Spring 2018: Celtic Studies 129

 Aspects of Modern Celtic Cultures and Folklore

4 units
223 Dwinelle
MWF 10-11
Thomas Walsh

Shadowy elfin populated isles; forty-shades of green; shamrocks and kilts; rebels and religions; poets and druids; goddesses and witches; hobbits and orcs.
Is there more to what we mean by “Celtic Culture” than these charming allures?

This course provides, through lecture, discussion, and multimedia presentation, some tentative and some secure answers to basic questions about Celtic Culture in modernity.  The course will cover the major Celtic Cultures, including, the Celts of Ireland, Wales, Scotland, Brittany, and Cornwall. The course’s main concern will be with the cultural capital that modern Celtic peoples bring to the modern context. Specifically, our lectures and readings focus on having us understand comparatively the literary and artistic contributions from these varied cultures. Historical context will be provided as we move from one culture to another, from one period to another.

Among the concerns of the course will be: the ideology of Celticism; the folklore of these cultures; the reception of Celtic material by modern mainstream culture in film and the other arts; the development of literary and other aesthetic forms in Celtic cultures, including fiction, drama, lyric, and other genres. Some working questions for us will be: “How are certain cultural forms and practices specific to modern Celtic cultures?” “How do those forms affect the non-Celtic mainstream in Europe and beyond Europe?” “In what ways do Celtic cultures emerge as oppressed, under-represented, and exploited within the recent centuries of revolution and de-colonization?”

Partial list of books:

The Celts: A Very Short Introduction. Barry Cunliffe. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003.
Writing the Wind: Celtic Resurgence: The New Celtic Poetry. Ed. T. R. Crowe. Cullowhee North Carolina: New Native Press, 1997
Course Reader available on first day of class.

Student Requirements:

A midterm and a final; a short essay which may be used as a basis for a term paper; a short research project; and a final.
Projects can be developed according to student interest. Possible projects include film, music, art, folklore, and other cultural forms.
Grades will be based on an amalgam of assessments assigned to the above assignments.
Attendance and participation will help improve the average of the grades.