Folklore & Popular Culture

Folklore is an integral part of being human. The discipline of folklore studies the unofficial, the spoken, and the traditional forms of expressed culture, such as legends (including urban ones), myths, folk music, jokes, festivals, and more. It is often contrasted with the printed word, yet the recent growth of the internet and digital communications has brought the realms of popular culture increasingly closer to folklore as well. Thus the field of folklore and popular culture encompasses more than two hundred different genres such as folktales, myths, legends, proverbs, jokes, games, folk medicine, and ethnomusicology. The interpretation of these materials draws on theories in various fields such as Anthropology, Communications, English, Cultural Studies, Political Science, Psychology, Sociology, and Religion.

The Department of Anthropology hosts the interdisciplinary Minor in Folklore and Popular Culture. The minor aims to lay the basis for students' understandings of the theories and techniques of understanding folklore and popular culture and to offer students the opportunity to conduct their own original research on folklore and popular culture. The minor may be of interest to students in Cinema Studies, Communication, Law, Music, Anthropology, Sociology, Art History, English, History, Comparative Literature, East Asian Languages and Cultures, Spanish, as well as Fine Arts and Interactive Media.

For more information about the field of folklore see the American Folklore Society.

  • Department of Anthropology
  • University of Southern California
  • 3620 South Vermont Ave.,Suite 352
  • Los Angeles, CA 90089-2537