Alan Dundes 2019 Guest Lecture Video Stream

Alan Dundes 2019 Guest Lecture: Professor John McDowell

Ecoperformativity: Expressive Culture at the Crux of Ecological Trauma 

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Drawing on speech act theory, this presentation elaborates the concept of ecoperformativity to assess the impact of strategic vernacular discourse in settings of environmental crisis. When certain felicity conditions are met, ecoperformative discourse can shape people’s attitudes, move them to action, and help assuage the trauma of ecological precarity. This talk will address ecoperformativity in two Andean settings where indigenous peoples draw on a spiritual connection to the land in confronting existential threats to their survival.

John Holmes McDowell is Professor of Folklore at Indiana University and former Chair of the Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology; he has researched speech play, verbal art, ballads, and other forms as instruments of social process in Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, and the United States.

Sponsored by the Berkeley Folklore Program (folklore_archive@bekeley.edu)

Folklore Archive
FALL 2019 Courses!

Music 243 Transcription and Analysis
TH 2pm - 5pm. 
Location TBA
This graduate seminar will be taught by Professor Ben Brinner.
It is appropriate for those with both significant musical skills and a strong interest in learning about a range of approaches to visual representations of musical sound (from standard notation to various graphic representations), experimenting with those approaches, and debating them in terms of their efficacy and what they foreground or ignore.

Anth C262A: Theories of Traditionality and Modernity
W 12:00 pm - 2:59 pm
221 Kroeber
This course is taught by Professor Charles L. Briggs.
Constructing Tradition: In this seminar we explore the implications of the proposition that “tradition” is a process rather than an object, something that people “do” and “make” rather than “have” or “own.”

Art, Architecture, and Design in the United States (1800 to the Present) (HA 185A)
Tues. Thurs. 11:00-12:30
101 Moffitt
This course is taught by Professor Margaretta Lovell.
Looking at major developments in painting and architecture, sculpture, city planning, design, and photography from Romanticism to Post-modernism, this course addresses art, its social context, and its social power over the last two and a half centuries in what is now the United States. Issues include patronage, audience, technology, and the education of the artist as well as style, cultural expression, and the relationship of “high”art to vernacular, folk, and popular art. This class focuses on the ways in which visual culture incorporates and responds to narratives of personal, community, and national identity.


Folklore Archive
Introducing the Folklore Graduate Cohort for the Fall 2019
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Sailakshmi Senthil Kumar: Born in Chennai, India but raised in Fremont, CA, Sailakshmi (Nisha) comes to the folklore program after finishing her undergrad in anthropology at Berkeley in the spring of 2019. Her interests lie in diasporic Indian-American communities in the Bay Area and how they conceptualize more taboo forms of health like sexual, reproductive, and women's health. Having worked in Tamil Nadu, India in the winter of her sophomore year of undergrad, she is particularly interested in how notions of taboo cross transnationally to become modified or re-contextualized in new settings through narrative, gossip, and rumor. An avid cook, Sailakshmi also spends her free time attempting various new recipes.

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Molly Robinson: Molly joins the Folklore Program to explore the material and cultural histories of the so-called American South. She examines how these histories are brought to life in Gullah figurative painting and other art forms created in the part of the southeastern United States vernacularly dubbed the “Coastal Empire.” These interests issue from a broader concern with how we might learn to see legacies of difference, diasporic identities, and articulations of political desire through representation of Southern bodies in art. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Anthropology from the University of Chicago and prior to studying at Berkeley worked as a watercolorist for a real estate company and as a docent at a historic house museum in Savannah, Georgia.

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Kathryn Brock: Kathryn received a B.A. in Creative Writing and Music Business from Anderson University in Indiana prior to pursuing an M.A. in Creative Writing at University College Cork in Ireland. There her studies included poetry and folklore pertaining to the Hag of Beara, Brigid, and Sheela-na-gigs. Her primary interests are women’s sexuality, femininity, and reproductive rights in Old and Modern Irish poetry and culture as well as the transformation of female figures in oral tradition and the archaeological record. She is currently studying Modern Irish and plans to conduct archival research in the National Folklore Collection in Dublin and ethnographic work in the West of Ireland.

