Slavic 147B: Balkan Folklore

MWF 3-4, 182 Dwinelle. Instructor: Ronelle Alexander.

Units: 3 Satisfies L&S Social & Behaviorial Sciences OR Arts & Literature breadth requirement.

The area of the Balkans is rich in all aspects of traditional culture. The Parry-Lord theory of oral composition was developed on the basis of extensive fieldwork among South Slavic epic singers, and its origins can be best understood by examining South Slavic epic song in some detail. Many aspects of oral tradition are still alive and well in the Balkans, and the study of this tradition is useful in understanding the intimate and emotional relations of Balkan peoples to their own histories. The mix of peoples and cultures in the Balkans is exceptionally variegated, and this is particularly evident in the variety of musical traditions throughout the Balkans. By tradition, each small area has its own characteristic music styles; recently varieties of these styles have also taken on political import. Slavic 147B studies these two topics in detail, and also surveys folktales and customs of the Balkans. The majority of the course deals with South Slavic material, but elements of Albanian folklore will also be included. This course is of interest to students of Slavic languages and literatures, folklorists, anthropologists, musicologists and students of Balkan history and culture.


Karadzic, Vuk; Mihailovich, Vasa; Holton, Milne.  Songs of the Serbian People from the Collections of Vuk Karadzic
Lord, Albert B.  The Singer of Tales, 2nd edition
Rice, Timothy. Music in Bulgaria, Experiencing Music, Expressing Culture
Readings on course website

Prerequisites:  None