GRADUATE DIPLOMA IN AUSTRALIAN FOLKLIFE

Course Description

This innovative Graduate Diploma is a program of Curtin University of Technology, Western Australia. Drawing on existing courses and research on folklore and folklife conducted by the Australian Studies Program at Curtin and folklore expertise around the country, the course is available nationally and internationally by distance delivery.

The degree consists of six units, as follows.

  1. Introduction to Folklore 
  2. Folklore and Folklife Fieldwork 
  3. Advanced Issues in Folklore and Folklife
  4. Folklife: A Multicultural Perspective 
  5. Applied Folklore
  6. Community Folk Heritage
  • Flexible delivery means that students may take the units that constitute the degree at their own pace.
  • Units may also be taken independently for personal interest and/or professional reasons.
  • Students may take the course through either of the partner institutions or through Open Learning Australia.

Folklore and Folklife

Folklore and folklife (the terms are used interchangeably) involves the study of informal culture - verbal, non- verbal, behavioral and material. Although this course concentrates on the Australian experience, folklore is a phenomenon found in all societies in all places and in all times. The Graduate Diploma in Australian Folklife emphasises the application of the understandings gained from a study of folklife to a wide variety of social, cultural, organisational and human needs. It will be of interest to anyone wishing to understand some fundamentals of the human condition and especially to professionals involved in human services, heritage studies, organisational behaviour, human resources, tourism, museology, cultural planning, librarianship and teaching.

Structure of the Graduate Diploma

Introductory Units
- these are taken as prerequisites or as co-requisites with the three Advanced units.

  1. Introduction to Folklore
  2. Australian Folklife: A Multicultural Perspective
  3. Fieldwork

Advanced Units

  1. Folk Cultural Heritage
  2. Applied Folklore
  3. Advanced Issues in Folklore and Folklife

1. INTRODUCTION TO FOLKLORE

UNIT TITLE

An Introduction to Folklore

CONTENT

Students are introduced to the basic concepts, theories, terminology and methodologies of modern folklore and folklife studies. The unit concentrates on 'folk' and 'lore', folklore and the past, contemporary folklore, family folklore, worklore and the lore of childhood and adolescence.

ASSESSMENT

6 chapter exercises for 10% each, a total of 60% Final essay 2500-3000 words for 40%

SET TEXTS

Set text provided as reader

AIMS, OBJECTIVES AND LEARNING OUTCOMES

To introduce students to the basic concepts and methods of contemporary folkloristics. Students will engage with the definitions of 'folklore' and will examine these definitions in relation to a number of important facets of past and present folklore and folklife.

DETAILED CONTENT

1 Folk and lore
2 Folklore and the past
3 Folklore and the present
4 Family Folklore
5 The Folklore of Childhood and Youth
6 The Folklore of Work
7 Final Assignment
8 Conclusions

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2. FOLKLIFE: A MULTICULTURAL PERSPECTIVE

UNIT TITLE

Folklife: A Multicultural Perspective

CONTENT

An examination of Australian folklife from a multicultural perceptive. Students are introduced to the diversity of Australia's ethnic folk heritage and guided in their consideration of the various folkloric issues involved. The unit builds on the matters covered in the units 'Introduction to Folklore' and 'Fieldwork' and include consideration of various genres, including material culture, music, dance, custom, speech and tale.

ASSESSMENT

Assignment 1: 13 X 300 word responses
Assignment 2: Fieldwork project and essay (total 3000 words)

SET TEXTS

Seal, G. The Hidden Culture (2nd. Edn. 1996) Readings and extracts from Oxford Companion to Australian Folklore provided.

AIMS, OBJECTIVES AND LEARNING OUTCOMES

Students will attain an appreciation of the diversity of Australian folk cultures in languages other than English and will have the opportunity to involve themselves in appropriate, accessible activities.

DETAILED CONTENT

1. Introduction and Overview
2. Australia's International Folk Heritage
3. International Studies in Folk Culture
4. Folk music and dance in multicultural Australia: the colonial heritage
5. Folk music and dance in multicultural Australia: the contemporary scene
6. Folk art in multicultural Australia
7. Traditional building and handcrafts in multicultural Australia
8. Folk custom, ritual and belief in multicultural Australia
9. Festivals and celebrations in multicultural Australia
10. Children's folk culture in multicultural Australia
11. Folk speech in multicultural Australia
12. Storytelling and humour in multicultural Australia 13. Foodways in multicultural Australia

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3. FOLKLORE FIELDWORK

UNIT TITLE

Folklore Fieldwork

CONTENT

This Fieldwork unit guides students in the design, preparation, execution and completion of a significant folklore/folklife collecting project and an accompanying 'collect yourself' exercise. Topics covered include establishing rapport with informants, devising interviews and questionnaires, other fieldwork methods, transcription, ethics and legalities, archiving and preparation of the final report.

ASSESSMENT

Exercise 1: 30% (due at end of unit)
Exercise 2: 70% (due at end of unit)

SET TEXTS of their own.

Set text provided as reader

SPECIAL REQUIREMENTS

Willingness and ability to engage with human groups.

