Skip to main content
Indiana University Bloomington

HomeFolklore InstituteEthnomusicology Institute

Fall 2017 Undergraduate Course Offerings

Folk-F101 Introduction to Folklore
Instructor: Brandon Barker
MW 11:15am-12:05pm +discussion section
Course # 2269

Lecture Location: Ballantine 013

Folklore is alive. It inspires the choices we make every day: how we communicate, what foods we eat, what games we play, what stories we tell, how we interpret the world around us. Folklore reflects our values, our prejudices, our fears, and our desires. The practices, beliefs, and objects that constitute folklore are so intrinsic to our daily lives that they are often overlooked in other disciplines that study human culture, but every culture has folklore and we are all part of the folk. In this course we will consider the role folklore plays in the lives of people around the world. 

Folk-F111 World Music & Culture
Instructor: Jennie Gubner

TR 11:15-12:05pm +discussion section
CASE A&H, GCC; GenEd A&H, World Cultures
Course # 2275

Location: Fine Arts 015

This course is designed to provide students with the tools to engage various forms of musical expression as social practice across diverse locations, media, and societies. A primary goal is to problematize “world music” as a homogenous category by considering its meaning in social, economic, political and creative spheres of music as social life. We will re-consider the ways in which this category can incorporate numerous musical experiences so as not to regulate such practices to a realm for “the other” or “foreign.” This course will explore the work of key figures within ethnomusicology and the manner with which they analyze music in the social lives of the people with which they work. Throughout the semester, students are expected to critically think about the participatory, presentational, and political components of music making; to listen to sonic elements that distinguish musical genres from one another; to articulate thoughtfully the ways in which musical activities construct identity; and to write persuasively about the role of music in social life.

Folk-F131 Folklore in the United States
Instructor: Pravina Shukla
MW 12:20-1:10pm +discussion section
Course # 8582

Lecture Location: Myers Hall 130

People from all over the world call the United States home. Some arrived centuries ago, others arrived a few years ago. Along with ambition and family, all of them bring with them their expressive culture. This class looks at contemporary cultural expressions in the United States by focusing on folklore, defined as creativity in everyday life. Through lectures, videos, slides, audio recordings and a few guest lectures, we explore folklore in the U.S. now, for example, by studying urban legends, personal narratives, tattoos, and car art. We understand the present by looking at the past, seeing European, African, Native American, and Asian influences on the architecture, folktales, food, and body art of the United States.

Folk-F141 Urban Legend
Instructor: Robert Dobler
MW 10:10-11:00am +discussion section
Course # 11365

Lecture Location: Jordan Hall A100

Urban legends are folk narratives set in contemporary time and space that reflect the hopes, dreams, fears, and anxieties of the communities through which they circulate. They are frightening, grotesque, and embarrassing; they can also be inspiring, shocking, and hilarious, ranging from tales of poodles in microwaves, fried rodents, embarrassing sexual encounters, and ghostly hitchhikers to warnings of gang initiations, murderous maniacs, shadowy government agencies, and conspiracies against specific segments of the population.

More than simply reflect these community values, urban legends often create spaces for discourse and the negotiation of social, cultural, and historical difference among diverse groups of people living in modern pluralistic societies like the United States. Through an exposure to and examination of a wide variety of contemporary legends, students will gain a deeper understanding of the ways in which urban legends function to unify, divide, and ultimately negotiate the various and different communities in the United States in terms of history, location, heritage, gender, race, class, and religion.

Folk-E151 Global Pop Music
Instructor: Alisha Lola Jones
MW 1:25-2:15pm +discussion section
CASE A&H, GCC; GenEd A&H, World Cultures
Course # 12880

Lecture Location: Swain West 007

Go-go music in Washington, DC. Isicathamiya in South Africa. Reggaeton in Panama. Samoan Hip Hip in Los Angeles, CA and New York, NY. Capoeira in Brazil. Musicians around the world have created a rich and fascinating array of popular styles that circulate African-derived cultural products and practices. What do these musics sound like, and why? How might we analyze popular musics in order to better understand musicians’ politics, beliefs, and creative processes? What roles do these musical styles play in movements for social change? With an emphasis on musics of the African diaspora, this course is designed thematically to provide students with the tools to engage various forms of popular musical expression as social practice across diverse locations, media, and societies. Throughout the semester, students are expected to critically think about the participatory and presentational components of music making; to listen to sonic elements that distinguish musical genres from one another; to articulate thoughtfully the ways in which musical activities construct identity; and to write persuasively about the role of pop musics in social life.

