Examines charm magic, an utterance simultaneously a command, an appeal, an embodiment of belief, a literary form, a reference to tradition, and a window onto the past. Using all available resources (e.g., charm texts, trial records, material evidence of magical practices) in analyzing the heterologous European magical materials, this course examines the vexed history of ’magic’ as a scholarly category, theories of magic, and historical evidence of charm magic, with an emphasis on northern Europe.
Examines Scandinavian folklore and folk life, with an emphasis on narratives, supernatural beliefs, and material culture from the 17th to the early 20th centuries, and the anti-colonial and nation-building uses of these traditions.
Examines the historical events in Europe A.D. 800 to A.D. 1100, and the resulting heroic legacy in medieval poetry and Icelandic sagas. The course focuses on Viking Age figures as warriors, kings, poets, outlaws and adventurers; pre-Christian religion, the viking raids and the Norse experience in "Vinland" carefully considered. Note: This course, when taken for a letter grade, meets the General Education requirement for Aesthetic and Interpretive Understanding or the Core requirement for Literature and Arts A.
Examines major forms of folklore (e.g., myths, legends, epics, beliefs, rituals, festivals) and the theoretical approaches used in their study. Analyzes how folklore shapes national, regional, and ethnic identities, as well as daily life; considers the function of folklore within the groups that perform and use it, employing materials drawn from a wide range of areas (e.g., South Slavic oral epics, American occupational lore, Northern European ballads, witchcraft in Africa and America, Cajun Mardi Gras). Note: Required of Concentrators and for the Secondary Field in Folklore and Mythology.
Considers the principal heroic monuments of northern Europe, including Beowulf, The Lay of Hildebrand, The Lay of the Nibelungs, The Saga of the Volsungs, and the Sigurd poetry of the Poetic edda, and their interpretations. In this course, we will examine a number of important literary and cultural questions in their specific medieval northern European contexts: What is epic poetry, and what features does epic poetry display across time and space in Germanic northern Europe?