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Folklore and Ethnomusicology

Major in Folklore
Minor in Folklore
Course Descriptions
Related Courses



Distinguished Professor Richard Bauman

Director, Folklore Institute

Distinguished Professor Richard Bauman

Director, Ethnomusicology Institute

Portia Maultsby

College Professor

Henry Glassie

Distinguished Professors

Richard Bauman, Linda Dégh (Emerita)

Laura Boulton Professor

Ruth Stone


Mary Ellen Brown (Emerita), Sandra K. Dolby, Hasan El-Shamy, William Hansen (Emeritus, Classical Studies), Roger L. Janelli, George List (Emeritus, Ethnomusicology), Portia Maultsby, John H. McDowell

Associate Professors

Mellonee Burnim, John W. Johnson, Gregory Schrempp, Beverly J. Stoeltje (Anthropology)

Assistant Professors

Judah Cohen (Jewish Studies), Jason Jackson, Daniel Reed, David Shorter, Pravina Shukla

Adjunct Professors

John Bodnar (History), Raymond DeMallie (Anthropology), Anya Peterson Royce (Anthropology)

Adjunct Associate Professor

Stephanie C. Kane (Criminal Justice), Iris Rosa (African American and African Diaspora Studies)

Adjunct Assistant Professors

Michael Evans (Journalism), Jane E. Goodman (Communication and Culture), Lynn M. Hooker (Hungarian Studies), Charles Sykes (Music, African American and African Diaspora Studies)

Associate Scholar

Inta Gale Carpenter

Academic Specialist

Alan Burdette

Senior Lecturer

Sue Tuohy


Fernando Orejuela

Academic Advising

504 N. Fess Avenue, (812) 855-0389

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Folklore and ethnomusicology study explores the ways in which people make use of tradition in daily life as well as in times of crisis, celebration, and change. It explores the dynamics of tradition and creativity in society. Combining the perspectives of the humanities and social sciences, folklorists examine processes of individual creativity and of communication in diverse social and cultural settings throughout the world. Folklorists study the ways in which human beings seek understanding and involvement through the shaping of tradition to fit new and challenging circumstances. Students use ethnographic, literary, historical, and cultural studies methods to understand higher the meanings and uses of folklore forms in rural, urban, past, and present settings.

The undergraduate program in the Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology (FOLK) reflects the breadth of folklore study and its links to the arts, area studies, and other cultural disciplines. Courses offer analyses of the forms and occasions of folklore performance, the folklore of specific countries and regions, theories and methods of inquiry, human diversity and worldview, and the relevance of folklore study to other fields. Ethnomusicology, the study of music in culture, is a special concentration within the folklore department. Many courses fulfill distribution and culture studies requirements. There are opportunities for direct student-faculty contact through individual and collaborative research projects such as fieldwork projects, specially designed readings courses, practical experience through internships in arts and cultural organizations, and team research. Students may make use of the department's state-of-the-art laboratory for sound-video analysis and production.

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Major in Folklore


The major provides students with a liberal arts background, preparing them for a range of careers, including those involving the arts, education, historic preservation, communication, cross-cultural understanding, and human diversity and relations. Upon entering the program, the student and undergraduate director plan an individualized program of study. Majors may focus on either ethnomusicology or folklore, a specific world area, or on such tracks as cultural conservation, and documentation of artistic performance.


Students must complete a minimum of 30 credit hours in folklore and ethnomusicology courses, including:

  1. Two 300-level courses.
  2. F401.
  3. F497.
  4. One additional 400-level course.
  5. A maximum of 6 credit hours at the 100 level.
  6. A maximum of two approved courses from other disciplines for students completing a single major in folklore. Students completing a double major must consult with advisors in each major regarding stipulations.

Students must also complete the degree requirements of the College of Arts and Sciences.

Double Major

Students may combine the study of folklore and ethnomusicology with degrees in other departments. The requirements for folklore are the same as those of the single major.

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Minor in Folklore

Students must complete at least 15 credit hours in folklore and ethnomusicology courses, including:

  1. One 300-level course.
  2. F401.
  3. Three additional courses with no more than two at the 100 level.

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Course Descriptions

Note: Prerequisites for any 300- or 400-level course will be indicated in the online Schedule of Classes when the course is offered. If no prerequisite or special permission is indicated, the student may assume none is required.

F101 Introduction to Folklore (3 cr.) A & H A view of the main forms and varieties of folklore and folk expression in tales, ballads, gestures, beliefs, games, proverbs, riddles, and traditional arts and crafts. The role of folklore in the life of human beings.

