In 2018, the University of Iceland is awarding an honorary doctorate to Professor Emeritus John Lindow of UC Berkeley's Folklore Graduate Program and Department of Scandinavian Literature for his contributions to folkloristics and Nordic studies.
Two Berkeley Folklore graduate students won top prizes for their writing this year:
Tracy Brannstrom won the 2018 Jeanne P. Steager Memorial Prize in Folklore, awarded annually to a student who has made an outstanding contribution in folklore during the academic year.
Yasmin Golan won the 2018 Joan Lee Yang Memorial Poetry Prize, awarded to the best poem or group of poems by a graduate student at Berkeley.
In addition, several Berkeley Folklore graduate students will also be presenting their original research at the Western States Folklore Society conference in Los Angeles in April 2018.
Congratulations to all our presenters and winners.
"The Witness Trees Revolt:
Folklore and the Fate of Forest Commons in the Kingdom of Coal"
Alan Dundes Lecture, 2018
by Professor Mary Hufford, University of Pennsylvania
Tuesday April 3, 2018
221 Kroeber Hall, Gifford Room
"In the Central Appalachian coalfields, the trees anchor three mutually exclusive forests: the economic forest of the corporate state, the ecological forest of scientists, and a vernacular forest with more-than-human entanglements. The vernacular forest depends for its reproduction on speech genres, laden with sensory information and forest species exuding communal time. Through the continual exchange of sensory memory, (a practice that Semetakis calls “reflexive commensality,”) conversationalists in West Virginia's Big Coal River Valley track the fate of forest commons, species, and identities in the Kingdom of Coal."
Mary Hufford is Director of the Center for Folklore and Ethnography at the University of Pennsylvania, and visiting professor at UC Berkeley, Spring 2018. She has published widely on folklore, cultural policy and ecological crisis, including an edited volume, Conserving Culture: A New Discourse on Heritage. Her regional studies in central Appalachia and in southern New Jersey, including Chaseworld: Foxhunting and Storytelling in the New Jersey Pine Barrens, reflect her broader interest in discourses on nature, environment, and the body, and the production of social imaginaries.
Sponsored by the Berkeley Folklore Graduate Program
Some of the Folklore-related classes offered at UC Berkeley in Spring 2018 include:
Folklore 160AC: Forms of Folklore. Professor Charles Briggs.
Tues & Thurs 2:00-3:30, 3 LeConte. 4 units. (Class #31967)
This course focuses on how all of us construct notions of difference attached to race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, class, and nation through folklore. It traces how identities are constructed and performed in a wide range of genres. A broad range of analytic perspectives, including historic-geographic, psychoanalytic, Marxist, feminist, and linguistic approaches and those centering on the ethnography of speaking and performance are used in analyzing genres of folklore, including jokes, proverbs, riddles, folk speech, folk tales, legends, rumors, myths, and charms as well as superstitions, festivals, games, folk art, folk music, and vernacular healing.
Anthropology 162, Topics in Folklore: Ecofeminist Fairy Tales. Professor Mary Hufford.
Wed & Fri, 5:00-6:30 PM, Barrows 587. 4 units. (Class #32795)
This course introduces students to the history and organization of fairy tale studies, with special attention to transformations of fairy tale players, plots, and landscapes (especially forests) as these relate to root causes of, and narrative solutions to, present ecological crises. Using an ecofeminist framework we will bring anthropological and ecological perspectives to bear on textual and cinematic variants of classic fairy tales produced over the past four centuries, including Snow White, Beauty and the Beast, Hansel and Gretel, Red Riding Hood, Bluebeard, Mother Holle, and Molly Whuppie.
Anthropology 217: Discourses and/of the Body. Professor Charles Briggs.
Wed 11:00-1:00, Kroeber 219. 4 units. (Class #39701)
This course juxtaposes discourse analysis and approaches to health and biomedicine, querying how ideologies of language and communication provide implicit foundations for work on health, disease, medicine, and the body and how biopolitical discourses and practices inform constructions of discourse.
Anthropology 262B, Theories of Traditionality and Modernity, Professor Mary Hufford.
Wednesdays 3:00-5:00 PM, Kroeber 115. 4 units. (Class #22235)
What is needed for an “ecologically adequate” folklore hidden by modernity’s legacy of dualisms? This seminar explores emerging concepts and models for shaping interdisciplinary, multi-sectoral collaborative research through engagement with the kinds of expressive behavior and settings long affiliated with folklore, through readings including Arendt, Dewey, Bakhtin, Schutz, Merleau-Ponty, Bateson, Marx, and Bourdieu, Bauman, Bendix, Briggs, Cantwell, Dorst, Hafstein, Kapchan, Noyes, Shuman, Taylor, Titon, Young and others.
