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The Department of Russian
6085 Reed Hall Room 201
Hanover, New Hampshire 03755-3562
Telephone: (603) 646-2070
Email: Russian.Department@Dartmouth.edu
 
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Department Chair
Professor John KopperJohn.M.Kopper@dartmouth.edu
 
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Russian 13 Course Syllabus

Russian 13, Spring 2008

Slavic Folklore: Vampires, Witches, and Firebirds 

MWF 10:00 a.m. – 11:05 a.m.

In this course, we will discuss a variety of genres from Russian folklore. As we move from the familiar genre of the riddle to the often mystifying beliefs and rituals of the ancient Slavs and then to the fairy tale, comfortingly familiar from childhood, we will learn to not only recognize the richness and density of texts that may initially seem uncomplicated but also to discern the patterns and meanings behind the apparently exotic narratives and behaviors. Through this process, we will gain knowledge of the theoretical highlights of folkloristics, an academic discipline that strives to understand the remarkable similarity of stories told by people around the world yet, at the same time, to account for the no less fascinating ethnic, cultural, and historical particulars of the tales, songs, jokes, and customs of different people. By thoroughly studying one of the world’s richest oral traditions, Slavic folk life and folk lore, we will acquire the tools and techniques necessary for collecting, documenting, and interpreting folklore — which is perhaps the most truly international of all arts.

Required Books

Note these will be at Wheelock Books and on reserve at Baker-Berry:

  • Alexander Afanas’ev, Russian Fairy Tales
  • Vladimir Propp, Morphology of the Folktale
  • Russian 13 Course Reader (at Wheelock Books only)

Course Grading and Requirements

Class participation
10%
Writing project # 1 (fairy tale essay, due November 5) 10%
Writing project # 2 (folklore collection, due December 3) 15%
Midterm exam 25%
Final exam 40%

During the semester you will be responsible for a variety of projects, both in-class and outside, which will count towards your class participation grade. Make sure to complete the assigned readings before the lecture class. Please also bring 5x8 index cards to each lecture class. Assignments for discussion sections are posted on Blackboard. They will include additional readings, video clips, discussion questions, and projects. These assignments need to be completed before your discussion section on Friday. It is crucial for the success of this course that you come to each discussion section fully prepared with your notes, questions, and responses so that we can share our insights and bewilderments efficiently and eloquently.

Requests for Accommodation

Students with learning, physical, or psychiatric disabilities who will be taking this course and may need disability-related classroom accommodations are encouraged to make an appointment to see the instructor before the end of the second week of class — i.e., Friday, April 4, 2008.

Some students may wish to take part in religious observances that occur during this academic term. If you have a religious observance that conflicts with your participation in the course, please meet with me before the end of the second week of the term (i.e., Friday, April 4, 2008) to discuss appropriate accommodations.

Schedule

Readings marked with an asterick (*) are recommended, but not required:

  • Wednesday, March 26
    Introduction and Overview: Folklore Matters!

  • Friday, March 28
    The Features of Folklore. Who are the Slavs?
    Read
    : Dundes, “Who are the Folk?” and "Alan Dundes' List of Folklore Genres" (Online Readings)

  • Monday, March 31
    The Riddle and the Proverb
    Read: Abrahams and Dundes, “Riddles”
    Anikin, “On the Origin of Riddles”

  • Wednesday, April 2
    Magic Acts and Magic Words: Divinations, Spells, and Curses
    Read: Frazer, “The Principles of Sympathetic Magic”
    Malinowski, “The Rite and the Spell”
    Murgoci, “The Evil Eye in Romania”
    Texts of Russian charms and curses (Online Readings)

  • Friday, April 4
    Discussion: Riddle Night
    Assignments on Blackboard (Discussion Sections)

  • Monday, April 7
    The Living, the Dead, and the Undead: The Eastern European Vampire
    Read: Gennep, from The Rites of Passage (“Funeral Rites”)
    Oinas, “East European Vampires”
    Fine, “In Defense of Vampires”
    Folk narratives about vampires (Online Readings on Blackboard)
    View: F.W. Murnau, "Nosferatu" (eReserve)

  • Wednesday, April 9
    The Living, the Dead, and the Undead: Rusalki
    Read: Ivanits, from Russian Folk Belief (“Nature Spirits”)
    View: “Mermaid” by A. Petrov

