The discipline of folklore is a diverse examination of informal culture. Its subjects include stories, music, dance, drama, architecture, material culture, celebrations and patterns of belief, as well as customs related to work, leisure, childhood, family, aging, individuality and community.
While folklorists study traditions passed down through generations, they also consider expressive elements found in popular culture and media. Many look at modern phenomena, from urban legends to jokes, from hockey culture to skateboarding, from Ouija boards to tourism.
Folklore explores these customs as dynamic relationships between old ideas and new, individual creation and collective acceptance, local and global influences. And because folklore concerns the everyday, intimate practices of people, ethnographic field research is a vital part of its practice.
Folklore is a close cousin of several disciplines, including English, anthropology, sociology, linguistics, religious studies, ethnic studies, music and history - and so draws scholars and students from a wide variety of backgrounds.
What can I do with a BA in Folklore?
A degree in folklore prepares you for many paths. Your knowledge of cultural dynamics and cultural diversity, along with skills in interviewing, ethnographic description and cultural interpretation, are excellent grounding for careers in a wide range of fields. Marketing, tourism, and journalism, as well as museums and archives, all employ folklorists. Studying folklore prepares you for graduate work in any of the humanities and social sciences as well as for professional degrees in education, social work or library science or a career in busines. Those who wish to pursue an academic career, go on to complete graduate degrees in folklore or they may combine folklore with a graduate degree in another discipine to prepare them for positions in a variety of other academic departments (e.g. English, Anthropology or Music) or interdisciplinary programs (e.g. Women's Studies or Canadian or American Studies).