Courses

01/29/2019: locations highlighted for Spring 2019 courses:  Germ-Std 172. The Heroic Epic in Northern Europe; FM 106. History of Witchcraft and Charm Magic; FM 130. The Folklore of Emergency; and FM 172. Quilts and Quiltmaking.

Harvard Course Search page

Please see the bottom of this page for bracketed courses likely to be offered in the future.

 

Performance, Tradition and Cultural Studies: An Introduction to Folklore and Mythology
CULTBLF 16
Stephen Mitchell
2018 Fall
Tues / Thurs, 09:00am - 10:15am
Location: Emerson 108
Class Number: 13597 Course ID: 125216

Description: Examines major forms of folklore (e.g., myths, legends, epics, beliefs, rituals, festivals) and the theoretical approaches used in their study. Analyzes how folklore shapes national, regional, and ethnic identities, as well as daily life; considers the function of folklore within the groups that perform and use it, employing materials drawn from a wide range of areas (e.g., South Slavic oral epics, American occupational lore, Northern European ballads, witchcraft in Africa and America, Cajun Mardi Gras, Sub-Saharan African oral traditions).

Course Notes: Required of Concentrators and for the Secondary Field in Folklore and Mythology. This course fulfills the requirement that one of the eight General Education courses also engage substantially with Study of the Past.

 

 

 

The Heroic Epic in Northern Europe
GERM-STD 172
Stephen Mitchell
2019 Spring
Tuesday, 12:45 - 2:45pm
Location: Warren House 102
Class Number: 19518 Course ID: 207651

Description: Examines the principal heroic monuments of northern Europe, including Beowulf, Waltharius, The Lay of Hildebrand, The Lay of the Nibelungs, The Saga of the Volsungs, and the Sigurd poetry of the Poetic edda, and their interpretations  Considers the relationship of epic poetry to tradition,orality, and writing, to populations, to proto-nationalism, to cultural institutions, to the Otherworld, and to the shaping of an heroic ideal.

Course Notes: Enrollment limited to 12. Preference given to students in GLL and Folklore & Mythology.

 

 

 

Supervised Reading and Research
F
OLKMYTH 91R
Lowell Brower
2018 Fall, 2019 Spring
Class Number: 11279 Course ID: 111646

Description: Instruction and direction of reading on material not treated in regular courses of instruction; special work on topics in folklore, mythology, and oral literature. Normally available only to concentrators in Folklore and Mythology.

Course Notes: Applicants must consult the Chairman or the Head Tutor of the Committee. The signature of the Chairman or the Head Tutor is required.

Class Notes: Lowell Brower and members of the Committee

 

Senior Projects
FOLKMYTH 96R
Lowell Brower
2018 Fall, 2019 Spring
Class Number: 14167 Course ID: 128218

Course Notes: Designed for seniors completing their (non-thesis) senior project to meet the requirement for the concentration's senior project option. Students must secure the written approval for the project from the faculty member with whom they wish to work as well as the signature of the Head Tutor. May be repeated with the permission of the Head Tutor.

Class Notes: Lowell Brower and members of the Committee

 

Fieldwork and Ethnography in Folklore
FOLKMYTH 97
Lowell Brower
2019 Spring
Monday, 02:00pm - 03:59pm
Location: Warren House 102
Class Number: 11900 Course ID: 134893

Description: Introduces concentrators to the study of traditions - their performance, collection, representation and interpretation. Both ethnographic and theoretical readings serve as the material for class discussion and the foundation for experimental fieldwork projects.

Course Notes: Required of all, and limited to, concentrators.

 

History and Theory of Folklore and Mythology
FOLKMYTH 98A
Stephen Mitchell
2018 Fall
Thursday, 01:00pm - 02:59pm
Location: Warren House 102
Class Number: 11934 Course ID: 115032

Description: Examines the development of folklore and mythology as fields of study, with particular attention to the methodological approaches suited to their areas of enquiry. Considers the study of folklore and mythology in the 19th and early 20th centuries, but focuses especially on theoretical contributions to the study of folklore, mythology, and oral literature in recent decades.