Music 247: Theorizing Music Heritage. Professor Salwa El-Shawan Castelo-Branco.
Fridays 9:00 AM- 12:00 PM. Hargrove 210. 4 units. (Class #41352)
Focusing primarily on Portugal, the seminar will address notions of authenticity, authorship and ownership; the use of heritage as a political tool and as an economic resource; the impact of UNESCO’s convention on national and regional legislation; cultural policy and government investment on safeguarding and promoting heritage; the tensions between the universal claims of heritage practice and national and regional perspectives; the uses of heritage by the tourist industry; the development of heritage industries; the impact of heritagization on the sustainability of music and dance traditions, performance practice and aesthetics.
History of Art 203: Seminar in Material Culture: The Interpretation of Objects. Professor Margaretta M Lovell.
Mondays 2:00 pm - 4:59 pm; Doe Library 308B. 2 or 4 units. (Class #39364)
This seminar looks at both material culture theory and the many ways scholars understand, 'read,' and interpret objects. It draws on the practices and questions of multiple disciplines including archaeology, anthropology, cultural geography, and art history. It considers painting, architecture, works on paper, textiles, metal objects, ceramics, clothing, baskets, and objects of wood, We will consider the variety of ways and contexts in which objects have been understood to 'speak' as aesthetic vehicles and as cultural texts.
History 188C (Near Eastern Studies 188C): Magic, Religion, and Science: The Ancient and Medieval Worlds. Professor Maria Mavroudi, Assistant Professor Rita Lucarelli.
Tues & Thurs, 11:00 AM-12:30 PM, Hearst Mining Hall 390. 4 units. (Class #39645)
This course will explore magic as an experimental science within the learned traditions of civilizations that we consider as fundamental for a modern Western identity: from ancient Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece and Rome to the medieval and early modern Middle East, Byzantium, and Europe. The primary sources used for this exploration will be texts on demons, magic, divination, and the sophisticated philosophical background to such beliefs. In addition, archeological remains pertinent to these practices such as talismans, amulets, and other magical objects will be discussed.
Theatre R1A 002: African American Folktales and Children’s Literature. Lashon Alexandra Daley.
Tues & Thurs 11:00-12:30, Dwinelle 89. 4 units. (Class #31012)
This course focuses on answering: What is African American folklore? What is African American children's literature? What purpose and function do they serve? As students read, write, and perform African American folktales and children’s literature, they will be developing their own stylistic voice and performance creativity. Accordingly, students will be required to develop and perform folktales from their own communities. Students will also significantly improve their ability to verbally communicate in performance and storytelling.
Chicano Studies 20 001: Introduction to Chicano Culture. Lecturer Pablo Gonzalez.
Tues & Thurs 9:30-11:00 AM, Barrow 180. 4 units. (Class #39435)
An introduction to the cultural life of Chicanos with its regional differences. Key themes are the symbols and cultural norms created by the historical interaction between Chicanos and American society as expressed in literature, art, music, and folklore. Attention will also be given to change and continuity in Chicano cultural norms on the basis of historical events.
Slavic 24: The Mystery and Fascination of the Balkans. Professor Ronelle Alexander.
Wednesday 11:00 AM-12:00 PM, Dwinelle 6307. 1 unit. (Class #39156)
The Balkans as a region have always fascinated Westerners, ranging from intrepid eighteenth- and nineteenth-century travelers seeking the exotica of “Turkey in Europe” to their modern cohorts who become enamored of Balkan culture, and especially its music. In this class we will explore two basic questions about the Balkans: What is it that makes the region such a land of contradictions and fascination? And why–especially after the intense media attention to the violent breakup of Yugoslavia–does it remain so little understood?
Celtic 129: Aspects of Modern Celtic Cultures and Folklore. Lecturer Thomas Walsh.
Mon, Wed, Fri 10:00 AM-11:00 AM, Dwinelle 223. 4 units. (Class #39095)
Among the concerns of the course will be: the ideology of Celticism; the folklore of these cultures; the reception of Celtic material by modern mainstream culture in film and the other arts; the development of literary and other aesthetic forms in Celtic cultures, including fiction, drama, lyric, and other genres. Some working questions for us will be: “How are certain cultural forms and practices specific to modern Celtic cultures?” “How do those forms affect the non-Celtic mainstream in Europe and beyond Europe?” In what ways do Celtic cultures emerge as oppressed, under-represented, and exploited within the recent centuries of revolution and de-colonization?”