F111 World Music and Culture (3 cr.) A & H Introduction to ethnomusicology and the cross-cultural study of music and culture. Explores music, performance, and ideas from around the world. Analyzes the role music plays in human life, including a variety of social, political, and personal contexts. Music training is not required.

F121 Introduction to Folklife (3 cr.) A & H The idea of folk culture provides a critical and historical means for evaluating and comprehending the human condition in the modern world. Through looking at folk cultures from different places, internationally, and by examining the ways in which culture is made manifest, especially on the landscape, in architecture and arts, this course provides an introduction to the idea of folklife.

F131 Introduction to Folklore in the United States (3 cr.) A & H Folklore and traditional expressive behavior in the United States. Traditional arts, ideas, and practices of folk groups in the United States, including ethnic, occupational, regional, and religious groups.

F205 Folklore in Video and Film (3 cr.) A & H, TFR Acquaints students with a few of the current systems of folk belief diffused, reinforced, and, in some cases, originated by film and video, both in the form of the documentary and the feature-length drama. Aids students in the process of thinking and writing critically about the content, meaning, and social function of these modern forms of information systems.

F210 Myth, Legend, and Popular Science (3 cr.) S & H Compares three genres-myths, legends and popular science-and asks about the ways in which they converge and diverge, and about the features of each that might lead us to believe their claims.

F215 Health and Morbidity in Traditional Cultures (3 cr.) S & H Focuses on concepts of health and illness in traditional cultures and societies. Addresses a variety of cross-cultural situations from the East and the West; special emphasis on Middle Eastern Arab traditions (Moslem, Christian, and Jewish). A student may conduct research on a traditional community in any part of the world.

F225 Forms of Commemoration (3 cr.) A & H Examines forms of commemoration in order to define their essential features and to describe how they operate in society. Highlights folk commemoration, those informal modes of remembrance that are a part of community tradition.

F230 Music in Social Movements (3 cr.) S & H Examines music in socio-political movements, ranging from political and cultural revolutions to government-sponsored campaigns, environmental, and social activism. Explores concepts about the transformative power of music and of organized groups of people, analyzing the practices of movements aimed at changing perception and behavior.

F235 Personal Narratives: A Course in Folklore and Literature (3 cr.) A & H Examines how writers and oral storytellers use personal experience narratives. Though personal narratives are not traditional, they can be studied using the concepts and methods developed to study both folklore and literature.

F252 Folklore and the Humanities (3 cr.) A & H Basic theoretical approaches to the study of folklore, emphasizing the relationship to other humanistic disciplines such as literary and religious studies and history. May be repeated for a total of 6 credits when topics vary.

F253 Folklore and the Social Sciences (3 cr.) S & H Basic theoretical approaches to the study of folklore, emphasizing the relationship to other social science disciplines such as semiotics and anthropology. May be repeated for a total of 6 credits when topics vary.

F290 Myth, Ritual, Symbol (3 cr.) S & H Regardless of culture or religion, the triad of myth, ritual, and symbol encompass the ways all humans come to understand their societies and themselves. This class offers a cross-cultural, humanistic, and interdisciplinary approach to learning how we believe and know through stories, ceremonies, and art.

F301 African Folklore/Folklife/Folk Music (3 cr.) A & H, CSA Folklore, folklife, or folk music as aspects of African culture. The functions of folklore forms and performances within traditional societies and emergent nations. May be repeated once when topics vary.

F305 Asian Folklore/Folklife/Folk Music (3 cr.) A & H, CSA Forms and functions of folklore, folklife, or folk music in the traditional and developing societies of Asia. Folklore as a reflection of culture. Relationship between folklore forms and belief systems in Asia. May be repeated once when topics vary.

F307 Middle Eastern Folklore/Folklife/Folk Music (3 cr.) A & H, CSA Folk traditions of the Arabic, Persian- and Turkish-speaking peoples, including folk festivals, rituals, folk dances, music, theatre, and verbal behaviors; the influence of Islam. May be repeated for a total of 6 credits when topics vary.

F308 Middle Eastern and Arab Mythology (3 cr.) A & H Examines "mythological" belief systems and related manifestations that exist as quasi formal religious ideologies in Middle Eastern communities. Emphasis is placed on Arab and Moslem groups. (Other groups may be selected for the student's research. Arabic language may be selected on individual basis for reading/research).

