Folklore is the study of ordinary things like food, stories and music.

The Department of Folklore at Memorial University is the only anglophone department in Canada to offer a comprehensive folklore program at all levels, so our electives offering in folklore is quite vast, with courses of interest to just about everyone. 

Folklore Electives

Below is a list of all Folklore electives that anyone can register for, because they have no or just 1 prerequisite. For a complete list of our Folklore courses, see the university calendar

Folklore 1000 is the prerequisite for all other courses in Folklore, except Folklore 1050, Folklore 1060, and those courses cross-listed with other Departments.

Introduction to Folklore
(FOLK 1000)

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.

Note: Same as the former FOLK 2000

Critical Reading and Writing in Newfoundland and Labrador Studies
(FOLK 1005)

Emphasizes learning about how to identify, critically read, and analyze a variety of texts that explore the culture and traditions of everyday life in Newfoundland and Labrador. In addition, special attention will be given to the stages of the writing process, from prewriting exercises to drafts and revisions. All sections of this course follow CRW guidelines available at

Prerequisite: FOLK 1000

Folklore and Culture
(FOLK 1060)

An introduction to traditional expressive behaviour as cultural experience. Readings and lectures will explore the various meanings of “culture” from interdisciplinary perspectives and link them to areas of folklore such as children's folklore, material culture, and occupational folklife.

Folklore Research Methods
(FOLK 2100)

Introduces the resources, tools and methods that folklorists use for primary and secondary research, including interviewing and participant observation.

Prerequisite: FOLK 1000

Newfoundland Society and Culture
(FOLK 2230)

Focuses on the social and cultural aspects of contemporary island Newfoundland.

Note: This course is not applicable towards the Major or Minor in Anthropology, and is the same as Sociology 2230, the former Sociology/Anthropology 2230, the former Anthropology 2230

Prerequisite: FOLK 1000 

Newfoundland and Labrador Folklore
(FOLK 2300)

A survey of the full range of folklore in the province, with an emphasis on community and regional identity.

Note: This course is not applicable towards the Major or Minor in Anthropology, and is the same as the former Anthropology 2300, the former FOLK 3420.
Prerequisite: FOLK 1000 

Folklife Studies
(FOLK 2401)

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.

Note: Same as the former FOLK 3500

Prerequisite: FOLK 1000

Oral Literature From Around the World
(FOLK 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. Special attention is given to traveling motifs that cross geographical boundaries and adapt to global contexts. All sections of this course follow International Studies guidelines available at

Note: Same as the former Anthropology 2500, the former English 3400, the former FOLK 3400, the former Sociology/Anthropology 3400

Prerequisite: FOLK 1000

Ethnography of the University
(FOLK 2700)

Allows students to develop their skills in cultural documentation as they record and analyze Memorial University of Newfoundland’s unofficial culture. Course material covers ethnographic practices and issues as well as the dynamics and history of campus life.

Prerequisite: FOLK 1000

Folklore and Tourism: Foodways, Music, and Ritual
(FOLK 2800)

Examines the role of folklore and folklorists in the global tourism industry. Students will study local practices of foodways, music, and ritual that are being refigured for tourist consumption in Newfoundland and Labrador, and beyond.

Prerequisite: FOLK 1000

Art, Architecture and Medieval Life
(FOLK 3001)

An examination of the 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.

Note: Same as Archaeology 3001, the former History 3020, and Medieval Studies 3001

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

Fictional Worlds: The Folktale
(FOLK 3100) 

A study of fictional folk narratives told worldwide. Students may be asked to read, collect, and/or analyze folktales in order to highlight the significance and function of oral fictional folk narratives as they are performed and understood in various contexts worldwide. All sections of this course follow International Studies guidelines available at

Note: Same as the former FOLK 4200

Prerequisite: FOLK 1000 

Music, Song and Tradition
(FOLK 3200)

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.

Note: Same as Music 3017, the former FOLK 2430

Prerequisite: FOLK 1000

Song Worlds: The Ballad
(FOLK 3250)

Examines traditional balladry (including subgenres such as tragic, comic, romantic, religious, and medieval ballads) in the contexts of global transmission, function, performance, and aesthetics. Differences in dealing with written literature and the literature of tradition will also be addressed. All sections of this course follow International Studies guidelines available at

Note: Same as the former FOLK 4445

Prerequisite: FOLK 1000

Vernacular Drama
(FOLK 3300)

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

Prerequisite: FOLK 1000

Folklore of the Body
(FOLK 3350)

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.

Note: Same as the former FOLK 3611

Prerequisite: FOLK 1000

Sex/Folklore/Power and Globalization
(FOLK 3360)

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 in both local and international settings relate to various folklore genres, including folk language and narrative, music/song/ballad, material culture/space, and festival/ritual and continue to evolve through globalization; and 3) an examination of how social power structures are (de)constructed and negotiated through folk processes involving sexuality/sexual identities. All sections of this course follow International Studies guidelines available at

Prerequisite: FOLK 1000

Language and Play
(FOLK 3450)

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.

Prerequisite: FOLK 1000

Folklore and Literature
(FOLK 3460)

Examines 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 is on the interpretation of literature from the perspective of folk tradition.

Note: Same as English 3460, the former English 4450, the former FOLK 4450

Prerequisite: FOLK 1000

Special Topics in Folklore
(FOLK 3601-3640 Excluding 3606, 3612 and 3618)

Will have topics to be studied announced by the Department.

