F131 – Introduction to Folklore in the United States
Monday and Wednesday, 3:35-4:25pm, plus discussion section meeting
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 US now, for example, by studying urban legends, personal narratives, tattoos, and car art, as well as family traditions. 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.
Students in the class will engage in two field projects, identifying items of folklore around them, analyzing the stories, jokes, body art, and home decoration within their own social circles, collecting folklore from their families and friends.
This lively class is taught by Dr. Pravina Shukla, two-time winner of the Indiana University Trustees’ Teaching Award (2002, 2007).