Slavic and Celtic Folklore: Heroic, Spiritual, Practical

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Spring 2018
Credits per quarter

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Taught by

Russian language and literature
Sean Williams

This program explores the folklore of the Slavic and Celtic peoples from their earliest history to the present in a cross-cultural study of two of Eurasia's oldest groups. Both are widely dispersed: the Slavic regions across eastern and southeastern Europe into Eurasia to the Pacific, and the Celtic regions across the islands and peninsulas of Western Europe. Both are renowned for their abundant folklore traditions, which have deep roots in a remote past and have served as a valuable source of inspiration for writers, composers, and dramatists from the 19th century to the present. What characteristics do both traditions share? What distinguishes the two cultural traditions? What essential historical, linguistic, and spiritual elements permeate the hearts and minds of local people in these regions? What do their folklore practices reveal?

We begin the quarter with epic narratives and explore the histories and belief systems of the two groups. We follow this foundational work with an exploration of folklore practices (customs, rituals, beliefs), examine 19th-century cultural nationalist movements in music and literature, and conclude with how it all plays out in contemporary life, both rural and urban. This program may serve as a springboard for further study of the Celtic and Slavic peoples, of folklore, and of the material elements of culture.

Each week includes lectures, films, seminars, and possible workshops, collaborative presentations, and guest performers or presenters. Students will write short essays and complete a significant essay and professional poster by the end of the quarter reflecting their research that examines the role, use, and appropriation of folklore materials in a particular Slavic or Celtic region. On April 14, students will participate in an all-day Irish culture intensive at Evergreen, featuring workshops in music, dance, and the Irish language, followed by an evening concert.

A highlight of the program this spring is the participation of a Fulbright Scholar-In-Residence from Comenius University in Bratislava, Slovakia, who will join the Evergreen faculty team and share her folklore research in lectures and workshops with the students.

This offering will prepare you for careers and advanced study in: folklore, anthropology, ethnomusicology, history, and literature

Online learning:
  • No Required Online Learning - No access to web tools required. Any web tools provided are optional.

$90 for registration fees, cultural workshop and supplies.

Scheduled for: Day

Located in: Olympia

Final schedule and room assignment:

2018-02-16Fee increased (from $25 to $90).
2017-07-27Fee increased (from $20 to $25).