Prerequisite: FOLK 1000

Supernatural Folklore
(FOLK 3606)

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

Prerequisite: FOLK 1000 

Urban Legend and the Media
(FOLK 3612)

Provides an introduction to the study of one of the most rapidly expanding and exciting areas of folk narrative research, focusing on the main features and themes of urban legends. It examines how, when, where and why stories of this type are communicated via and bound up with a variety of media.

Prerequisite: FOLK 1000

History of Jazz
(FOLK 3618)

Examines the musical, cultural, and historical aspects of jazz from the genre’s African roots and 19th century precursors to today. Through lectures, readings, and guided listening, students will develop an understanding of the diverse artistic practices and complex social history that have shaped the genre. The lives and achievements of influential artists will be explored in the context of ongoing racial injustice and inequity in the music industry and society more broadly.

Note: Same as music 3018

Prerequisite: FOLK 1000

Artifacts from North American Contexts 1600-1900
(FOLK 3650)

Provides students with practical experience in the analytical methods used to identify, date and interpret artifacts from 1600-1900 contexts in North America. Detailed discussions on manufacture, technology, form and function provide the necessary background for a better understanding of concepts relating to artifact identification, provenance, dating techniques, and other current issues. Practical, hands-on exercises will help reinforce weekly topics and teach students the fundamentals required to interpret artifact assemblages from the historic period.

Note: Same as Archaeology 3650, the former Anthropology 3683

Prerequisite: FOLK 1000 

(FOLK 3830)

Focuses on dietary practices in a variety of regional traditions, considering both historical and contemporary approaches to the supply, storage, preparation and serving of food. The whole range of cookery and food habits - from the acquisition of raw materials to the allocation of portions - will be addressed from both theoretical and applied perspectives.

Prerequisite: FOLK 1000 

Material Culture
(FOLK 3850)

An introduction to the study of material culture and the question of why objects are important to us. Using folklore and interdisciplinary approaches, we will look at objects as cultural products, question the influence of objects on behaviours, and address the role of objects in historical and ethnographic research.

Note: Same as Archaeology 3850

Prerequisite: FOLK 1000

Vernacular Architecture 
(FOLK 3860)

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.

Note: Same as Archaeology 3860, the former History 3860

Prerequisite: FOLK 1000

Traditions of Work
(FOLK 3910)

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 labour force will be examined in a variety of contexts.

Prerequisite: FOLK 1000

Folklore, Education and Community
(FOLK 3920)

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.

Prerequisite: FOLK 1000

Folklore and Popular Culture
(FOLK 3930)

An introduction to the study of popular culture, the folk/popular continuum, and the role of folklore in media such as film, television, music, and art.

Note: Same as the former FOLK 2400

Prerequisite: FOLK 1000

Gender and Traditional Culture
(FOLK 3950)

An introduction to the ways in which gender shapes and/or is shaped by traditional culture. Readings and lectures will explore the significance of gender for folklore collection and preservation, examine representations of gender in folklore forms, and analyse creations of gendered traditions.

Prerequisite: FOLK 100 

Cultural Resource Management
(FOLK 4015)

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.

Note: Same as Archaeology 4015, Geography 4015

Other Requirements: Three hours of seminar per week

Prerequisite: FOLK 1000

Studies in Newfoundland and Labrador Folklore
(FOLK 4310)

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.

Note: Same as the former FOLK 3421

Prerequisite: FOLK 1000 and FOLK 2300, or permission of the instructor

Music and Culture
(FOLK 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.

Note: This course is not not applicable towards the Major or Minor in Anthropology, and is the same as the former Anthropology 4440, Music 4040, the former Music 4440

Prerequisite: FOLK 1000, and completion of at least 24 credit hours of university course work. 

Folk Religion 
(FOLK 4460)

Examines how established global religions and new forms of spirituality manifest themselves and are religion as it is "lived" on a daily basis in a variety of local contexts worldwide. It focuses primarily on forms of belief and spirituality that are informally expressed. Drawing upon various cultural contexts, the course addresses such notions as space and time; metaphysical powers; religious material culture, music, and verbal art; and the role and power of the holy person. All sections of this course follow International Studies guidelines available at

Note: Same as Religious Studies 4460, and the former FOLK 4240

Prerequisite: FOLK 1000

Spaces and Places 
(FOLK 4470)

Tackles the question of how globalization and modernity influence our attachments to locality, community, and region; how folklore has contributed to social constructions of place; how folklore is used to turn physical space into cultural place; how folklore must change to meet the needs of today’s global and virtual worlds. All sections of this course follow International Studies guidelines available at

Prerequisite: FOLK 1000

Oral History 
(FOLK 4480)

Examines the narratives of everyday people who tell their life experiences. This course focuses on the collection and analysis of oral narratives and how they can be used to illuminate the past. It considers the power of these narratives to shape constructions of the present and future for both narrators and audiences.

Note: Same as History 4480

Prerequisite: FOLK 1000

Special Topic in Folklore 
(FOLK 4500-4520)

Will have topics to be studied announced by the Department.

Prerequisite: FOLK 1000

Special Research in Folklore 
(FOLK 4600-46150)

Will be determined by the Department.

Prerequisite: FOLK 1000

Directed Reading Course 
(FOLK 4700-4715)

Will be offered as determined by the Department.

Prerequisite: FOLK 1000

Documents Management 
(FOLK 4810)

An introduction to the management of records and documents, both official and private.

Note: Same as the former History 4810

Prerequisite: FOLK 1000