Office of the Registrar
Faculty of Arts (2011/2012)
9.15 Folklore

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.

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.

9.15.1 General Degree

Folklore 1000 (or 2000) is recommended as an introductory course for all other courses in Folklore.

9.15.2 Major in Folklore

A student registered to major in Folklore must take a minimum of 36 credit hours in courses as follows:

  1. Eighteen required credit hours: 1000 (or 2000), 2100, 2300, 2401, 2500, 4470;

  2. Six credit hours from Group A - Folk Literature Genres: 3100, 3200, 3250, 3300, 3450, 3612, 3618;

  3. Six credit hours from Group B - Folklife Genres: 3001, 3350, 3591, 3606, 3650, 3700, 3713, 3820, 3830, 3850, 3860, 3870, 4460;

  4. Six credit hours from Group C - Topics: not more than 3 of which can be taken from courses at the 1000 level: 1050, 1060, 2230, 2700, 3350, 3360, 3460, 3591, 3601, 3613, 3618, 3700, 3714, 3800, 3900, 3910, 3920, 3930, 3940, 3950, 4015, 4100, 4300, 4310, 4320, 4350, 4360, 4370, 4400, 4410, 4420, 4440, 4480, 4810.

Students who declare a major in Folklore should have completed Folklore 1000 (or 2000); it is recommended that students intending to major in Folklore take Folklore 2100 as early in their programs as possible.

All students who major in Folklore will be assisted by a faculty advisor who will help them in planning their academic program. Consequently, it is essential that students consult with the Department at an early stage in their studies.

9.15.3 Minor in Folklore

A student declaring a minor in Folklore must take a minimum of 24 credit hours including:

  1. Fifteen required credit hours: 1000 (or 2000), 2100, 2300, 2401, 2500;

  2. Nine additional credit hours in Folklore - not more than 3 of which can be taken from courses at the 1000 level.

Students who declare a minor in Folklore should have completed Folklore 1000 (or 2000); it is recommended that students intending to minor in Folklore take Folklore 2100 as early in their programs as possible.

9.15.4 Honours Degree in Folklore

See General Regulations for Honours Degree. An Honours student in Folklore must complete a minimum of 60 credit hours, including the 36 as prescribed for the Major in Folklore. The remaining courses will normally include one of the following options:

  1. Folklore 400X

  2. Folklore 4998

  3. Folklore 4999

9.15.5 Joint Honours Degree in Folklore and Another Major Discipline

See General Regulations for Honours Degrees. A minimum of 84 credit hours in the two subjects selected, with the approval of the Heads of both Departments, is required.

Of the credit hours required in the two subjects selected, not fewer than 42, and not more than 51, must come from each discipline. The student may choose the discipline in which to complete the Honours Essay or the Comprehensive Examination. If the student chooses the 400X option, the Folklore component will consist of the major in Folklore plus 400X, for a maximum of 51 credit hours in Folklore. Students are advised to choose an option as soon as possible after declaring the second subject of the Joint Honours degree.

9.15.6 Course Descriptions

In accordance with Senate's Policy Regarding Inactive Courses, the course descriptions for courses which have not been offered in the previous three academic years and which are not scheduled to be offered in the current academic year have been removed from the following listing. For information about any of these inactive courses, please contact the Head of the Department.

Folklore courses are designated by FOLK.


Introduction to Folklore

explores the role of tradition in communication, art and society. Reading assignments and audiovisual material will emphasize the use of folklore in context. Students will analyse traditions in their own lives through special assignments.


Credit may be obtained for only one of FOLK 1000 and 2000


Folklore Studies

- inactive course.


Folklore and Culture

- inactive course.


Introduction to Folklore

- inactive course.


Folklore Research Methods

introduces the resources, tools and methods that folklorists use for primary and secondary research, including interviewing and participant observation. This course qualifies as a Research/Writing course.


It is strongly recommended that majors and minors take this course before taking 3000 and 4000 level courses.


Newfoundland Society and Culture

(same as Sociology/Anthropology 2230) examines the Sociology and Anthropology of the Island of Newfoundland. The focus is on social and cultural aspects of contemporary island Newfoundland.


Credit may be obtained for only one of FOLK 2230 and Sociology/Anthropology 2230.


Newfoundland and Labrador Folklore

(same as the former Anthropology 2300) is a survey of the full range of folklore in the province, with an emphasis on community and regional identity.


Credit may be obtained for only one of FOLK 2300, the former FOLK 3420, and the former Anthropology 2300.


