Course Details

050:284:MA - American Folklife

  • Course ID: 050:284:MA
  • Credits: 3
  • Instructor Name: Kennedy
  • Instructor (Core Faculty): Kennedy, Maria

In folk studies there are two terms often used—“folklore” and “folklife.” These terms are closely related, yet to scholars they have distinct meanings. What is folklore? It usually includes oral lore—such things as proverbs, riddles, myths, legends, tales, and ballads. What is folklife? It includes material folk culture—such things as folk architecture, folk crafts and art, folk costumes, and folk foods. Our focus in this course will be on American folklife. The direction in which American scholars looked for a model of folklife studies was to Europe, especially Scandinavia. In this course, we will begin with land use, cultivation, housing, settlement, and subsistence crafts, and proceed through furniture, domestic handwork, leisure-time handicrafts, decorative arts, representational art, musical instruments, and folk toys. In other words, we will be looking at the whole gamut of traditional material culture from the necessities of life to the luxuries and pleasures. (Starts 10/20, Ends 12/10)