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Folklore and Mythology

Members of the Steering Committee on Degrees in Folklore and Mythology

Stephen A. Mitchell, Professor of Scandinavian and Folklore (Chair)
Deborah D. Foster, Senior Lecturer on Folklore and Mythology (Head Tutor)
Joseph C. Harris, Francis Lee Higginson Professor of English Literature and Professor of Folklore
Michael Herzfeld, Professor of Anthropology (on leave spring term)
Barbara L. Hillers, Assistant Professor of Celtic Languages and Literatures
Gregory Nagy, Francis Jones Professor of Classical Greek Literature and Professor of Comparative Literature
Kimberley C. Patton, Associate Professor in the Comparative and Historical Study of Religion (Divinity School)
James R. Russell, Mashtots Professor of Armenian Studies
Lawrence E. Sullivan, Professor of the History of Religions (Divinity School)
Maria Tatar, Harvard College Professor and John L. Loeb Professor of Germanic Languages and Literatures
Nur Yalman, Professor of Social Anthropology and of Middle Eastern Studies
Jan Ziolkowski, Arthur Kingsley Porter Professor of Medieval Latin (on leave fall term)

Affiliated Members of the Committee on Degrees in Folklore and Mythology

Julie A. Buckler, Harris K. Weston Associate Professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures
Patrick K. Ford, Margaret Brooks Robinson Professor of Celtic Languages and Literatures
Yunte Huang, Assistant Professor of English and American Literature and Language
Philip A. Kuhn, Francis Lee Higginson Professor of History and of East Asian Languages and Civilizations
Jon D. Levenson, Albert A. List Professor of Jewish Studies (Divinity School)
Peter Machinist, Hancock Professor of Hebrew and other Oriental Languages (on leave spring term)
J. Lorand Matory, Professor of Anthropology and of Afro-American Studies
Robb Moss, Rudolf Arnheim Lecturer on Filmmaking
John E. Murdoch, Professor of the History of Science
Tomás Ó Cathasaigh, Henry L. Shattuck Professor of Irish Studies
Kay Kaufman Shelemay, G. Gordon Watts Professor of Music, Associate of Currier House (on leave 2003-04)
Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, Harvard College Professor and the James Duncan Phillips Professor of Early American History
Mary C. Waters, Harvard College Professor and Professor of Sociology (on leave 2002-03)
Ruth R. Wisse, Martin Peretz Professor of Yiddish Literature and Professor of Comparative Literature (on leave spring term)
Michael Witzel, Wales Professor of Sanskrit

Tutorials in Folklore and Mythology

Primarily for Undergraduates

*Folklore and Mythology 91r. Supervised Reading and Research
Catalog Number: 2425
Deborah D. Foster and members of the Committee
Half course (fall term; repeated spring term). Hours to be arranged.
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, this course is available only to concentrators in Folklore and Mythology.
Note: To enroll, applicants must consult the Chairman of the Committee or the Head Tutor. The signature of the Chairman or the Head Tutor is required.

*Folklore and Mythology 98. Tutorial — Junior Year
Catalog Number: 3685
Deborah D. Foster and members of the Committee
Half course (fall term; repeated spring term). Hours to be arranged.
Note: Required of all concentrators. The signature of the Head Tutor or of the Chairman of the Committee on Degrees in Folklore and Mythology must be obtained. Normally, this course is taken in the second semester of the junior year.

*Folklore and Mythology 99. Tutorial — Senior Year
Catalog Number: 3886
Deborah D. Foster and members of the Committee
Full course. Hours to be arranged.
Note: Required of all concentrators. The signature of the Head Tutor or of the Chairman of the Committee on Degrees in Folklore and Mythology must be obtained.

Comparative and Methodological

For Undergraduates and Graduates

[Folklore and Mythology 100. Performance, Tradition and Cultural Studies: An Introduction to Folklore and Mythology]
Catalog Number: 3579
Stephen A. Mitchell
Half course (spring term). Hours to be arranged.
Surveys the 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, and considers the function of folklore within the groups that perform and use it, employing materials drawn from a wide range of tradition areas (e.g., South Slavic oral epics, American occupational lore, Northern European ballads, witchcraft in Africa and America, Cajun Mardi Gras).
Note: Expected to be given in 2003–04.