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Julia McKeown: Julia is a non-binary Peace Corps Volunteer currently living in and working with Youth in Development in Morocco. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology and minor in creative writing from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill in 2016. While there, she wrote a senior thesis on the community of vulnerability and positive youth development that occurs within the Triangle’s spoken word and slam poetry community (of which she is a proud member). In May of 2017 she was honored to participate in the Iowa Summer Writers Workshop with James Galvin at the University of Iowa. She is interested in continuing to explore how those ensnared by dominant narratives find spaces and mediums to create their own stories. In particular she is interested in previously colonized countries, questions of LBTQIA* identity in countries with a dominant religious narratives, movements of peoples across physical and socially constructed borders, and many other things. She is very much enjoying watching these interactions unfold in a country where her integration and language skills allow her to be ever more deeply involved in people’s lives.

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Nalin Sindhurprama: Nalin received her BA from Chulalongkorn University in Thai language and literature with a focus on folklore. After graduating, she began researching the two decades that have ensued since the violence of the Khmer Rouge government in neighboring Cambodia. For her MA Thesis, she plans to conduct fieldwork on how Cambodians born after 1979 engage with narratives of the Khmer Rouge years that appear in memoirs, novels, films, comic books, political discourse, and official narratives. Her particular interest lies in how this generation uses media, including social media, to construct "Khmerness" in relation to the 1975-1979 period.

Folklore Archive
Announcing Summer 2019 Course: Jewish Studies 121

Jewish Studies 121: Topics in Jewish Arts and Culture

Title: Are there Arab Jews, Kurdish Jews, Berber Jews?: Jewish Cultures of the Middle East & North Africa

Course #15708:
Summer Session D:  Six-Week Session: July 8–August 16 

M T W Th: 10 a.m.–12 noon | Evans 87 | 4 units 

 Description: This course provides an introduction to the rich cultural diversity of Jewish communities of the Middle East and North Africa. Focusing primarily on the 20th century through an interdisciplinary mix of texts, films, music, and foods, we will explore (and sometimes blur!) the boundaries of culture and religion. Central to our concerns will be considerations of identity: What are the possibilities of multi-faceted identities, and how are identities defined not just in opposition but also in relation to each other, each informing the other in the process? What was it like to be a Jewish Kurd in Iraq or an Arabic-speaking Jew in Morocco? Interested students from all majors and backgrounds are welcome.

Satisfies the Arts & Literature L&S breadth requirement.

 

Folklore Archive
Pascale Boucicaut wins the James P Steager Memorial Prize in Folklore
Captured: Zora Neale Hurston in the field.

Captured: Zora Neale Hurston in the field.

Graduate Student Award

Pascale Boucicaut, Folklore Graduate student, won the 2019 Jeanne P. Steager Memorial Prize in Folklore, awarded annually to a student who has made an outstanding contribution in folklore during the academic year. Her paper, “Still Searching for Authenticity: (Re)situating Accountability in Folklore Praxis” contrasts academic constructions of authenticity and vernacular modes of accountability within ethnographic engagements during the first century of American folkloristics.

Folklore Archive
Spring 2019 Open House for Admitted Students
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FOLKLORE MA OPEN HOUSE

Thursday March 14, 2019
10AM - 7:00 PM

Admitted students wishing to join the UC Berkeley Folklore MA Program for admission in the Fall 2019 semester may join us for a full-day of meeting with professors, current folklore graduate students, and a chance to sit in on one of our Folklore graduate seminars. If you are interested in attending our Open House on March 14, 2019, please RSVP to folklore_archive@berkeley.edu.

Folklore Archive
Ecoperformativity: Expressive Culture At The Crux of Ecological Trauma
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2019 Alan Dundes Lecture

by Professor John McDowell
Thursday, March 14th

5:00 PM-7:00PM
221 Kroeber Hall, Gifford Room
UC Berkeley

Drawing on speech act theory, this presentation elaborates the concept of ecoperformativity to assess the impact of strategic vernacular discourse in settings of environmental crisis. When certain felicity conditions are met, ecoperformative discourse can shape people’s attitudes, move them to action, and help assuage the trauma of ecological precarity. This talk will address ecoperformativity in two Andean settings where indigenous peoples draw on a spiritual connection to the land in confronting existential threats to their survival.

John Holmes McDowell is Professor of Folklore at Indiana University and former Chair of the Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology; he has researched speech play, verbal art, ballads, and other forms as instruments of social process in Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, and the United States.