  • Friday, April 11
    Discussion: Collection Project
    Read: Dundes, “Texture, Text and Context”;
    Proverbs and the Ethnography of Speaking Folklore”; “The Crowing Hen and the Easter Bunny”
    Wilson, "Collecting Folklore" (Chapter 10 in Oring, Folk Groups and Folklore Genres)
    Assignments on Blackboard (Discussion Sections)

  • Monday, April 14
    Introduction to Folk Narrative
    Read: Olrik, “Epic Laws”
    Bascom, “The Forms of Folklore: Prose Narrative
    Afanas’ev, Russian Fairy Tales, pp. 49-53, 262-268, 580-588, 612-624

  • Wednesday, April 16
    Fairy Tale: Patterns and Formulas
    Read: Propp, Morphology of the Folktale, pp. 19-50
    Afanas’ev, pp. 375-386, 349-350, 406-410, 494-497

  • Friday, April 18
    Discussion: Morphology of the Fairy Tale
    Read: Propp, Morphology, pp. 50-65, 71-78, 92-99 (ch. IX, A and B)
    Afanas’ev, pp. 363-365, 393-398, 463-475, 229-234
    Assignments on Blackboard (Discussion Sections)

  • Monday, April 21
    Fairy Tale: Donors and Villains
    Read: Propp, Morphology, pp. 79-91
    *Johns, “Baba Iaga and the Russian Mother
    Afanas’ev, pp. 31-37, 439-447, 363-365, 485-494, 553-562

  • Wednesday, April 23
    Discussion: Review for Midterm.

    Prepare questions or requests to review specific material in advance of this class. Write out two short-answer questions based on the material for the test and bring them to class. Please be prepared to support the correct answer with a citation, etc. These questions will be collected and used for the in-class review. Excellent questions will earn participation credit!

    Use Key Terms and Concepts on Blackboard as your checklist when reading and reviewing class materials.

  • Friday, April 25
    Midterm!
  • Monday, April 28
    The Origin of the Fairy Tale
    Read: Propp, “Wondertale as a Whole”
    Afanas’ev, pp. 146-150, 427-438, 119-123, 314-320, 360-363

  • Wednesday, April 30
    Fairy Tale: Meanings and Interpretations
    Read: *Lüthi, “Isolation and Universal Interconnectedness”
    Bettleheim, “Three Feathers: The Youngest as Simpleton”
    Afanas’ev, pp. 44-46, 46-48, 194-195, 366-369, 278-279, 294-299, 504-520

  • Friday, May 2
    Discussion: Interpreting the Fairy Tale
    Assignments on Blackboard (Discussion Sections)

  • Monday, May 5
    Assignment #1 - A variant of the fairy tale is due!
    Introduction to the Folk Epic
    Read: Bailey and Ivanova, “The Russian Oral Epic Tradition: An Introduction” and “Svyatogor”

  • Wednesday, May 7
    Russian Bylinas: Genesis and Poetics
    Read: “Ilya Muromets and Kalin Tsar”
    Skaftymov, “The Structure of the Byliny”

  • Friday, May 9
    Discussion: Folk Epics
    Assignments on Blackboard (Discussion Sections)
  • Monday, May 12
    Folk Ballad: An Introduction
    Read: Dundes, "The Building of Skadar: The Measure of Meaning of a Ballad of the Balkans"
  • Wednesday, May 14
    Serbian and Russian Folk Ballads
    Read: ballad “The Mother of Prince Mikhailo Kills His Wife”
    Balashov, “The Ballad about the Slaying of the Slandered Wife”

  • Friday, May 16
    Discussion: The Folk Ballad
    Assignments on Blackboard (Discussion Sections)

  • Monday, May 19
    Children’s Folklore: Past and Present
    Weiss, “Draznilkas – Russian Children’s Taunts

  • Wednesday, May 21
    Folklore and Literature
    Read: Gogol, “Viy” (I)

  • Friday, May 23
    Student presentations of Folklore Collections

  • Monday, May 26
    Memorial Day — no class

  • Wednesday, May 28
    Assignment #2 – Your folklore collection is due!
    Discussion: Review for Final Exam

Prepare questions or requests to review specific material in advance of this class. Write out two short-answer questions and one essay question based on the material for the test. Please be prepared to support the correct answer with a citation, etc. These questions will be collected and used for the in-class review. Excellent questions will earn participation credit! Bring your sample questions to class for possible inclusion on the actual final and the chance to earn additional participation credit!

Use Key Terms and Concepts on Blackboard as your checklist when reading and reviewing class materials.

  • May 31, 3:00 p.m.
    Final exam!!

Last Updated: 11/17/10