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Folklore Program

Folklore is the part of our culture that we learn in informal, personal interactions with people we meet regularly. The many genres of folklore include the verbal arts, such as epic, ballad, folksong, folktale, legend, myth, joke, tall tale, riddle, and proverb. Folklore includes customary and material forms, such as calendar customs, games, dances, foodways, modes of dress, folk architecture, and crafts, such as chair making, blacksmithing, and fabric arts. People learn and share folklore within groups that have a common ethnic, religious, occupational, or other basis.

Folklorists with a literary orientation tend to focus on genres, the ways in which they are learned, the ways they change in transmission, the ways they are performed, and their cultural and historical contexts. Folklorists with an anthropological orientation tend to study a variety of genres within a single culture, while examining the interrelationships and functions of folk forms within the cultural group. The Program in Folklore at ISU draws on both of these orientations to provide students with a well-rounded course of study.

Experience in folklore benefits students interested in many ISU programs, including folklore, history, anthropology, english, American studies, and sociology. Knowledge of folklore is helpful, too, in public history, museum, and oral history programs. Folklore courses enhance the knowledge of both elementary and secondary teachers and of those planning to do social work or health-related professions.

Minor in Folklore

The program in folklore offers a minor degree designed to augment American Studies, Anthropology, English, History, Sociology, and other majors. The program's required course, ANTH/ENGL 2212, introduces students to the study of folklore genres, folklore fieldwork, and types of folk groups. Upper-division courses provide students with more focused study of folklore issues and genres, the history of folklore scholarship, particular folk cultures, and the interrelationship of genres within those cultures.

The program also provides opportunities for study of ethnographic and material culture fieldwork techniques. Specialized courses include material culture, American Indian verbal, material arts, and courses in the relationships between folklore and literature, including fantasy.

The minor in folklore consists of 18 credits, as follows:

Required Course:

ANTH/ENGL 2212 Introduction to Folklore/Oral Tradition3 cr

Choose 15 Credits From:

ANTH 3301 Introduction to Shoshoni Folklore3 cr

ANTH 4404 Material Culture Analysis3 cr

ANTH 4449 Methods and Techniques of Ethnographic Field Research3 cr

ANTH 4452 American Indian Verbal Arts3 cr

ANTH 4472 Native American Arts3 cr

ANTH/ENGL 4490 Topics in Folklore3 cr

ENGL 4492 Folklore and Literature3 cr