Folklorist for a day

Alekka is taking a Spring semester course in Anthropology. Her teacher asked me last month if I’d be willing to present a guest lecture on folklore. My first reaction was, not possible, I haven’t thought about folklore in 25 years. But in an international school, it’s duties as assigned, and teachers have to make use of the resources at hand.  The correct response is, “Sure!  I’d love to!” and then you jump right in. So I said I’d do it.

I sat down and drew up an outline for an 80-minute introduction to folklore and folkloristics.  I was happily surprised to find it all coming back to me.  The best part was, as I was planning for (and fretting about) my presentation, I started not only seeing folklore everywhere – that tendency has never quite left me – but also thinking about what it all means.  Structuralists, Freudians, functionalists, behaviorists, text analysts, Marxists, feminists: I miss you.  I almost want to finish that dissertation (I said almost).

The Holy Week processions in Sorrento gave me plenty of material to illustrate different ways of interpreting folklore.  Check out this video of the White Procession, which takes place from 3 a.m. until dawn on Good Friday.

I’m happy to report that my little talk went over pretty well.  Thanks are due to my friend Sukey, professor of folklore and popular culture and all-around awesome human being, who provided me with an excellent opening activity.  It was so much fun, I hope I get invited to do it again.

Here are some more pictures from the Holy Week events in Sorrento and surrounding towns.

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About lornaofarabia

I am a teacher from Medford, Oregon. I currently live and work in Cairo, Egypt.
This entry was posted in Elsewhere, International Community School, Teaching. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Folklorist for a day

  1. Tsegamariam says:

    I can see how you make a perfect expatriate: adventurous, willing to try new things, appreciates foreign culture, loves to interact with locals, etc. I think your blog will induce many others to come to Ethiopia for both work and pleasure. And I like your style of writing. Keep up the good work…..

    May I suggest you explore the possibility of encouraging vacation home exchanges to and away from Ethiopia? I certainly will be interested in exchanging my condo in the Washington, DC suburb for similar in Addis Abeba. I looked at Addis Expatriate Blog, but no such thing. I do not know how you may do that, but perhaps allowing interested parties to post their messages might be one possibility. Other option could be to encourage expatriates you socialize with to explore the possibilities……..

    • I’m glad you’re enjoying the blog. I’ve never done a home exchange but I have expat friends who find it a great way to take a vacation. I know that a popular website for this is http://www.homeexchange.com. I checked and there is only one listing right now for Ethiopia. My home belongs to the school, and

  2. Pingback: Sirens and Saracens | Lorna of Arabia

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