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Starting My Next Course: Demystifying Culture and Folklore

Shannon Bennett, Student

A good story can captivate the hearts and minds of listeners for years. Sometimes, when you have heard a story repeatedly, you can pick up the little embellishments and the differences that occur as a story develops and changes. Family stories are the same way. They captivated us as children, intrigued us as adults, and are information to be proved as genealogists.

Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA

The next course I am enrolled in is Demystifying Culture and Folklore. I have to admit that as soon as I saw the title on the course list I knew I wanted to take it. In college I took a folklore class and have been fascinated by mythology from different cultures my whole life. It is one of those odd interests of mine that I love to feed with a good story from time to time.

Judging from the course description, Demystifying Culture and Folklore promises to be a great class. The focus will be on looking at various cultures and how their traditions and folklore shaped the people of today. There will be a module on how a new culture affected immigrants and cultural assimilation. Plus connecting the stories of our ancestors to who we are today.

Of course, you can’t have a class like this without talking about Joseph Campbell. For many people he is the face of modern mythology and folklore research. Lucky for me I have read his series of books “The Mask of God” and “A Hero with a Thousand Faces.” If you are interested in mythos and folklore they should be at the top of your reading list. I will be interested to read what our instructor thinks of him.

I admit that I am intrigued by the assignment teaser given on the introduction page: “students will be encouraged to apply course theory to their own lives and the lives of their forebears in personal application essays.” Oh, I love to write, almost as much as I love to talk, and being able to analyze my family through this lens should produce some amazing results. Or, fingers crossed, I hope it will.

This should be a very interesting class and I am excited to turn the microscope on my family to see what I find. Hope you will join me over the next month as I take this course. It should be a great time!

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