Folklife Studies

examines the interweaving of traditional elements in the tangible and intangible cultural heritage of various cultures. These may include holiday customs, rites of passage, folk religion, home remedies, clothing, food and art.


Credit may be obtained for only one of FOLK 2401 and the former FOLK 3500.


Oral Literature

(same as the former Anthropology 2500) focuses on the analysis of folk literature - narrative, poetry and song, drama, and speech from around the world - through textual, comparative and contextual methods.


Credit may be obtained for only one of FOLK 2500, the former Anthropology 2500, the former FOLK 3400, the former English 3400, and the former Sociology/Anthropology 3400.


Ethnography of the University

allows students to develop their skills in cultural documentation as they work within a team-based approach to record and analyse Memorial University’s unofficial culture. Course readings cover ethnographic practices and issues as well as the dynamics of student and work culture. Through a series of hands on fieldwork assignments students engage in research, cultural description, analytic writing and presentation. In documenting local university culture, they learn about the variety, persistence, and flexibility of traditional culture as it lives in the present. This course qualifies as a Research/Writing course.


Art, Architecture and Medieval Life

(same as Medieval Studies 3001, History 3020, Archaeology 3001) is an examination of 7the development of medieval art and architecture and of the ways in which they mirror various aspects of life in the Middle Ages. This course will include a discussion of art and architecture in the countryside, in the town, in the castle, in the cathedral and in the cloister.


1. It is recommended, but not obligatory, that students should have successfully completed one of the following courses: Archaeology 2480, FOLK 1000 or 2000, History 2320/Medieval Studies 2001, History 2330/Medieval Studies 2002, Medieval Studies 2000.

2.Credit may be obtained for only one of FOLK 3001, Medieval Studies 3001, History 3020, and Archaeology 3001.


Fictional Worlds: The Folktale

is a study of fictional folk narratives told worldwide. Students may be asked to read, collect, and/or analyze folktales.


Credit may be obtained for only one of FOLK 3100 and the former FOLK 4200.


Music, Song and Tradition

(same as Music 3017) introduces students to a wide range of traditional song. Students will hear and discuss local, regional and international examples. Ability to read music or familiarity with music theory not required.


Credit may be obtained for only one of FOLK 3200, Music 3017, and the former FOLK 2430.


Song Worlds: The Ballad

examines traditional balladry (including subgenres such as tragic, comic, romantic, religious, and medieval ballads) in the contexts of transmission, function, performance, and aesthetics. Differences in dealing with written literature and the literature of tradition will also be addressed.


Credit may be obtained for only one of FOLK 3250 and the former FOLK 4445.


Vernacular Drama

is a survey of traditional drama and its study with an emphasis on North America and Great Britain from social function, performance, and aesthetic perspectives.


Folklore of the Body

examines how the body is socially constructed and how it is represented through folklore genres from narrative, to material culture and custom. It considers how culture is both inscribed on the body and how it is bodily performed.


Credit may be obtained for only one of FOLK 3350 and the former FOLK 3611.



is 1) an introduction to the many ways that sexual identities are displayed, developed, and categorized through informal and everyday cultural performances, i.e., folklore; 2) a study of how such performances relate to various folklore genres, including folk language and narrative, music/song/ballad, material culture/space, and festival/ritual; and 3) an examination of how social power structures are (de)constructed and negotiated through folk processes involving sexuality/sexual identities.


Language and Play

examines the role of play in the folklore of children and adults with particular attention to games, rhymes, proverbs and other small genres of wordplay.


Folklore and Literature

(same as English 3460) will examine the interrelationships among folklore forms and literary genres, the influence of oral traditions on written literatures, and consider the theoretical issues raised by these interrelationships. The primary emphasis will be on the interpretation of literature from the perspective of folk tradition. Extensive reading, oral and written reports will be required.


Credit may be obtained for only one of FOLK/English 3460 and the former FOLK/English 4450.


Collections Management

(same as Archaeology 3591) will introduce students to the problems of collections storage with respect to environment, materials and artifact access. Students will become familiar with the materials encountered in archaeological and ethnographic collections. The storage of specific historic and prehistoric collections from Newfoundland and Labrador will be examined with the purpose of providing practical examples of methodology.


Credit may be obtained for only one of FOLK 3591 and Archaeology 3591.

3601-3640 (Excluding 3606, 3612 and 3618)

Special Topic in Folklore

will have topics to be studied announced by the Department.


