revolves around book-length studies that echo, clarify, and extend issues discussed in the first half.  

Folk-F805 Laboratory in Public Folklore
Instructor: Jon Kay
R 11:30am-2:00pm
Location: Mathers Museum of World Cultures
Course # 31062

Since folklorists and ethnomusicologists often find employment in arts agencies, museums, and other nonprofits, this hands-on laboratory aims to prepare students for work in the public sector. The course covers the research, design, creation, presentation, and assessment of public folklore projects. This learning laboratory provides students with professional experience in the public sector and a critical perspective on the theories, methods, and models employed in this field. In addition to experiential learning activities, the course includes weekly class meetings to review relevant readings and to discuss the progress of students’ projects. This semester’s laboratory will focus on the production of the traveling exhibit Indiana Folk Art: 200 Years of Tradition and Innovation.  In addition, students will create an exhibition catalog and produce an event marking the premier of this bicentennial exhibit.