Folklore of the World: Anthropological Perspectives
James D. Sexton, Regents' Professor
3 credit hours
Cultural Understanding, Liberal Studies, Global Diversity
This course, taught in person, surveys contemporary folklore from selected areas of the world. It examines legends, myths, and folktales in their cultural contexts, emphasizing how different cultural and physical environments correlate with different attitudes, values, and beliefs. Special geographic emphasis will be on Australia, Thailand, Guatemala, Ireland, and Scotland. Topics will include myths (including Star Wars) legends, the Arabian jinnee, animal trickster tales, Australian Aboriginal dreaming, Celtic fairies and leprechauns, Maya gods and godesses, good and evil spirits, the Thai Khrut (mythical half man and bird), riddles, proverbs, and descriptions of other peoples' otherworlds and afterworlds.
Selected readings will be from: The Dog Who Spoke and More Mayan folktales / El perro que habló y más cuentos mayas, edited by James D. Sexton and Fredy Rodríguez-Mejía; The Rice Birds: Folktales from Thailand, edited and translated by Christian Velder and Katrin A. Velder; Irish Folktales, edited by Henry Glassie; and The Speaking Land: Myth and Story in Aboriginal Australia, by Ronald M. Berndt and Catherine H. Berndt. All of the books will be placed on two-hour reserved in the Cline Library. Also, all of these books are paperbacks and available for purchase through the university bookstore and online bookstores such as Amazon.com and Barnesandnoble.com.