Folk and polular culture ΙΙ

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EIS809 Folk and polular culture ΙΙ

Professor: Cleo GOUGOULIS | Course outline [pdf file]

The course focuses on play and folk tales as traditional forms of recreation which have been increasingly identified with children’s culture and childhood. Divided in two parts, the first part of the course focuses on play, games and toys and the second part examines folk tales. Each part is covered by six lectures.

Part One: The first six lectures present anthropological, psychological, folklorist, educational and historical approaches to play from the 19th century to the present. Drawing on research examples analyzing traditional games and toys as well as digital play in Greece and other countries the discussion focuses on questions such as the relationship between play and cognitive development, or play and socialization with special emphasis on the production, reproduction and negotiation of gender hierarchies and relations of power. Furthermore the controversies raised from the globalization of toys and recent economic and technological developments in the toy and digital play market are examined.

Part Two focuses on interdisciplinary approaches to folk tales from the 19th century to the present. Starting from the discussion of theories dealing with comparative research questions in the context of evolutionary and diffusionist theoretical frameworks the analysis moves on to issues regarding the form, structure, content, context, the ideological and social function of folk tales in the context of recent theories developed by folklore, anthropology psychoanalysis linguistics, literary criticism and cultural studies.

The aim of the course is to help students understand the importance of studying play and folk tales and to familiarize students with recent theoretical approaches. The course comprises laboratory work and tutorials on participant observation research methods and techniques such as interviews and the documentation of play, games, toys and folk tales.

After the completion of the course students are expected:

  • To have mastered classic and recent theoretical and methodological approaches to play, games, toys and folk tales,
  • To be able to conduct individual research or collaborate with other students on small or medium scale research projects.
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