We may be aware that aspects of the Cinderella story are used to advertise shoes, that historic ogres reappear in contemporary movies, and that baseball players use various forms of 'magic' to help them play successfully. However, we may not realize that examining these traditions is actually part of the contemporary study of Folklore.
The field of Folklore may be defined as the study of traditional artistic communication. It is considered traditional because it occurs more than once, artistic because it examines how ideas are expressed, and communication because it studies the social interactions of those involved. Some scholars divide the field into three genres: verbal lore (things people make with words), customary lore (processes people create through actions), and material lore (objects made with materials).
Conventionally, the study of Folklore has focused on examining its sub-genres: narrative, customs and beliefs, music and song, childlore, drama, religion, medicine, foodways, arts and crafts, occupational lore, and architecture. However, folklore courses not only acquaint students with these genres, but also examine how various 'folk' groups use them to assert, negotiate, or even camouflage their identity. Examinng, for example, how traditional images function in popular culture and contemporary advertising helps us to think critically about the interplay of tradition and innovation.
Folklore is one of the core disciplines in Grenfell's Social/Cultural Studies degree program. Folklore may also be combined with other areas of study in various ways. It is a useful minor for majors in disciplines such as English, Historical Studies, Canadian Studies, Anthropology, and Sociology. Folklore also offers a useful complement to the university's Newfoundland Studies minor program. As well, Folklore electives provide a useful foundation for those interested in teaching Social Studies, language and literature, or research skills at a primary, elementary, or secondary level. Students interested in primary/elementary-level teaching may choose Folklore as a focus area.
A degree in Folklore may lead to careers in areas such as education, journalism, tourism, or cultural heritage preservation and promotion.