In the first semester of the 2018-19 academic year the Scottish Heritage USA Visiting Lecturer in Scottish Gaelic Studies, Dr. Tiber Falzett, will teach two folklore classes using Scottish Gaelic content materials. We are very excited about these two new additions to the UNC curriculum and want to share the news with you!
- English/Folklore 202: Introduction to Folklore.
- English 310: Fairy Tales.
The course summary for Introduction to Folklore is as follows:
This course introduces students to the principles and practices of folklore through the veritable treasure trove of Scottish Gaelic cultural heritage. Through ethnographic documentary evidence from twentieth- and twenty-first century fieldwork carried out on both sides of the Atlantic, our focus here is given to traditions orally and aurally expressed and transmitted at the hearthside of the taigh céilidh (visiting-house) over multiple generations. From the shores of Scotland’s Highlands and Hebrides and Canada’s Maritime Provinces to the sand hills of North Carolina’s Cape Fear River students will trace the survival, adaptation, demise and revival of various forms of shared knowledge among Gaels at home and in the diaspora.
Topics will include but are not limited to the human landscape, place and personal names, supernatural belief, ritual year, songs, folktales, legends, as well as music and dance, each functioning as driving forces in the communication of collective identity and the forging of social bonds. Through such rooted experience within this internationally endangered ethnolinguistic group, students will deepen their understanding of folklore’s role in both deciphering the past and determining its relevance in the present as key propositions towards unpacking our contemporary world.
The course summary for Fairy Tales is as follows:
This course introduces students to the Scottish Gaelic folktale, among the richest corpuses of oral narrative in Europe, by presenting Gaelic oral texts in English-translation within international comparative contexts, from Iceland to Japan, from Ancient Greece to the Appalachians and beyond. In so doing, students will hone their skills in the comparative analysis of these tales as documented within modern Scottish Gaelic oral tradition and their relationship to international and historical counterparts through various methodologies belonging to folkloristics and traditional narrative scholarship.
Beginning with the pioneering work of such luminaries as the Victorian polymath John Francis Campbell of Islay (1821-1885) and his early comparative approach to what he coined storyology, students will discover how the ambitious goal of capturing ‘the exact language’ from storytellers in Scotland’s Highlands and Hebrides was ground-breaking at a time when others, following the trends set by the Brothers Grimm, were frequently dealing in ‘polished’ altered texts. With the advent of sound-recording technologies the documented corpus continued to grow throughout the twentieth century as the storytellers and the linguistic communities that fostered the performance, maintenance, and transmission of these narratives for countless generations were in steady decline.
Documentary efforts also expanded to Scottish Gaelic-speaking communities across the Atlantic in the Canadian diaspora, where certain extraordinary storytellers maintained their repertoires into the twenty-first century. Ultimately, tellers and audiences alike cherished these folktales as popular entertainment of near universal appeal, capable of transporting all who listened to fantastic worlds of magic inhabited by gift-bestowing fairies, clever foxes, as well as dragons and their slayers.
We will announce details about the courses for the second semester later, when we have them.