Indiana University Call of Duty World at War 1 and 2 Analysis Paper

Collection and Analysis Assignment 3: The Folkloresque

In the Folkloresque, Michael Dylan Foster introduces the concept of the folkloresque—that is, items of popular culture that “smell like” folklore without directly referencing any specific folkloric tradition. The folkloresque exists as “fuzzy allusion,” rather than specific appropriation, representing emic conceptions of what folklore is. He examines the phenomenon of stories that have similar characters, settings, or moral lessons to the ones that we do find in genuine folklore, but without the history. For this phenomenon, he uses the term folkloresque.

For this assignment, I would like you to identify an example of the folkloresque and analyze its meaning and context. This will require you to locate an item of popular culture that seems folkloric but that is not directly related to any particular folklore. Examples could include things like the decorations inside Cracker Barrel; mass produced “folky” arts and crafts; books, films, comics, music, etc. that draw on the aura of folklore to achieve a desired, marketable effect.

When you have located a piece of popular culture that you feel is “folkloresque”, write a 3-4 page analysis, using the following questions to guide you:

  • What did you find? (Identify your item of popular culture. What is it? What does it look like? Where did you encounter it?). 5 pts
  • Why is it an item of popular culture? (How is it made? Where are you likely to encounter it? Is it mass-produced? Does it exist in variation or is it fixed in form?). 5 pts
  • How does it exhibit the folkloresque? (What feels like folklore about it? Why might it not be actual folklore?). 10 pts
  • How is the folkloresque used? (Why is folklore used? Does it give a sense of tradition or authenticity to the item of popular culture? Does it make it feel more familiar to an audience? Who is the audience? How does the “odor of folklore” help to market this particular item to a particular audience?) . 10 pts
  • What is your personal relationship with this item of the folkloresque? (Are you personally a part of the audience? Does this item have special meaning to you? How does your knowledge of folk culture/pop culture/the folkloresque impact your relationship to this item now that we are at the end of the term?). 10 pts