Supernatural Folklore

focuses on the ethnography of belief systems. Students examine patterns of belief and the features of supernatural folklore.


Urban Legend

provides an introduction to the study of one of the most rapidly expanding and exciting areas of folk narrative research. The course looks at the main features of the urban legend and the topics they cover. Examination is also made as to how, when, where and why stories of this type are used, including their incorporation into television programs, films and literature.


Jazz and Blues: The Roots of Popular Music

- inactive course


Artifacts of Colonial America

(same as Archaeology 3650) provides students with practical experience in the analytical methods used to identify, date and interpret the different types of artifacts encountered on seventeenth- and eighteenth-century archaeological sites in Colonial North America. In-depth discussions on manufacture, technology, form and function provide the necessary background for a better understanding of concepts relating to artifact identification, provenance, dating techniques, theoretical approaches and other current issues.


Credit may be obtained for only one of FOLK 3650, Archaeology 3650 and either of the former Anthropology 3683 or Archaeology 3683.


Museums and Historic Sites

(same as Archaeology 3710) is an introduction to museums and historic sites, their work, and their role in societies past and present. Various types of museums and historic sites will be discussed using local, national and international examples, looking at their collections and exhibitions policies. Practical issues will also be discussed; these include museum exhibit display techniques, public programming, virtual museums, and the museum profession.


Credit may be obtained for only one of FOLK 3700 and Archaeology 3710.


Special Topics in Folklore

is available only as part of the Harlow Campus Semester.


Fieldwork in Vernacular Architecture: Drawings and Photography

- inactive course.


Folk Custom

provides an introduction to the study of the forms of British, European, and North American folk custom. Issues for discussion will include the diffusion, functions, maintenance and invention of calendar, seasonal, occupational, and life-cycle customs. As such, we will review much of the new scholarship which has shifted folkloristic attention from origins of customs to the analysis of custom as symbolic behaviour. Current work on the study of custom has examined, for example, the legitimation of class interests via traditional customs, the play of metaphor in festivals, and the symbolic statement of social obligations through life-cycle ritual.


Credit may be obtained for only one of FOLK 3820 and the former FOLK 3600.



as a term embraces a variety of traditions which focus on dietary practices as well as the preparation and allocation of food. As an introduction to foodways, the course will begin by looking at a variety of regional foods. In addition, both historical and contemporary approaches to the supply, storage, preparation and serving of food will be considered. In fact, we will be looking, from both practical and theoretical perspectives, at the whole range of cookery and food habits - from the acquisition of raw materials to the allocation of portions.


Material Culture

(same as Archaeology 3850) is an examination of various interpretive theories of objects as cultural products. Problems of defining the artifact will be discussed, as well as the strengths and limitations of using objects in historical and ethnographic research. Questions discussed include form, design, decoration, diffusion, and the role of the creator of the object. Besides folkloristic work on material culture, a variety of interdisciplinary approaches will be considered. Emphasis will be on the material folk culture of Newfoundland and Labrador and its European antecedents.


Credit may be obtained for only one of FOLK 3850 and Archaeology 3850.


Vernacular Architecture

(same as Archaeology 3860 and History 3860) is a historical survey of vernacular architectural forms in various regions of North America, with attention to Newfoundland and Labrador materials. Issues discussed include the relationship of house form and culture, the concepts of antecedents, diffusion, innovation and evolution of building forms and technologies, and the siting of buildings in the landscape. Dwelling houses, outbuildings, churches and industrial vernacular architecture will be included.


Credit may be obtained for only one of FOLK 3860, Archaeology 3860, and History 3860.


An Introduction to the History of Western Architecture Since the Renaissance

- inactive course.


Newfoundland and Labrador Vernacular Furnishings

(same as Archaeology 3900) is an introduction to the furnishings of the Newfoundland and Labrador domestic interior, involving case studies from public and private collections. The focus of the course will be on furniture, looking at both urban and outport forms. The cultural context of typical furnishings will be discussed, as well as details of furniture form and construction. While furniture will be emphasized, other objects of domestic material culture may be included: glass, ceramics, metalware and textiles.


Credit may be obtained for only one of FOLK 3900 and Archaeology 3900.


Traditions of Work

concerns the development and role of tradition in occupational groups and work settings. Verbal and non-verbal codes including narratives, joking relationships, pranks, material culture, and labourlore will be examined in a variety of contexts.


Folklore and Education

familiarizes students with the function of Folklore in the educational process. Emphasis will be on cultural transmission and cultural learning inside and outside the K-12 classroom.


