Fall 2012 Courses

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FOLK 202 – Introduction to Folklore
Katherine Roberts (katrober@email.unc.edu)
MW 12:00PM – 12:50PM
Discussion sections: 601: Th 12:30:PM – 1:20PM; 602: Th 1:00PM-1:50PM; 603: Fr 12:00PM – 12:50PM; 604: Th 11:00AM – 11:50AM

In daily life, we all draw upon skills and ideas we’ve learned through observation, imitation, and practice. Consciously or not, each of us incorporates existing patterns into the ways we interact with and communicate with those around us. By means of our personal choices and actions, each of us also changes these patterns slightly, making traditions or customs our own. Folklorists study these informal processes and the materials thereby communicated and transformed, that is, the materials we come to think of as vernacular or traditional culture. By focusing in particular on the aesthetic aspects of vernacular culture—on patterns of expression that appeal to the senses—folklorists seek to understand how people interpret and make sense of the world. The study of folklore asks how, in a world flooded with commercial and highly refined cultural products, people use those particular materials that they themselves create and re-shape in order to express who they are, where they belong, and what they value. In this course we will look at diverse forms (or “genres”) of folklore, including song, architecture, legend, and food. We will consider how vernacular expressive culture is learned, what it does for people, and why these processes and products persist through time and space. Students will be introduced to the discipline of Folklore’s central research methodology, ethnography, and have an opportunity to practice that approach in individual and group research projects.

FOLK 435 – Consciousness and Symbols
James Peacock
(peacock@unc.edu)
MWF 11:00AM – 11:50PM
Discussion sessions: 601: Mo 2:00PM – 2:50PM; 602: We 3:00PM – 3:50PM

This course explores consciousness through symbols. Symbols from religion, art, politics, and self are studied in social, psychological, historical, and ecological context to ascertain meanings in experience and behavior.

AMST 466 – You Are Where You Live: The American House in Critical Perspective
Katherine Roberts
(katrober@email.unc.edu)
TuTh 12:30PM – 1:45PM

This course is designed to attune students to the complexities of human shelter. We will begin our journey by studying the development of several national and regional housing types in the U.S. and the environmental and socio-political factors that contributed to their formation. From shotguns to ranches to mobile homes and more, we will learn about how domestic forms in the built environment have contributed to American cultural landscapes—past and present. In addition, we will explore the social use and meaning of housing and examine the strategies people use to create “homes” out of built forms. Finally, we consider several larger issues associated with housing in the U.S., including affordability, sustainability and gentrification. By the end of the course, students should be able to understand the built environment as a form of communication, capable of revealing what we value as individuals and communities and as a nation, and to critically evaluate the ways in which housing mediates power relations in the U.S.

FOLK 470 – Medicine and Anthropology
Michele Rivkin-Fish
(mrfish@unc.edu)
MWF 1:00PM – 1:50PM

This course examines cultural understandings of health, illness, and medical systems from an anthropological perspective with a special focus on western medicine.

FOLK 473 – Anthropology of the Body and the Subject
William Lachiocotte (william_lachicotte@med.unc.edu)
MW 5:00PM – 6:15PM

Anthropological and historical studies of cultural constructions of bodily experience and subjectivity are reviewed, with emphasis on the genesis of the modern individual and cultural approaches to gender and sexuality.

FOLK 484 – Discourse and Dialogue in Ethnographic Research
Patricia Sawin (sawin@unc.edu)
TuTh 11:00AM-12:15PM

Complex communication is a defining capacity of human beings and a crucial factor in the creation and maintenance of human societies. Effective communication requires not only a shared language, but also a shared set of social conventions about how to speak—who may talk to whom, what styles are appropriate for what occasions, what forms recognizably accomplish the various things speaking is supposed to get done, etc.—which differ among social groups just as much as do languages themselves. Additionally, in the course of employing the discursive resources they inherit, speakers inevitably make their own contributions, transforming the patterns they transmit. The study of discourse consequently provides a window into the micro-level workings of social change and into the ways that individuals and groups negotiate and regenerate their identities through communication with present and anticipated interlocutors. The course revolves around two projects in which students record, transcribe, and analyze examples of spontaneous live speech and share conclusions with the class. Fulfills the Social and Behavioral Science, U.S. Diversity, and Communication Intensive requirements.

