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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Guntis I. Smidchens
C LIT 230
Seattle Campus

Introduction to Folklore Studies

Comprehensive overview of the field of folkloristics, focusing on verbal genres, customs, belief, and material culture. Particular attention to the issues of community, identity, and ethnicity. Offered: jointly with SCAND 230.

Class description

Folklore (traditional stories, beliefs, songs, and customs) is a rich source for understanding people and their worldviews. This course will survey several genres of folklore and study the people who maintain those folklore traditions. A variety of theories and methods applied in folklore studies during the past two centuries will be introduced in readings and lectures.  

Student learning goals

To learn some “classic” folklore examples: variants of legends, folktales and songs in Northern Europe and America. 

To engage and critique a variety of folklore interpretations (“survivalist,” historic-geographic, functional, interpretive, culture brokering, etc.)

To learn how to formulate your own, ethnographically based interpretations of folklore. 

General method of instruction

lecture & class discussion

Recommended preparation

Class assignments and grading

Oral presentations: 20% Class discussion (face-to-face and online) 20% Three response essays: 20%  Quizzes: 20%  Final Examination: 20% 


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Additional Information
Last Update by Guntis I. Smidchens
Date: 07/23/2009