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.
Students who enroll for twelve credits will develop a plan with their seminar faculty that covers the satisfactory completion of the work.
Course Reference Numbers
Folklore, Anthropology, Cultural Studies, Ethnomusicology, Slavic Studies, Celtic Studies
$25 for a workshop in pysanky (Slavic egg decoration)