Course Notes: Required of all, and limited to, concentrators.

 

Tutorial - Junior Year
FOLKMYTH 98B
Lowell Brower
2019 Spring
Class Number: 11807 Course ID: 113346

Course Notes: Required of all concentrators. The signature of the Head Tutor or Chairman of the Committee on Degrees in Folklore and Mythology required. Normally taken in the second term of the junior year.

Class Notes: Lowell Brower and members of the Committee

 

Tutorial - Senior Year
FOLKMYTH 99A
Lowell Brower
2018 Fall
Class Number: 15238 Course ID: 113480

Description: Part one of a two part series.

Course Notes: Required of all thesis writers. The signature of the Head Tutor or Chairman of the Committee on Degrees in Folklore and Mythology required.

Class Notes: Lowell Brower and members of the Committee.

 

Tutorial - Senior Year
FOLKMYTH 99B
Lowell Brower
2019 Spring
Class Number: 15098 Course ID: 159922

Description: Part two of a two part series.

Course Notes: Required of all thesis writers. The signature of the Head Tutor or Chairman of the Committee on Degrees in Folklore and Mythology required.

Class Notes: Lowell Brower and members of the Committee.

 

 

African American Folktales
FOLKMYTH 90S
Maria Tatar
2018 Fall
Wednesday, 03:00pm - 04:59pm
Location: Warren House 102
Class Number: 20415 Course ID: 110287
Class Capacity: 12  Consent Required: Instructor

Description: We will begin with tales from African cultures, investigating them as repositories of local knowledge, then turn to African-American tales, with stories ranging from tales about animals and tricksters to tales about origins, about magic and transformation, and about survival.

 

 

History of Witchcraft and Charm Magic
FOLKMYTH 106
Steve Mitchell
2019 Spring
Tuesday/Thursday, 09:00 - 10:15am 
Location: Emerson Hall 210
Class Number: 20315 Course ID: 109652

Description: This course examines witchcraft (and the "magical world view") from cross-cultural, historical, and literary perspectives. Although witches and witchcraft are considered in their non-Western settings, the course focuses on the melding of Christian and pagan views of witchcraft and magic in the European Middle Ages, and the evolving construction of witchcraft ideologies through the witch crazes of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries to the rise of modern paganism.

 

 

The Art and Craft of Scholarly Storytelling: A Workshop in Folkloristic Writing and Expression
FOLKMYTH 108
Lowell Brower
2018 Fall
Thursday, 03:00pm - 04:59pm
Location: Warren House 102
Class Number: 23263 Course ID: 210898
Class Capacity: 12  Consent Required: Instructor

Description: Storytelling is not just an object of folkloristic study, but also a central aspect of the folklorist's job. This course asks how scholars of human communities and expressive practices might do justice to other peoples’ stories while turning them into stories of their own. An intimate, supportive, writing-intensive seminar, FM 108 introduces students to a host of exciting and innovative approaches to "scholarly storytelling," allowing them to develop both practical and poetic academic writing skills as they engage in hands-on peer review workshop sessions and theoretical discussions about academic writing, narrative craft, and creative expression. Students should enter the class having already begun a larger intellectual project—be it a senior thesis, a creative project, a major research paper—and be prepared to share this project with the class and offer thoughtful feedback to their peers. Along with reading and critiquing one another’s works-in-progress, we'll examine everything from classical folklore collections, to ethnographic novels, to former departmental theses, to experimental non-fiction, to yesterday's most folkloristic tweets, taking inspiration from our predecessors in our quest to become better storytellers about the communities, expressive practices, and consequential questions that we've chosen to explore.

Course Notes: Primarily intended for concentrators and those doing a secondary field in Folklore & Mythology.  Others please consult with the instructor before enrolling.

