Why Folklore?

What is folklore?

The only Anglophone university in Canada to offer comprehensive folklore programs at all levels, Memorial is also a vital part of its community - one steeped in unique lifestyles and traditions, and where the study and celebration of culture and heritage is considered crucial. This provides folklorists with rich opportunities for innovative community partnerships and learning experiences. In the nearly 50 years since its creation, our Department of Folklore has built an international reputation as a thriving, imaginative, eclectic and highly professional department. Ethnographic field research practices are fundamental to folklore studies. Training in folklore studies offers valuable preparation for careers in a variety of cultural enterprises, particularly those involving intangible cultural heritage. Graduates of our program teach at universities and colleges in many parts of North America and Europe, not only in folklore departments but also as interdisciplinary appointments in fields such as communications, English, French and women's and gender studies. Not all have followed academic careers; our graduates have also gone on to work in museums, archives, print and broadcast media, public sector folklore and arts administration.

What do folklorists study? Sample courses include:

  • FOLK 2300 Newfoundland and Labrador Folklore is a survey of the full range of folklore in the province, with an emphasis on community and regional identity.

  • FOLK 3360 Sex/Folklore/Power and Globalization is 1) an introduction to the many ways that sexual identities are displayed, developed, and categorized through informal and everyday cultural performances, i.e., folklore; 2) a study of how such performances relate to various folklore genres, including folk language and narrative, music/song/ballad, material culture/space, and festival/ritual; and 3) an examination of how social power structures are (de)constructed and negotiated through folk processes involving sexuality/sexual identities.

  • FOLK 3612 Urban Legend and the Media provides an introduction to the study of one of the most rapidly expanding and exciting areas of folk narrative research, focusing on the main features and themes of urban legends. It examines how, when, where and why stories of this type are communicated via and bound up with a variety of media.

What jobs do folklore grads get?

Katherine Harvey is a folklorist, curator and writer from Cupids, Newfoundland. She has worked with a variety of institutions within the heritage sector such as The Rooms Provincial Museum and Parks Canada. Katherine graduated with a BA in Folklore from Memorial in 2014.

Other folklore grads include provincial Intangible Cultural Heritage Development Officer Dale Jarvis, Memorial communications advisor Jeff Green.