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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures : Scottish Ethnology

Postgraduate Course: Custom and Belief (SCET11001)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Literatures, Languages and Cultures CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Course typeStandard AvailabilityAvailable to all students
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) Credits40
Home subject areaScottish Ethnology Other subject areaNone
Course website None Taught in Gaelic?No
Course descriptionThis course provides a thorough grounding in the pagan underlay to Northern European culture and in patterns of belief associated with the rhythms of the seasons and of social life. Examination of traditional custom is greatly enhanced by recourse to both modern critical analysis and archive sources. A fieldtrip to Jedburgh is a particular feature of this course. Teaching consists of a combination of lectures, case studies and tutorials. Assessment will be by an oral presentation and an essay of approximately 4,000 words in term 1 and by an essay of approximately 4,000 words in term 2. Course Aims and Objectives: expertise in the application of contemporary approaches to the study of traditional custom and belief; the development of a portfolio of critical skills (such as structural analysis) which will enable the student to apply these to case studies and conduct his/her own original research in this area; an understanding of the cultural, socio-historical and psychological contexts in which traditional custom and belief is encountered; knowledge of useful and precise critical terminology; confidence in the preparation and delivery of oral presentations. Course Outline: Autumn Term - Context: archaic cognition; how our ancestors thought; Liminality: boundaries and thresholds in space and time; Spatial Organisation: sacred space, directionality and positioning, territoriality; Custom and Community: rivalry and co-operation, custom and conflict; On Fear: taboo and protection; Life Cycle I: birth and baptism; Life Cycle II: betrothal and marriage; Life Cycle III: death; Ritual language. Spring Term - Cosmology I: the deep structure of our calendar; Cosmology II; Seasonal Custom I; Seasonal Custom II; Seasonal Custom III; Traditional Drama: the folk play Galoshins; Contests: the meaning of rivalry - the ba' games of Orkney and the Borders; Field trip to Jedburgh: observing tradition; Carnival: adult play, safety valves, the world upside down.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Additional Costs None.
Information for Visiting Students
Displayed in Visiting Students Prospectus?Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Summary of Intended Learning Outcomes
The intended learning outcomes of the course remain expertise in the interpretation and understanding of cutomary tradition in Scotland from the earliest sources to the modern period; an awareness of the range and variety of approaches to studying this and traditional belief and knowledge of a substantial number of critical texts; knowledge of linguistic, literary, cultural, psychological and socio-historical contexts in which customary tradition is found and knowledge of useful and precise critical terminology. In particular the provision of material on archaic cosmology opens up a new critical approach amounting to a paradigm shift in the analysis of the subject area.
Assessment Information
Two essays of 4,000 words each plus one oral presentation.
Special Arrangements
Additional Information
Academic description Not entered
Syllabus Not entered
Transferable skills Not entered
Reading list Not entered
Study Abroad Not entered
Study Pattern Not entered
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Neill Martin
Tel: (0131 6)51 1981
Course secretaryMs Christine Lennie
Tel: (0131 6)50 4167
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