 

 

Fairy Tale, Myth, and Fantasy Literature
FOLKMYTH 128
Maria Tatar
2018 Fall
Tuesday, 02:00pm - 03:59pm
Location: Harvard Hall 201
Class Number: 15316 Course ID: 122553
Class Capacity: 60  Consent Required: Instructor

Description: Traces the migration of traditional tales from communal storytelling circles into the literary culture of childhood and into new media. How are powerful cultural myths about innocence and seduction, monstrosity and alterity, or hospitality and hostility recycled in fairy-tale fashion? How do fantasy worlds - both utopian and dystopic - provide children with portals for exploring counterfactuals and worst-case scenarios? Authors include the Brothers Grimm, H.C. Andersen, Lewis Carroll, J.M. Barrie, and J.K. Rowling.

Course Notes: This course, when taken for a letter grade, meets the General Education requirement for either Aesthetic and Interpretive Understanding or Culture and Belief, but not both. This course fulfills the requirement that one of the eight General Education courses also engage substantially with Study of the Past.

 

 

 

The Folklore of Emergency: Change, Continuity, and Communal Creativity Amid Crisis
FOLKMYTH 130
Lowell Brower
2019 Spring
Thursday, 12:00pm - 01:59pm
Location: Warren House 102
Class Number: 20859 Course ID: 208259
Class Capacity: 12  Consent Required: Instructor

Description: This course tracks the maneuvers of folklore and expressive culture through crises, conflict zones, and emergency situations. By examining the creative interventions of storytellers, performers, and artists in response to a wide range of profound ruptures—from political upheaval, to genocidal violence, to forced migration, to social revolution, to ecological disaster—the course illuminates and interrogates the powers, potentials, politics, and poetics of cultural performance, communal storytelling, and ritual praxis in the face of destabilizing change. Exploring case studies from Africa to the Arctic, we’ll ask how storytellers revive and revise old stories to confront new challenges, how preexisting expressive forms weather unprecedented socio-cultural storms, how individuals and communities attempt to re-narrate themselves after calamity. How do folks turn their afflictions into art, how do they make sense of their sufferings, how to they treat their traumas, and transform their tragedies? What roles can folklore play in reimagining communities, in rehabilitating selves, in remaking worlds? Course work will include close readings of expressive texts, analytic and creative projects, class excursions, and a social engagement option.

 

 

Quilts and Quiltmaking
FOLKMYTH 172
Felicity Lufkin
2019 Spring
Wednesday, 02:00pm - 03:59pm
Location: Warren House 102
Class Number: 14213 Course ID: 127859
Class Capacity: 15  Consent Required: Instructor

Description: Are quilts the great American (folk) art? From intricately stitched whole-cloth quilts, to the improvisational patchworks of Gee's Bend; from the graphic simplicity of Amish quilts to the cozy pastels of depression-era quilts; from the Aids Quilt to art quilts; quilts have taken on extraordinary significance in American culture. This class surveys the evolution of quilt-making as a social practice, considering the role of quilts in articulations of gender, ethnic, class and religious identities, and their positions within discourses of domesticity, technology, consumerism, and cultural hierarchy.

 

 

 

Tattoos: History and Practices
FOLKMYTH 176
Felicity Lufkin
2018 Fall
Tuesday, 03:00pm - 04:59pm
Location: Warren House 102
Class Number: 20416 Course ID: 161297
Class Capacity: 12  Consent Required: Instructor

Description: Tattooing has been practiced in many different social and cultural settings, in many different time periods, to different ends. In the United States, tattooing was long associated with marginalized and stigmatized groups, but since the 1970s, has become increasingly popular and even mainstream. This seminar style class will explore distinct regional histories of tattoo, the development of tattooing in the US, and the different ways that contemporary tattoo practitioners situate themselves historically and negotiate boundaries of race, class and gender. We will also consider tattoo as an art form that both invites and resists aesthetic judgments.

 

 

 

Supervised Reading and Research

FOLKMYTH 191R
Lowell Brower
2018 Fall, 2019 Spring
Class Number: 10803 Course ID: 112816

Description: Advanced reading in topics not covered in regular courses.

Class Notes: Lowell Brower and members of the Committee

 

 

Bracketed Classes - to be Offered in Future Years