Folklore and Oral Tradition

Creation myths, folktales, games, and jokes and word
play all inform the field of folklore, a creative and challenging field of
study. Folklore encompasses diverse narratives, forms of knowledge and
tradition. How do we recognize folklore and what are its social and artistic
uses? What makes folklore relevant to understanding our own and other people’s
cultures? And how does folklore relate to literature? This course will
introduce key concepts in folklore studies and texts (both oral and written),
but our primary focus is the analysis of two folk narrative genres, the
folktale and the legend, in specific cultural contexts. We will study 17th- to
19thcentury European/American folk tales and look at the substance
of these tales in relationship to more recent variations.

We will also discuss how labels such as folklore, oral
traditions, and literature assume different meanings and connotations in
Euro-American, colonial, and postcolonial contexts. We will focus on the
importance of performance and transformations across media and cultures. The
knowledge students bring to the class is essential to our exploration of

Required Texts:

Georges and Michael Owen Jones. THE CLASSIC FAIRY TALES by Maria Tartar.
ENCYCLOPEDIA OF URBAN LEGENDS by Jan Harold Brunvand. These texts
will be available at Revolution Books. Course Reader can be
purchased at Tom Terrifics, 2961 East Manoa Road, Honolulu, HI  96822. The Reader will be available for
pick up on 1/7/2011. You will need the Reader and FOLKLORISTICS on the first
day of class.


Students will write four posts (as letters),
responding to the criticism we read, two short essays and a research essay. In
addition, there will be a midterm, a final, and two oral presentations. This
course is reading and discussion based. Attendance is mandatory.