Folk-F210 Myth, Legend & Popular Science
Instructor: Greg Schrempp
MW 4:00-5:15pm
Course # 30752

Location: Cedar Hall C102

Myths are colorful stories that tell about the origins of the cosmos and about the deeds of larger-than-life characters. Myths are often set in ancient times or said to be "timeless." Legends tell of more recent and/or contemporary events that are memorable or startling and carry practical warnings or lessons. While plausible, legends often are not wholeheartedly believed. Popular science is a contemporary literary genre in which qualified scientists explain recent findings (e.g., from astronomy, cognitive science, or genetics) in terms that are broadly accessible and appealing. Myth, legend, and popular science are all saturated with moral concerns, including the origin of evil, the nature of the good, the ways in which we can make ourselves and our society more altruistic, and the question of whether aspects of our nature and destiny lie beyond our control. In this course we will compare these three genres, asking about the ways in which they converge and diverge, and about the features of each that might lead us to believe or discount their claims. The goal of the course is to gain understanding of these genres and, through them, a critical awareness of forms of persuasion and moral reasoning that confront us every day.

Folk-F215 Heath & Morbidity in Traditional Cultures
Instructor: Diane Goldstein
TR 2:30-3:45pm
Course # 30751

Location: Ballantine Hall 208

This course will investigate the field of folklore and health systems from an ethnographic perspective.  The focus will be on cross-cultural issues in health care including: lay health belief and biomedical belief models; negotiation and trans-cultural health care; applications and systems theory; contrasting definitions of what constitutes health, illness, reportable symptoms and incapacity; notion of disease processes and etiology; religious and moral convictions that influence responses to illness and treatment; and expectations of the sick role and care giver role; all presented through the discussion of specific traditional medical practices commonly found in Western society. 

Folk-F252 Folklore & the Internet
Instructor: Robby Dobler
MW 11:15am-12:30pm
Course # 8929

Location: Ballantine Hall 208

Folklore has always been concerned with the transmission of traditional beliefs and behaviors among groups of people across space and through time. Technological innovations have consistently created opportunities to expand the study of folklore into new contexts as conventional notions of both the "folk" and "lore" have shifted and grown to accommodate changing media technologies. This course will explore the folklore of the internet, examining what it means to be part of an online community, how the web shapes the transmission of expressive culture, and the ethics of conducting fieldwork among a virtual folk. Our explorations will include internet memes and the phenomenon of going viral; YouTube challenges; the creepypasta genre; humor and folk speech on the web; fan culture and community; and the folk uses of social networking sites like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Folk-F252 Music and Memory: Studying Music & Alzheimer’s Through Film
Instructor: Jennie Gubner
TR 2:30-3:45pm
CASE A&H; GenEd A&H; Service Learning Course
Course # 12877

Location: Classroom Office Building Room 102

In this interdisciplinary, hands-on course, we will explore the relationship between music, memory, and the brain through fieldwork, filmmaking, and service work in the local Bloomington community. As a class, we will create personalized iPod playlists for individuals suffering from dementia and Alzheimers, working directly with individuals and their families to find songs that target positive memories from their life stories. In order to raise awareness about the positive effects music can have as an alternative form of therapy, we will produce short filmed ethnographies of these encounters, learning basic techniques of filming and editing along the way. Through fieldwork, filmmaking, and seminar style in-class discussion, students will learn to think critically about the growing fields of medical ethnomusicology, applied research, and digital and multimodal approaches to studying and documenting culture. 

Folk-F253 Foodways in America
Instructor: Brandon Barker
MW 1:00-2:15pm
Course # 10164

Location: Ballantine Hall 242

Food expresses culture. Any Hoosier kitchen serves a pork tenderloin sandwich. Southern Creoles pride themselves on how many crawfish tails they can peel in under a minute; Texan chili masters can handle any amount of spicy heat; everyone knows the “best” crabcakes come from Maryland, and you haven’t even tried BBQ unless you’ve been to Memphis, TN!