AIMS, OBJECTIVES AND LEARNING OUTCOMES

To introduce students to the skills and techniques of folkloristic ethnography. On completion, students will have an understanding of the fieldwork methods and skills of folklore and folklife and will have had the opportunity to devise, execute and write up a fieldwork project

DETAILED CONTENT

This study unit consists of two major projects carried out over the duration of the unit, with the final results submitted at the end. Assignment 1 is a 'Collect Yourself' exercise designed to make students aware of the folklore that you bear. It is completed over the duration of the unit and submitted at the end. Assignment 2 is a collecting project that involves learning and applying the basics of fieldwork practice. It involves constructing and carrying out a fieldwork project and submitting the results at the end of the unit in (usually) a report format. Before beginning though, students are asked to complete and submit to the tutor within two weeks of commencing this unit a 'Fieldwork Project Feasibility Form' that allows BOTH student and the tutor to determine the practicality of the proposed project before it begins When completed, fieldwork will be written up in a format that is most appropriate for the subject matter - usually a report - and submitted, together with any other relevant materials such as photographs, audio/video tapes, artefacts, etc., for final assessment.

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APPLIED FOLKLORE

UNIT TITLE

Applied Folklore

CONTENT

Applied Folklore is an Advanced unit in the Graduate Diploma that builds on the knowledge and understandings gained from study of the previous units in this course. It is specifically concerned with the application of those understandings to the betterment of social problems and community tensions, many of which are closely linked with folkloric expressions, practices and group identity. Students will learn about new approaches in this field and will be able to develop their own application of folklore to an observed social/cultural problem.

ASSESSMENT

There are two assignments in this unit:
Assignment 1 outlines community tensions over calendar or periodic customs and asks you to suggest ways and means of defusing these tensions before they develop into serious conflict, as they have done in other countries. (2000 words. 30%)

Assignment 2 asks you to identify a social problem that might be resolved, or at least improved, by the application of folkloric knowledge and to develop a prescription for dealing with it. (3000 words plus. 70%)

Total 100%.

SET TEXTS

All materials provided in Study Guide

AIMS, OBJECTIVES AND LEARNING OUTCOMES

To introduce students to some of the methods and techniques by which folklore and folklife can be applied to social and cultural problems. Students will finish the unit with an understanding of the problems, issues ad possibilities involved in this field and will have designed and justified an applied folklore project of their own.

DETAILED CONTENT

1. Applied Folklore: Introduction
2. Case Study: Roadside Shrines
3. Cultural Diagnostics (CD)
4. Blue Star Acid - A CD Scenario
5. The Clash of Calendars and the Colour of Santa (Assignment 1)
6. Devising a CD Scenario (Assignment 2)

TEACHING APPROACH

This unit consists of examples, case studies and scenarios . Students will read these materials and be introduced to a selection of possible ways to apply folklore. As stressed at various points, these are not the only ways of applying folkloric knowledge, simply some that have worked or which are likely to work in the given situations. Because of the practical constraints involved, students will only be required to develop such solutions in a hypothetical manner. In other words, they will not be asked to actually carry out the application, simply to identify a cultural problem, research its background and develop a coherent program that could be applied to its resolution or improvement.

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COMMUNITY FOLK HERITAGE

UNIT TITLE Assignment

Community Folk Heritage

CONTENT

Community Folk Heritage is an Advanced unit in the Graduate Diploma that builds on the knowledge and understandings gained from study of the previous units in this course. The unit focuses on community folk heritage and family folk heritage and allows students, in consultation with their tutor, to design and carry out a significant fieldwork project on one or more aspects of these areas.

ASSESSMENT

There are two assignments in this unit:
Assignment 1 outlines community tensions over calendar or periodic customs and asks you to suggest ways and means of defusing these tensions before they develop into serious conflict, as they have done in other countries. (2000 words. 30%)

Assignment 2 asks you to identify a social problem that might be resolved, or at least improved, by the application of folkloric knowledge and to develop a prescription for dealing with it. (3000 words plus. 70%)

Total 100%.

SET TEXTS

Set text provided as reader

AIMS, OBJECTIVES AND LEARNING OUTCOMES

Students have the opportunity to apply their knowledge of folklore and folklife to a community heritage project of their own devising. Those who complete the unit will understand the concept of community folk heritage and will have designed and executed a community folk heritage project. They will also have engaged with the various ethical, economic, political and related issues that invariably attend such undertakings.

DETAILED CONTENT

1. What is Community Folk Heritage?
2.Some Community Folk Customs: Blessing of the Fleet, Fremantle WA, Shinju Matsuri, Broome WA, Halloween
3. Regional Community Heritage - Barossa Journeys
4. Issues in Community Folk Heritage: Folk Cultural Heritage and 'Folklorism, Revivalism
5. Family Folk Heritage
6. Major

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ADVANCED ISSUES IN FOLKORE AND FOLKLIFE

This reading and essay-writing unit allows students to deal with theoretical and definitional issues relating to:

·         Foundational concepts of folklore

·         Inventing traditions, folklorism

·         Tourism, heritage and folklife

·         Who owns folklore?

·         Threats to children’s play

 

WANT MORE DETAILS?


For further information contact:
Dr Graham Seal
Australia Research Institute,
Curtin University of Technology

tel: (08) 9266 3234

e-mail: G.SEAL@exchange.curtin.edu.au Open Learning Australia

 

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