[*Folklore and Mythology 103. Oral Literature]
Catalog Number: 5039 Enrollment: Limited to 12. Limited to concentrators.
Stephen A. Mitchell
Half course (spring term). Hours to be arranged.
Considers the implications of orality, literacy, performance, and transmission from ethnographic, literary and historical points of view. Examples and case-studies typically drawn from the Balkans, the American Southwest, Africa, and medieval Europe. Tutorial readings include works by Parry, Lord, Nagy, Ong, Foley, Zumthor and Bauman.
Note: Expected to be given in 2003–04. Required of all concentrators.

*Folklore and Mythology 104. Theory and Methodology of Folklore and Mythology
Catalog Number: 3311 Enrollment: Limited to 12. Limited to concentrators.
Joseph C. Harris
Half course (spring term). W., 2–4. EXAM GROUP: 7, 8
Introduction to the development of folklore and mythology as fields of study, with particular attention to the methodological approaches suited to their areas of enquiry. Surveys the study of folklore and mythology in the 19th and early 20th centuries, but focuses on theoretical contributions to the study of folklore, mythology, and oral literature in recent decades.
Note: Required of all concentrators.

*Folklore and Mythology 105. Fieldwork and Ethnography in Folklore
Catalog Number: 3789 Enrollment: Limited to 12. Limited to concentrators.
Deborah D. Foster
Half course (fall term). Th., 2–4. EXAM GROUP: 16, 17
Interpretation of culture: issues and problems of ethnography. Examines problems of cultural interpretation that arise in the context of fieldwork. Both ethnographic and theoretical readings serve as the material for class discussion and the foundation for experimental ethnographic projects.
Note: Required of all concentrators.

*Folklore and Mythology 107a. Witchcraft from Paganism to the Early Modern Era
Catalog Number: 0526
Stephen A. Mitchell
Half course (fall term). Tu., Th., at 1 and a one hour section to be arranged. EXAM GROUP: 15
Reviews witchcraft in pagan, medieval and early modern Europe (ca.400-1700). Examines pagan survivals in post-Conversion Europe; the collaborative construction of “witchcraft” through Church doctrine, demonological writings, and non-elite belief systems; the place of the “Devil’s Pact” and heretical beliefs; and the witch-hunts of the 16th and17th centuries.

*Folklore and Mythology 107b. Witchcraft from “The Burning Times” to the Present
Catalog Number: 3584
Stephen A. Mitchell
Half course (spring term). Tu., Th., at 1 plus a one hour section to be arranged. EXAM GROUP: 15
Considers witchcraft from the Reformation to the present. Examines the persecutions of the early modern era (emphasizing the late 17th-century); the effects of the Enlightenment; the role of “cunning folk”; the portrayal of witches in film, fiction and folklore; the historical roots of goddess worship and other forms of neo-paganism; witchcraft as a spiritual path (e.g., Wicca); and the character of the reaction against neo-paganism.
Prerequisite: Folklore and Mythology 107a is highly recommended. In the event of a lottery, those who have taken the first term will be given preference.

Cross-listed Courses

Anthropology 105. Food and Culture
*Comparative Literature 207. Theory and Methods in Comparative Oral Traditions: Seminar
[Medieval Latin 117. Fairy Tales and Their Tellers in the Middle Ages]
[Social Analysis 28. Culture, Illness, and Healing: A Cross-Cultural Comparison of Medicine in Society]
Sociology 60. Race and Ethnic Relations

Special Field Courses

For Undergraduates and Graduates

[Folklore and Mythology 113. Women Storytellers in Africa]
Catalog Number: 9418 Enrollment: Limited to 12.
Deborah D. Foster
Half course (fall term). Hours to be arranged.
Examines oral narrative performance by women in Africa. Emphasis will be on Swahili performers from the East African Coast in historical and contemporary contexts, but comparisons to performances by women from other parts of the continent will also be made. Readings are in English and include histories, autobiography, literary stories, and transcribed and translated performances of oral narrative.
Note: Expected to be given in 2003–04.