F312 European Folklore/Folklife/Folk Music (3 cr.) A & H, CSB Expressions of regional cultures and emerging nations of Europe. Social functions of folklore and folk music in rural and urban communities. May be repeated for a total of 6 credits when topics vary.

F315 Latin American Folklore/Folklife/ Folk Music (3 cr.) A & H, CSA Cultural and functional analysis of traditional folklore or music genres developed in the cultures of Latin America. Emphasis on origin and the diffusion of folklore, folklife, and folk music as well as the peoples. May be repeated once when topics vary.

F320 Pacific Folklore/Folklife/Folk Music (3 cr.) A & H, CSA Folklore, folklife, music, and dance of Australia, New Zealand, and native Oceanic societies. Topics include the cultures of aboriginal and settler populations, retention and adaptation of aboriginal materials, and the emergence of "native" traditions among the settler and immigrant groups. May be repeated once when topics vary.

F351 North American Folklore/Folklife/Folk Music (3 cr.) A & H, CSA Folk and popular traditions of the United States and Canada. Topics include the social base of American folklore, prominent genres of American folklore, folklife, and folk music, national or regional character, and American folk style. May be repeated once when topics vary.

F352 Native American Folklore/Folklife/ Folk Music (3 cr.) A & H, CSA Comparative examination of various verbal, musical, and dance forms of Native American societies. Consideration of cultural systems of Native Americans within the context of general American culture. May be repeated once when topics vary.

F353 Native American Film and Video (3 cr.) S & H, CSA Introduction to the study of Native American images and representations. Focuses on ethnographic, documentary, animated, and feature films from 1920 to the present. Surveying the themes of assimilation, contemporary politics, and religiosity, students will watch films, read articles, and response to both mediums critically.

F354 African American Folklore/Folklife/Folk Music (3 cr.) A & H, CSA African American culture in the United States viewed in terms of history and social change. Folklore, folk music, and oral history as means of illuminating black culture and history. May be repeated once when topics vary.

F356 Chicano Folklore/Folklife/Folk Music (3 cr.) A & H, CSA The folk traditions of Mexican Americans as a reflection of the historical experience and cultural identity of this people within the United States. Mexican heritage, Anglo and black influences, and the blending of these elements into a unique cultural entity. May be repeated once when topics vary.

F358 Jewish Folklore/Folklife/Folk Music (3 cr.) A & H, CSA Study of Jewish experience throughout the ages as reflected in the folklore of biblical, talmudic, and midrashic materials and in medieval and contemporary settings, including America. Analysis of folkloric expression in religion, literature, humor, music, folklife, and art. May be repeated once when topics vary.

F360 Indiana Folklore/Folklife/Folk Music (3 cr.) A & H, CSA Survey of folklore, folklife, or folk music of Indiana. Students are encouraged to do fieldwork in the state. May be repeated once when topics vary.

F361 Traditional Arts Indiana: Documenting Indiana Traditions (3 cr.) CSA Through hands-on activities, students will explore Indiana's cultural diversity and learn cultural documentation and presentation techniques, as they identify, document, and present the traditional arts. Topics vary. Focuses each year on specific folk groups, community, or genre of Indiana folklore. May be repeated with a different topic for a total of 6 credit hours.

F363 Women's Folklore/Folklife/Folk Music (3 cr.) A & H, CSA Focuses on women's folk traditions in terms of life cycle and role and explores the range of women's occupations and related traditional knowledge. Looks at women as traditional verbal, visual, or musical artists. May be repeated once when topics vary.

F364 Children's Folklore/Folklife/Folk Music (3 cr.) A & H, CSA The traditional rhymes, riddles, stories, games, folklife, or music associated with "the culture of childhood." The role these forms play in peer-group activity and in the social and cognitive development of the child. May be repeated once when topics vary.

F369 Aliens, Psychics, and Ghosts (3 cr.) A & H How do people make sense of their worlds and experiences? The study of folklore provides a unique answer through the study of narrative, symbolic expression, and discourse analysis. This course brings folk beliefs into conversation with scientific method, and examines the different ways in which people come to view or understand the uncanny.

F389 Hip-Hop Music and Culture (3 cr.) A & H, CSA P: Junior or senior standing. Examines rap music as artistic and sociological phenomena with emphasis on its historical and political contexts. Discussions include the coexistence of various rap styles, their appropriation by the music industry, and controversies resulting from the exploitation of hard core rap as a commodity for national and global consumption.