Foodways refers to the folkloristic study of food. From baked turkey on Thanksgiving and hard-boiled eggs on Easter to Cajun Gumbo on Mardi Gras and wrapped Tamales on Christmas Eve, American Foodways are as ubiquitous as they are diverse. This course attends to both the widespread foodways associated with American festivities like birthdays, the 4th of July, and baseball and geographically and culturally specific foodways like a mess of Appalachian mustard greens or the choice between Chicago- or New York-style pizza. Taken as a whole, foodways in the United States reflect the Nation’s complicated mixture of simultaneously separate and intertwined aesthetic and cultural traditions. 

Folk-F253 Mythology and Culture
Instructor: Greg Schrempp
T 4:00-6:30pm
Course # 30741

Location: Classroom Office Building 203

Hutton Honors, Folklore Majors & Minors. Other students who are interested, please contact for possible authorization.

The term “mythology” carries a number of meanings, including ancient stories associated with rituals, potent symbols, and images with an uncanny power to stick in our minds and shape our worldviews.  In many usages, “mythology” also carries the connotation of the temporally, spatially, and/or geographically distant.  In this course, we will look at examples of such “distant” mythologies, including stories, rituals, and symbols embraced by the ancient Greeks, Pacific Islanders, and Native Americans (who, though spatially proximate, are regarded by many Americans as culturally distant).

Some scholars, however, think that it is too confining, if not prejudicial, to limit the concept of “myth” to such distant societies and cultures.  In the second part of the course, we will consider the idea that mythology is to be found in many forms of modern mass-culture, such as film, television, advertising, and popular iconography.  Throughout, we will consider the ways in which mythology intersects with culture more broadly and the ways it functions within society.

Anthropologists Bronislaw Malinowski’s “Myth in Primitive Psychology” will be the focal work for the first half of the course; literary and culture critic Roland Barthes’ “Mythologies” for the second.
Readings will be supplemented with visual materials.  The workload for this class will be average.  Grades will be based on participation, an in-class presentation, two short essays, and a concluding essay to be written during the final exam period.

Folk-E295 Survey of Hip Hop
Instructor: Fernando Orejuela
MW 2:30-3:45pm
Course # 6492

ABOVE CLASS is taught in real time as a web-conferencing course only.

Above class MEETS IN A VIRTUAL CLASSROOM ON THE INTERNET FOR LECTURE 2 TIMES PER WEEK. The exams will be online using EXAMITY, an online proctoring APP.  If you are unable to use the EXAMITY APP we will schedule a campus exam site for the Midterm and Final Exams. The alternative face-to-face Midterm is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 30, 1-3pm. Location TBA. The Final Exam TBA.

Above class students must be enrolled at IUB in order to add this course. Course materials will be available on Canvas the day before our first meeting.

This course examines rap music and hip hop culture as artistic and sociological phenomena with emphasis on historical, cultural, economic, and political contexts. Discussions will include the co-existence of various hip hop styles, their appropriation by the music industry, and controversies resulting from the exploitation of hip hop music and culture as a commodity for national and global consumption.

Fernando Orejuela’s Rap and Hip Hop Culture (2015) will be our main textbook and articles will be made available to you in Canvas throughout the semester.

NOTE 1:  Students should avoid Safari, which is not a browser supported by IU. I recommend Chrome or Firefox for the virtual classroom and Canvas.

Folk-F305 Cultural Diversity in China
Instructor: Sue Tuohy
TR 1:00-2:15pm
Course # 12887

Location: Classroom Office Building 203

This is a designated course in the Fall 2017 Themester on “Diversity • Difference • Otherness.”

In spite of media reports telling us that “Chinese culture is like this” and “Chinese people do or think that”, both China and Chinese are diverse. Differences in regional and ethnic groups are pervasive topics of conversation among Chinese, have become the focus on tourism and cultural preservation, and often are celebrated through the rhetoric of multiculturalism. But difference and perceptions of otherness also have contributed to conflicts within China.

