Examines the research questions and theoretical models used by folklorists and other scholars in the study of vernacular religion and popular spirituality. We will examine religion and spirituality as it is “lived,” focusing primarily on beliefs and practices that are informally learned and generally unsanctioned by institutional doctrines and authorities. The course is organized to reflect particular topics and areas of research that have preoccupied folklorists, and we will explore the issues and perspectives that have informed their studies. The role of folklore in peoples religious lives will be explored through the analysis of narratives, rituals, beliefs, customs, celebrations, pilgrimages, trance states, and numinous experiences.
Folklore/Ethnic/Women’s Literature courses focus on works in Folklore, ethnic American writing, and writing by women.
Media, Folklore, and/or Culture courses focus on print and non-print media to explore culture and its processes of creative expression.