Folklore and Popular Culture

is an examination of the transitional processes involved in the development of folk societies to mass cultures with regard to folklore and the products of popular culture. In addition, sensory and technological media theories will be scrutinized and evaluated in conjunction with cultural comparisons of the qualities and functions of: folksong, disc recordings and the radio; folktales, television melodrama and popular film; folk art and popular "techno-art" forms.


Credit may be obtained for only one of FOLK 3930 and the former FOLK 2400.


Folklore in Medieval Society

- inactive course.


Women and Traditional Culture

is an introduction to the ways in which women shape and/or are shaped by traditional culture. Readings and lectures will explore roles and contributions of women as folklore collectors, examine representations of women in folklore forms, and analyse women's creation of their own traditions.


Cultural Resource Management

(same as Archaeology 4015 and Geography 4015) is a study of cultural resource management: the definition and recognition of cultural resources, the application of policy in managing cultural resources, and the identification and consideration of contemporary issues in cultural resource management. This course will have three hours of lecture and three hours of seminar per week.


Credit may be obtained for only one of FOLK 4015, Archaeology 4015, and Geography 4015


History and Memory

(same as History 4100) is a course which recognizes that memory is not one of the natural parts of ourselves, nor is remembering a way of connecting with a single reference point in a social reality outside ourselves. These things are socially determined. Starting here, this course is designed to have students reflect on what they know about the past and how they know about it. The class will examine how individual and social memory works, concentrating on particular historical contexts.


Credit may be obtained for only one of History 4100 and the former History 4569.


Folklore of Canada

- inactive course.


Studies in Newfoundland and Labrador Folklore

studies rural and urban Newfoundland and Labrador with specific reference to a culture in transition. Folklore is examined as one of the channels through which a people maintain, change and adapt various cultural patterns.

Prerequisite: FOLK 2300.


Credit may be obtained for only one of FOLK 4310 and the former FOLK 3421.


Folklore of the United States

- inactive course.


Folklore of the British Isles

- inactive course.


Traditional Culture of Scotland

- inactive course.


Culture and Traditions of Ireland

- inactive course.


Traditional Culture of French-Newfoundlanders

- inactive course.


Folklore of France

- inactive course.


French Folklore in the New World

- inactive course.


Music and Culture

(same as the former Anthropology 4440 and Music 4440) examines traditional music as an aspect of human behaviour in Western and non-European cultures. Examination of the functions and uses of music; folk-popular-art music distinctions; and the relation of style to content. Outside reading, class exercises and individual reports will be required.


Credit may be obtained for only one of FOLK 4440, Music 4440, and the former Anthropology 4440.


Folk Religion

(same as Religious Studies 4460) is an examination of folk responses to organized religion, surveying the religious forms and interpretations not specifically delineated by Theology. Areas of focus include: folk religious concepts of space and time; religion and healing; witchcraft and the devil; religious folk art and music; religious verbal art; the role and power of the holy person; the saint system; and community social activities sponsored by the church. A discussion of some current popular religious movements will also be included. Attention will be given to material in the MUN Folklore and Language Archive, and research based on field data will be encouraged.


Credit may be obtained for only one of FOLK 4460, Religious Studies 4460, and the former FOLK 4240.


Spaces and Places

critically examines how physical space is transformed into cultural place through folklore. The study of region will be used to introduce scholarship on a number of issues central to contemporary folkloristics: sense of place, space and place analysis, space and place as theory, critical regionalism, nationalism and vernacular regionalisms. Students will learn how folklore and localization interact to counter fears and assumptions regarding globalization, homogenization, and the loss of local or regional identities.


Oral History

(same as History 4480) is a seminar which deals with the uses of oral sources, particularly those which have a traditional dimension, for the study of history. The uses of oral testimony in the study of traditional modes of life and work, and in social and political history will be discussed.


Credit may be obtained for only one of FOLK 4480 and History 4480.


Special Topic in Folklore

will have topics to be studied announced by the Department.


Special Research in Folklore

will be determined by the Department.


Directed Reading Course

will be offered as determined by the Department.


Documents Management

(same as History 4810) is an introduction to the management of records and documents, both official and private.


Credit may be obtained for only one of FOLK 4810 and History 4810.


Folklore in the Community Context

- inactive course.


Honours Comprehensive Examination

may be written or oral, or a combination of both (3 credit hours).


Honours Essay

(3 credit hours) is required as part of the Honours program.