NOR 224 Nordic Folklore
This course explores Nordic folk literature from pre-industrial to contemporary times. Readings, lectures, discussion and assignments are designed to develop a comparative understanding of the genres of folktale, secular and religious legend, ballad and jokes as distinct narrative expressions of beliefs, practices and worldviews. In combination, the courses investigation of two types of readings the folk literature itself and scholarly articles presenting literary and cultural analysis – encourages a critical approach to the notion of folk literature as representative of the national folk soul or evidence of primitive origin. At the same time, the course focuses on the ways in which folk literature plays a role in formation of cultural and national identities, criticism of social and political hierarchies, and definition of the self and other. Examples of folk performance in music, art and film supplement the course readings. It is expected that each student will be a prepared and engaged contributor to collective and individual learning in the class.