Sponsored by the Berkeley Folklore Graduate Program
folklore_archive@berkeley.edu

Folklore Program welcomes John McDowell, visiting Professor

Joining us from Indiana University Bloomington is Professor of Folklore, John Holmes McDowell. Professor McDowell received his PhD from the University Texas at Austin, and he currently teaches courses on Constructing Tradition, Folklore and the Environment, Folklore of Latin America, History of Folklore Study, Ethnopoetics, and Myth, Cosmos, and Healing in Latin America. He will be teaching two courses this upcoming Spring semester Anthro 162 Topics in Folklore that will focus on Latin America, and Anthro 262B, which will work around concepts of tradition and interpretation.
http://www.indiana.edu/~folklore/people/mcdowell.shtml

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Folklore Archive
Spring 2019 Courses
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Anthro 162 Topics in Folklore
The peoples of Latin America have created a remarkable panorama of folk traditions. Our purpose in this course is to sample these delights to savor their artistic power, to understand how they relate to the history of the region and connect with people’s lives, and to see how they are used to make claims about social and national identities. This course, which will be taught by Visiting Professor John McDowell and will focus on Latin American Folklore.

Anthro 160 Forms of Folklore
A world-wide survey of the major and minor forms of folklore with special emphasis upon proverbs, riddles, superstitions, games, songs, and narratives. Taught by Professor Charles Briggs.

Anth/Folk C262B:
The focus of this course will be Constructing Tradition, or, on  “tradition” as a process rather than an object, something that people “do” and “make” rather than “have” or “own.” Taught by Visiting Professor John McDowell.

Music 80 Studies of Musics of the World
This course is taught by Professor Ben Brinner and examines selected traditional and popular musical practices from an ethnomusicological perspective. Taking into account local, regional, and transnational connections among the selected practices, this will include approaches to music making and listening, relevant music theory, issues of identity and power, connections to ritual, dance, and theater, and social, economic, and aesthetic values. Topic and geocultural area will vary.

Slavic 147B
MWF 2-3, Dwinelle 88
This course surveys the “lore” (traditional tales, songs, music, and customs) of selected peoples of the multiethnic Balkans. The peoples in question are of two ethnicities – Albanians (living both in Albania and in Kosovo) and Slavs (living in Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia, and Bulgaria) – and of two different religions, Islam and Christianity (most Albanians are Muslim but some are Christian; while most Slavs are Christian, but some are Muslim).

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The region has long fascinated outsiders, not least because of the rich diversity of traditional cultural forms that are still evident there. The criss-crossing of traditional forms and motifs across cultures and religions in the Balkans provides a window both into the nature of folklore in general, and the multiculturalism of the area in particular. Of these traditional forms, oral epic song is the most important, and study of these songs – both their content and the manner in which they have been kept alive – gives much insight both into Balkan history, and into the intimate and emotional relations of Balkan peoples to their own histories. Furthermore, it was the work of two American scholars with the singers of a still-living epic tradition in the Balkans which gave rise to one of the greatest discoveries in comparative epic studies, the Parry-Lord theory of oral composition.  The region is also very rich in complex musical forms, and has long been of great interest to ethnomusicologists, who study the relationship of music to cultural identity and social interactions. Here too, the traditional forms have both been retained; at the same time certain traditional musical styles have become associated with the massive social and political changes in the Balkans, which lends more depth to the study of them.

Most of the course focuses on traditional folklore, reading transcripts, made in the 19th and early 20th centuries, of material which has been transmitted orally through many generations. The final section, devoted to traditional music, moves into the modern age, as it examines the ways in which this folklore heritage was transformed to serve particular political goals.

Folklore Archive
Berkeley Folklore Graduate Wins 2018 Don Yoder Graduate Prize
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Yasmin Golan of the Berkeley Folklore Graduate Program received the 2018 Don Yoder Graduate Prize in Folk Belief and Religious Folklife from the American Folklore Society. Her study, "New Souls: Life After Death of Companion Animals in Contemporary Hanoi" focuses on a Buddhist cemetery in Vietnam whose funeral, cremation, and burial services for cats and dogs reveal the risks and opportunities available to domestic animals in city life. Simultaneously reconfiguring urban cosmologies Yasmin ushers readers to think through more-than-human entanglements with the animal-dead.




Folklore Archive