This course provides students with opportunities to learn about diverse groups, worldviews, and practices in contemporary--from regional, ethnic, gender, religious, generational, and linguistic to rural and urban. Many class sessions will emphasize artistic and expressive forms (such as music, folklore, film, festivals, food, and cultural heritage) and the roles they play in representing people and places in China. Among the broad questions to be addressed are: What is China? Who are Chinese? What is Chinese culture (and who says)? And how does an understanding of the factors that contribute to diversity and unity within China help us to understand processes through which identities and images of “otherness” are conceptualized, constructed, and portrayed?

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

Folk-F351 Folklore of the South
Instructor: Brandon Barker
MW 4:00-5:15pm

Course # 10359
Location: Woodburn Hall 002

The Blues? Grits and collard greens? A Texas two-step? Mardi Gras? Country music? Barbecue? Twangy accents? Key Lime Pie? Evangelicalism? The Mason-Dixon line? What makes the South southern? The South, nicknamed Dixieland, is frequently defined as the 11 states of the North American southeast—stretching from Maryland down to the Florida Keys and out to western Texas. This course surveys a range of folkloric traditions practiced in these southern states, including folk speech, festival celebrations, foodways, folk music, folk religion, and others. Considered together, the folk traditions from disparate geographic and cultural spaces of the broadly defined South present a rich, complex picture of Dixie that allows us to question our Southern assumptions.

Folk-F351 Monsters & the Monstrous
Instructor: Robby Dobler
MW 2:30-3:45pm

Course # 30755
Location: Classroom Office Building 203

Monsters blend the repellent with the alluring, the strange with the familiar; they simultaneously break and define the boundaries and categories of social existence, pushing us to consider the limits of what it means to be human. The study of monsters, and the label “monstrous”, can reveal human commonalities as well as cultural difference, illuminating conceptions of the natural and unnatural, the biological and technological, the living and the dead, as well as the human and the beastly. This course will explore various imaginings of the monstrous as it appears in folklore and popular culture, from creatures of myth and legend to the exhibition of “freaks” in turn-of-the-century sideshows. We will discuss vampires, zombies, human/beast hybrids, Bigfoot, lake monsters, sea serpents, internet horrors, and various other local and global monsters, to gain insight into their meaningful interactions with us, both imagined and encountered.

Folk-F351 Making American Roots Music
Instructor: Jennie Gubner
W 6:00-8:30pm

Course # 33207
Location: Classroom Office Building 203

Do you sing or play a little fiddle, banjo, mandolin, guitar, bass, dulcimer, autoharp or other old-time or bluegrass instrument? In this performance seminar we will come together one evening a week to learn about these traditions while bringing them to life through our instruments and voices in an ensemble format. By reading biographies of artists, watching films, playing music, having discussions, and exploring archival materials, we will immerse ourselves in the people, places, sounds and cultural forces that have shaped the rich history of old-time, bluegrass, folk, and other types of American roots music. To be comfortable in this course you do not need to be an advanced player but should be able to play basic chords and/or melodies on your instrument of choice. Please contact the professor for any further inquiries. 

Folk-F356 Latino Folklore
Instructor: Eric Morales
MW 2:30-3:45pm
Course # 8794

Location: Ballantine Hall 205

Latinos are the largest minority group in the United States and are often referenced in media and politics as a single ethnic entity, but their diasporic communities are as culturally diverse as their countries of origin. With a rich history of traditions that span ancient spiritual practices and modern pop cultural phenomena, the study of Latino folklore in the United States offers an important opportunity to analyze the fluctuation and perception of ethnicity and identity in a modernizing world. This course will study how different cultural forms help express, negotiate, transform, and maintain Latino communities in the United States. The course will be centered on five main areas of inquiry: Literary Folklore, Material Culture, Music and Performance, Rituals and Festivals, and World View and Spirituality. Throughout the semester, we will problematize issues of migration, masculinity and femininity, sexuality, nationalism, and identity. Our discussions will be informed with perspectives provided principally from Folklore and Latino Studies but will be supplemented with material from Anthropology and Critical Race Theory.