AMST 484 – Visual Culture
Bernard Herman
(blherman@email.unc.edu)
TuTh 3:30PM – 4:45PM

This course investigates how we make and signify meaning through images, ranging from art to advertising to graffiti, and provides the critical tools to understand the visual worlds we inhabit.

AMST 486 – Shalom Y’all: The Jewish Experience in the American South
Marcie Cohen Ferris (ferrism@email.unc.edu)
MWF 2:00PM – 2:50PM

This course explores ethnicity in the South and focuses on the history and culture of Jewish Southerners from their arrival in the Carolinas in the 17th century to the present day.

AMST 499 – Advanced Seminar in American Studies – Writing the Documentary Biography and Literary Profile (also offered as FOLK 690)
Sam Stephenson, Lehman-Brady Visiting Professor of Documentary Studies
W 3:00PM – 5:30PM

This course concerns researching and writing about the lives of others. It concerns the literary intention of telling a story about somebody else’s life. It’s a tradition that began in biblical times, or earlier, and extends through the current issue of magazines such as the New Yorker or Rolling Stone. Students will study classic works of biography and literary profile – writers as various as James Boswell, Richard Ellman, Joseph Mitchell, Lillian Ross, John McPhee, Janet Malcolm, and AB Spellman. Some of these writers wrote about famous icons (Boswell, Ellman), others wrote about people nobody knew (Mitchell, McPhee, Spellman). In any case, the effort is to learn as much about a person as possible – a figure from history or somebody still alive, perhaps even a grandparent or next door neighbor – and attempt to see through their eyes, walk in their shoes, and render their story in literary, documentary writing. Oral history and archival research will be featured. Students will submit a written final project modeled after classic New Yorker magazine profiles, or chapters from a book-length biography. The instructor will help them determine a subject, living or deceased.

FOLK 571 – Southern Music
William Ferris (wferris@unc.edu)
TuTh 8:00AM-9:15AM

Explores the history of music in the American South from its roots to twentieth century musical forms, revealing how music serves as a window on the region’s history and culture.

FOLK 610 – Vernacular Traditions in African American Music
Glenn Hinson (ghinson@unc.edu)
TuTh 9:30AM – 10:45AM

Explores performance traditions in African American music, tracing the music’s development from African song through blues, jazz, gospel, and contemporary vernacular expression.   Focuses on continuity, creativity, and change within African American aesthetics.

FOLK 690 – Studies in Folklore – Writing the Documentary Biography and Literary Profile (also offered as AMST 499)
Sam Stephenson, Lehman-Brady Visiting Professor of Documentary Studies
W 3:00PM – 5:30PM

This course concerns researching and writing about the lives of others. It concerns the literary intention of telling a story about somebody else’s life. It’s a tradition that began in biblical times, or earlier, and extends through the current issue of magazines such as the New Yorker or Rolling Stone. Students will study classic works of biography and literary profile – writers as various as James Boswell, Richard Ellman, Joseph Mitchell, Lillian Ross, John McPhee, Janet Malcolm, and AB Spellman. Some of these writers wrote about famous icons (Boswell, Ellman), others wrote about people nobody knew (Mitchell, McPhee, Spellman). In any case, the effort is to learn as much about a person as possible – a figure from history or somebody still alive, perhaps even a grandparent or next door neighbor – and attempt to see through their eyes, walk in their shoes, and render their story in literary, documentary writing. Oral history and archival research will be featured. Students will submit a written final project modeled after classic New Yorker magazine profiles, or chapters from a book-length biography. The instructor will help them determine a subject, living or deceased.

FOLK 850 – Approaches to Folklore Theory
Patricia Sawin (sawin@unc.edu)
TuTh 2:00PM – 3:15PM

A systematic overview of the major issues and perspectives informing two centuries of folklore study. Core course required for graduate students in the Folklore MA Program. Others welcome; please consult with the professor.

FOLK 993 – Master’s Thesis

MUSC 144 – Introduction to Country Music
Jocelyn Neal (jneal@email.unc.edu)
MWF 9:00AM – 9:50AM

A survey and investigation of country music from 1920 to the present. Music of Jimmie Rodgers, Hank Williams, Willie Nelson, Patsy Cline, Garth Brooks, and others.