Scandinavian 160: Scandinavian Myth and Religion. Assistant Professor Jonas Wellendorf.
Mon, Wed, Fri 10:00 AM-11:00 AM, Etchevery 3106. 4 units. (Class #32585)
Who were the Norse gods? Why did they have to die? And how do we know? This course presents a survey of Scandinavian myth and religion from prehistory through the conversion to Christianity (eleventh century), as illustrated in narrative and, to a lesser extent, archaeological materials. The approach will be primarily source-critical, with some use of comparative materials from other mythologies. By the end of the course, students should know the sources well, have an understanding of the major problems involved in this study, and be aware of the more important scholarly trends in the field.
Critical Latinx Folkloristics for the 21st Century:
Rhetoric, Revision, and Practice
Wednesday December 6, 2017
554 Barrows Hall, UC Berkeley
Dr. Rachel Valentina González-Martin
University of Texas, Austin
Drawing on her ethnographic research on contemporary consumer culture associated with quinceañeras--elaborate coming-of-age celebrations for fifteen-year-old girls--and the social reception of racialized cultural practice, Dr. Rachel Valentina González-Martin (UT Austin) will discuss the state of folklore studies among, with, and through minoritized communities geographically located in the United States. Her focus will be primarily on the experience of Latina/o/x identifying women and youth living under different forms of national citizenships, analyzing how cultural practices rooted in translocal cultural experiences and transnational memories can be collaboratively narrated through a lens of race, class, and gender politics that prioritizes self-documentary/un-documentary practices as acts of ethnographic refusal and cultural re-imagination.
FOLKLORE MA OPEN HOUSE
Wednesday November 8, 2017
9:30AM - 4:00 PM
Prospective applicants wishing to apply to the UC Berkeley Folklore MA Program for admission in the Fall 2018 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 November 8, 2017, please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are pleased to announce Shakthi Nataraj as the most recent winner of the Jonathan T. Yeh Award for Student Scholarship in Asian and Asian American Folklore, presented by The Transnational Asia/Pacific Section of the American Folklore Society. The award aims to foster and promote graduate and undergraduate students in the early stages of their careers, encourage advanced scholarly research and publication on Asian and/or Asian American folklore subjects, and support AFS members who want to participate more actively in the Society. The $500 prize winner will be announced at the AFS annual meeting for the best student paper that contributes to Asian and/or Asian American folklore studies through research and analysis. It is expected that the award recipient will present his/her paper at the AFS annual conference.
Shakthi is completing her PhD in Anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley. Her research explores the way the figure of "transgender" has become a potent political symbol in Tamil Nadu, South India, for social actors ranging from popular tabloid writers to right-wing Hindu affiliates. She tracks the way activists and their interlocutors circulate different "texts of transgender”, in novels, poems, speeches, and jokes, both Tamil and English. By illustrating how historical fragments coalesce and dissipate as "transgender" flows in and out of social contexts, she shows that debates seemingly about sexual identity often condense broader political claims spanning many time periods, for transgender- and non-transgender identified persons alike.
Visiting lecturer in Folklore Dr. Jeana Jorgensen has contributed a chapter to New Approaches to Teaching Folk and Fairy Tales.
The book, edited by Christa C. Jones and Claudia Schwabe and published through Utah State University Press, "introduces scholarly perspectives on how to teach fairy tales in a variety of courses and academic disciplines... Challenging the fairy-tale canon as represented by the Brothers Grimm, Charles Perrault, Hans Christian Andersen, and Walt Disney, contributors reveal an astonishingly diverse fairy-tale landscape."
Professor Charles Briggs was awarded the Graduate Student Mentor Award by the Society for Medical Anthropology and the Medical Anthropology Student Association at the AAA Annual Meeting in Minneapolis. The Award "recognizes excellence in graduate student mentorship, and is aimed at senior or mid-career scholars who have demonstrated an ongoing commitment to teaching and mentorship throughout their careers, particularly those who have taken the time to successfully guide their MA and PhD students through fieldwork and the thesis or dissertation writing process."
We are pleased to announce that world-renowned folklorist Galit Hasan-Rokem will be the visiting professor of Folklore and Anthropology for Fall Semester 2016.