Folk-F360 Indiana Folklore
Instructor: Jon Kay
TR 11:15am-12:30pm
Course # 12890

Location: Mathers Museum

This course explores the folklore and traditional arts of Indiana. We begin with a survey of the oral traditions of our state. From local legends and ghost stories to jokes and personal experience narratives, we probe how the stories reflect and shape their everyday lives of Hoosiers. Second, we study handmade objects and their makers in Indiana. From gravestones and quilts to buildings and musical instruments, artifacts provide a lens for understanding the identities and creative lives of people and the communities to which they belong. This course is specifically designed to familiarize students with the research methods and skills needed for studying vernacular culture in Indiana and beyond.

Folk-F364 Children's Folklore
Instructor: Fernando Orejuela
TR 1:00-2:15pm
CASE A&H; Service Learning Course
Course # 9629

Location: Swain West 103

This course will focus on the informal processes through which children negotiate childhood and as a means of understanding how children use folklore in their everyday lives to construct the status quo as well as resist it. This course requires that you do some fieldwork with children, emphasizing experience and service learning. Service-learning combines the service ethic of volunteerism with critical thinking skills and academic knowledge. Furthermore, students will have the opportunity to engage in children’s environments that are diverse in terms of economic and social status, race and ethnicity, and gender. The final paper will combine library research with the 10-week service-learning , fieldwork lab (about 2 hours/week) with our partners at the Boys and Girls Clubs of Crestmont and Ellettsville, Girls, Inc. of Bloomington, and Middle Way House (by permission only).

Folk-F401 Methods & Theories
Instructor: Fernando Orejuela
MW 11:15am-12:30pm
Course # 8003

Location: Classroom Office Building Room 272

FOLK majors and minors only. E-mail to obtain online authorization.

The purpose of this course is to introduce students to principle theories and methods in the two fields composing our department, Folklore and Ethnomusicology. Folklorists and ethnomusicologists study the meanings of expressive forms in the everyday lives of individuals and their roles in society. Our two fields share a common focus on forms of artistic performance and expressive culture. Our scholarship also demonstrates a shared interest in the study of people and their artistic productions. Our research aims to contribute to the understanding of social processes, artistic practices, and human creativity.

We will engage in discussions on the following: (1) examining the convergences and divergences of the two fields; (2) their histories and current research paradigms; (3) basic concepts such as community, tradition, genre, performance; (4) research methods; and (5) the issues associated with presenting/representing people in the public setting.

Required textbooks:
1. Bauman, Richard (ed.). 1992. Folklore, Cultural Performances, and Popular Entertainments: A Communications-Centered Handbook. New York: Oxford University Press.
2. Ruth Stone. 2007. Theory for Ethnomusicology. New York: Prentice Hall.

Folk-F497 Advanced Seminar
Instructor: Jason Jackson
TR 9:30-10:45am
CASE S&H; Intensive Writing
Course # 4441

Location: Mathers Museum

Folk Majors only. Authorization is required for this course-contact for authorization.

The Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology’s Advanced Seminar course will not only provide students with a culminating survey of scholarly practice in folklore studies and ethnomusicology, it will offer an opportunity to pursue original folkloristic or ethnomusicological research using the object, media, and archival collections of the Mathers Museum of World Cultures. Students will investigate, analyze, and present a research study that can serve as the core of a professional portfolio. The course will also include discussion of careers in these two fields.

Cross-Listed Courses

COLL-C103 Music, War, & Peace
MW 9:05-9:55am +discussion section
CASE A&H, Critical Approaches; GenEd A&H
Course # 8042

Lecture Location: Global & International Studies Building 0001

This course is designed to explore the dynamics of music, violence, and empathy. Over the course of the semester we will investigate the capacities of music to enact fundamental aspects of identity, self, and other. From these initial discussions we will then consider a variety of case studies wherein music was employed as a tool for generating and sustaining war, violence, and other forms of social conflict. Following this, we will then survey cross-cultural moments where music played an essential role in generating empathy, sustaining peace, and promoting conflict resolution.  At the heart of these discussions, however, will be an investigation into the role of expressive culture in reflecting, generating, and sustaining larger political and social movements. Our readings will be drawn from the fields of psychology, ethnomusicology, folklore, and philosophy. And our meetings will take many forms, extending beyond the classroom to include discussions, film screenings, cultural activities, and performance demonstrations.