Folklore and Mythology 114. Embodied Expression/Expressive Body: Dance as a Medium of Cultural and Personal Meaning
Catalog Number: 7982 Enrollment: Limited to 16.
Deborah D. Foster
Half course (spring term). Th., 2–5. EXAM GROUP: 16, 17
This course will examine the ways in which the dancing body is both a site of personal experience and a sign of cultural meaning. By observing dance performances (live and on film), participating in dance workshops, and reading ethnographic and theoretical texts, we will attempt to understand the emergent meaning of dance performances from the perspective of both dancer and observer.

[Folklore and Mythology 115. The African Oral Narrative Tradition]
Catalog Number: 5663
Deborah D. Foster
Half course (spring term). Hours to be arranged.
Introduction to African oral narratives, focusing on the nature of orality and performance. Examines the way in which symbol and metaphor work in oral art forms; considers methods of analysis of oral narrative, including structuralism, semiotics, and performance theory; investigates the function of the creative and destructive trickster figure; and explores the oral residue in African novels and plays.
Note: Expected to be given in 2003–04.

[Folklore and Mythology 140. Spells, Scrolls, and Saints: Armenian Folk Religion ]
Catalog Number: 7587
James R. Russell
Half course (fall term). Hours to be arranged.
A historical and comparative survey of the religious beliefs and practices of the Armenian Christian nation, with reference to their Anatolian, Iranian, Christian, and Muslim aspects. Topics covered include the cult of saints, pilgrimages and veneration of sacred places, prayers, spells, magical and talismanic literature, vernacular transmission of canonical texts, and seasonal festivals.
Note: Expected to be given in 2003–04.

*Folklore and Mythology 191r. Supervised Reading and Research
Catalog Number: 3255
Stephen A. Mitchell and members of the Committee
Half course (fall term; repeated spring term). Hours to be arranged.
Advanced reading in topics not covered in regular courses.

Cross-listed Courses

Afro-American Studies 141. Afro-Atlantic Religions
[Akkadian 144. Akkadian Divination Texts]
[Ancient Near East 127. Prophecy in Ancient Israel]
Anthropology 184. Ethnicity in the Americas: The Indian Question
[Armenian Studies 100. Armenian Epic]
[Celtic 106. Folklore of Ireland]
[Celtic 113. Gaelic Women’s Poetry]
[Celtic 114. Early Irish Historical Tales]
[Celtic 138r. The Mabinogi]
[Celtic 150. Celtic Paganism]
Celtic 184. The Táin
Celtic 225a. Introduction to Middle Welsh
Celtic 225b. Continuing Middle Welsh
Classical Archaeology 131. Introduction to Greek Art and Archaeology, ca. 1200–300 BCE
Foreign Cultures 78. Culture-Building and the Emergence of Modern Scandinavia
[German 126. The Brothers Grimm and Their Cultural Legacy]
Indian Studies 206. Old Indian and Eurasian Creation Myths: Seminar
[Japanese History 116a. History of Japanese Religions: Conference Course]
Japanese History 116b. History of Japanese Religions: Conference Course
Literature and Arts A-68. Poets and Poetry in the Celtic Literary Tradition
[Literature and Arts A-78. The Vikings and the Nordic Heroic Tradition]
Literature and Arts C-14. The Concept of the Hero in Greek Civilization
[Literature and Arts C-18. Hindu Myth, Image, and Pilgrimage]
[Literature and Arts C-20. The Hero of Irish Myth and Saga]
[Literature and Arts C-22. European Culture in the Middle Ages]
Literature and Arts C-37. The Bible and Its Interpreters
*Music 190r (formerly *Music 190rr). Proseminar: Topics in World Music
Music 194r. Special Topics: Proseminar
[Music 208r. Ethnomusicology: Seminar]
[*Scandinavian 200a. Introduction to Old Norse]
[Scandinavian 200br. Old Norse Literature: Edda and Saga]