F400 Individual Study in Folklore (1-3 cr.) P: Must have prior arrangement with and consent of the faculty member(s) supervising research. May include fieldwork or library research components. May be repeated for up to 6 credit hours with the permission of the chair.

F401 Methods and Theories (3 cr.) S & H Introduces students to the main methods and theories in the two fields composing Folklore and Ethnomusicology. Explores both the common ground linking these fields and some key areas of difference, delving into basic aspects of method and theory as practiced by folklorists and ethnomusicologists.

F402 Traditional Arts Indiana (1-3 cr.) Designed as a practicum for students to work collaboratively in applying the methods and approaches of folklore studies to public needs and public programs. Students will engage in a variety of outreach projects linking the university to the larger community in the areas of public arts and culture and cultural documentation. May be repeated once when topics vary.

F403 Practicum in Folklore/Ethnomusicology (1-3 cr.) P: Must have prior arrangement with and consent of the faculty member(s) supervising work. Supervised work in public programs such as arts agencies, museums, historical commissions, and archives, including those housed at IU. Relevant readings and written report required. May be repeated for up to 6 credit hours with permission of chair.

F404 Topics in Folklore/Folklife/Folk Music (3 cr.) A & H Explores in depth a particular topic in the study of folklore, folklife, or music. Courses of an unusual, integrative, or experimental nature. May be repeated for a total of 6 credits when topics vary.

F405 Studying Ethnomusicology (3 cr.) S & H Introduces the field of ethnomusicology through reading, writing, and ethnomusicological research. Emphasizes the study of music in social contexts, and the study of society from a musical perspective. Designed for students interested in the study of music in human life as well as in cross-cultural approaches to the study of music and culture.

F410 Multimedia in Ethnomusicology (3 cr.) A & H This course explores the use of multimedia technology in five basic areas of ethnographic activity: Field research, laboratory research (transcription and analysis), preservation, presentation, and publication. Knowledge of technological concepts and skill development in the use of various technologies are pursued through a project-based approach, which emphasizes learning by doing. Evaluation is based on demonstration of competencies through successful completion of projects. The class is structured to include both lecture and lab components.

F420 Forms of Folklore/Folklife/Folk Music (3 cr.) A & H Examination of selected forms of folklore, folk music, craft, or performance, with attention given to content, form, and function of the selected forms as well as the variety of theories and methodologies employed in their study. May be repeated twice when topics vary.

F430 Folklore and Related Disciplines (3 cr.) S & H Advanced studies of folklore and/ or ethnomusicology in relationship to other disciplines. Focuses on such interdisciplinary topics as folklore and literature, folklore and psychology, folklore and history, folklore and religion, or folklore, culture, and society. May be repeated twice when topics vary.

F440 Folklife and Material Culture Studies (3 cr.) A & H The perspective of folklife studies. Material culture presented within the context of folklife, with attention to the role of folk museums, folklife research methods, and the history of folklife research. May be repeated once when topics vary.

F450 Music in Religious Thought and Experience (3 cr.) Explores the roles of music in select religious traditions of the world. Comparative analysis of relationships between music and ritual, religious music and popular culture, sacred music and mass media, music and religious identity, and music and trance. Focus on major world religious traditions, local traditions, and combinations thereof.

F492 Traditional Musical Instruments (3 cr.) A & H Classification, distribution, and diffusion of folk and traditional musical instruments. Construction and performance practices. Relation to cultural and physical environment. Demonstration with instruments in the collection of the Mathers Museum.

F494 Transcription and Analysis of Traditional Music (3 cr.) A & H P: Consent of instructor. Survey of theories and methods applied in transcription, analysis, and classification of traditional music. Application of methods to selected recordings.

F497 Advanced Seminar (3 r.) S & H This is the final integrating course in the department, required of all majors and open to qualified students in other departments, with the instructor's approval. Topics of individual research will vary.

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Related Courses

African American and African Diaspora Studies
A112 Black Music of Two Worlds (3 cr.) A & H, CSA
A290 Sociocultural Perspective of Afro-American Music (3 cr.) A & H, CSA
A392 Afro-American Folklore (3 cr.) A & H, CSA
A489 Rap Music (3 cr.) A & H, CSA
A496 Black Religious Music (3 cr.) A & H, CSA

Central Eurasian Studies
U450 Turkish Oral Literature (3 cr.) A & H

Classical Studies
C205 Classical Mythology (3 cr.) A & H, CSA
C405 Comparative Mythology (3 cr.) A & H

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