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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Guntis I. Smidchens
C LIT 334
Seattle Campus

Immigrant and Ethnic Folklore

Survey of verbal, customary, and material folk traditions in ethnic context. Theories of ethnic folklore research applied to the traditions of American communities of Scandinavian, Baltic, or other European ancestry. Recommended: either SCAND 230 or C LIT 230. Offered: jointly with SCAND 334.

Class description

This course studies the folklore traditions of immigrant and ethnic communities, with particular attention to North Europeans. How are their culture and identity related to human unity and diversity? Theories of ethnic folklore research and interpretations of traditions will be evaluated and applied to the study of living folklore traditions.

Student learning goals

• Learn about people and traditions: o Learn the historical background of North European immigrant and ethnic communities in America. o Learn examples of folk traditions practiced or remembered in these communities

• Encounter theories and interpretations of ethnic identity: o Learn a variety of approaches to the study of immigrant and ethnic folklore

Become an expert on one immigrant or ethnic group: • Learn the methods of folklore research: o Experience folklore fieldwork: Interview living people in the "field" to compile information about folklore traditions in immigrant and ethnic communities. o Do ethnography: Document and interpret living folk traditions. o Prepare an archival document of immigrant or ethnic folklore o Present a paper on your work at the Conference on Immigrant and Ethnic Folklore

General method of instruction

Lecture, discussion, oral presentations

Recommended preparation

Class assignments and grading

Read and discuss ethnographic descriptions of ethnic groups and ethnic folklore; Compile information and write a research paper about one group.

Class Participation (presentations, online posts, critique classmates’ posts): 25%

Three midterm exams, 25% Three fieldwork reports 25% Final exam = fieldwork portfolio and oral report, 25%


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: 03/25/2012