SLFK 2120
Ritual and Family Life
Spring 2017

Anne Ingram
email the instructor




Course Description

In this course we will explore traditional Russian and Ukrainian life-cycle rituals, such as weddings and funerals, and beliefs connected with marriage, birth and death. We will also look at gender roles and child-rearing, compare the East Slavic rituals and beliefs with their American counterparts, and look at ways in which life-cycle rituals changed in the Soviet and post-Soviet periods.

No knowledge of Russian required.

Satisfies the Non-Western Perspectives requirement.



Reading List:

Christine Worobec, Peasant Russia: Family and Community in the Post-Emancipation Period
Mary Douglas, Purity and Danger: An Analysis of the Concepts of Pollution and Taboo
Roberta Reeder, Russian Folk Lyrics
Arnold Van Gennep, The Rites of Passage
David Ransel, Village Mothers: Three Generations of Change in Russia and Tataria (also available as an e-book at UVA library)
Susan Bridger, Women in the Soviet Countryside
Beatrice Farnsworth, "The Soldatka: Folklore and Court Record" (online at JSTOR; click link to view), published in Slavic Review Vol. 49, No. 1 (Spring, 1990)
Jeanmarie Rouhier-Willoughby, "Contemporary Urban Russian Funerals: Continuity and Change" (online; click link to view), published in Folklorica Vol. 12, (2007)

Note: To view the online readings in the list above, you will either need to be on Grounds, or using UVaAnywhere or the proxy server if you are off Grounds.



Course Requirements

You are expected to attend class and to be prepared to discuss the assigned readings. During class I will bring in additional material on the topics we are studying and we will have discussions of material you were assigned to read. If you are unable to attend a class due to illness or another emergency, email me before the class to ensure that your absence is excused. I also expect you to avoid distracting others, so please turn your cell phones off and, if you use a computer to take notes, do not use it for other things during class.

In addition to the assigned readings, you will have 3 essay assignments, a midterm, and a final exam. The dates to start the readings are listed below. Reading assignments will be listed on the syllabus; you should complete each one by the date a new reading assignment is given. The essay assignments will be given in class at least one week before they are due, and posted as announcements on UVaCollab. Essays are to be turned in the day they are due; if you are ill or another emergency will prevent you from turning an assignment in on time you can request an extension before the due date. Late assignments will be marked down 1/3 of a letter grade for each day they are late (without an extension).

participation – 25% of course grade
three essay assignments – 24% of course grade
midterm – 16% of course grade
final exam – 35% of course grade



Topics

Thurs Jan 19 -- introduction to course
Reading: Worobec, Peasant Russia: "Introduction," "Resources and Obligations"



Tues Jan 24 and Thurs Jan 26 -- traditional Russian and Ukrainian family life
Reading: Peasant Russia: "Family Rebirth," "New Players, Old Games"



Tues Jan 31 and Thurs Feb 2 -- Douglas and anomaly; roles and courtship in traditional East Slavic culture
Reading: Douglas, Purity and Danger: "Introduction," "Secular Defilement"; Peasant Russia "The Culture of Patriarchy"



Tues Feb 7 and Thurs Feb 9 -- traditional East Slavic courtship (continued); more on Douglas' theories
Reading: Purity and Danger "Magic and Miracle," "Powers and Dangers"; Reeder, Russian Folk Lyrics: "The Russian Folk Lyric" pp. 26-49



Tues Feb 14 and Thurs Feb 16 -- traditional East Slavic recruit rituals and wedding rituals
Reading: Russian Folk Lyrics: "Soldier Songs"; Peasant Russia: "Family Life Cycle" pp. 79-84, 87-92; Farnsworth "The Soldatka: Folklore and Court Record" (online at JSTOR)



Tues Feb 21 and Thurs Feb 23 -- traditional East Slavic wedding rituals (continued)
Reading: Russian Folk Lyrics: "The Russian Folk Lyric" pp. 7-14, "Vocal Songs About Family Life," "Xorovod, Game and Dance Songs about Love," "Joking and Satirical Vocal Songs"; Peasant Russia: "Marriage"



Tues Feb 28 and Thurs Mar 2 -- traditional East Slavic wedding rituals (continued)
Reading: Russian Folk Lyrics: "The Russian Folk Lyric" pp. 14-25, "Songs of Peasant Slavery,"Vocal Songs about Love," "Xorovod, Game and Dance Songs about Family Life," "Wedding Songs"



Tues Mar 14 -- midterm exam



Thurs Mar 16 -- life-cycle ritual theory
Reading: Van Gennep, The Rites of Passage: "The Classification of Rites," "The Territorial Passage," "Individuals and Groups"



Tues Mar 21 and Thurs Mar 23 -- life-cycle ritual theory; traditional East Slavic birth customs
Reading: The Rites of Passage: "Betrothal and Marriage," "Initiation Rites" pp. 65-72, 93-100, 103-104; Village Mothers: "Child Welfare Before the Revolution"



Tues Mar 28 and Thurs Mar 30 -- traditional East Slavic childcare; funerary rituals
Reading: Village Mothers: "Giving Birth" pp. 124-153, "Baptism" pp. 164-180



Tues Apr 4 and Thurs Apr 6 -- traditional East Slavic funerary rituals
Reading: The Rites of Passage: "Pregnancy and Childbirth," "Birth and Childhood"; Village Mothers: "Child Care" pp. 197-202, 204-211, 212-225



Tues Apr 11 and Thurs Apr 13 -- beliefs about the dead; ritual and family life in the Soviet era
Reading: Bridger, Women in the Soviet Countryside: "Women in the Rural Workforce" pp. 26-41, 47-87



Tues Apr 18 and Thurs Apr 20 -- ritual and family life in the Soviet era (continued)
Reading: Women in the Soviet Countryside: "Women in the Rural Family" pp. 89-127, "Women's Roles in Rural Culture" pp. 165-182, 206-215



Tues Apr 25 and Thurs Apr 27 -- post-Soviet life-cycle rituals
Reading: Village Mothers: "Soviet Efforts to Transform Village Mothering" pp. 43-79, "Courtship and Marriage" pp. 80-92; Rouhier-Willoughby, "Contemporary Urban Russian Funerals: Continuity and Change" (online)



Tues May 2 -- post-Soviet life-cycle rituals
Reading: you should be finished with all of the reading assignments.



Final Exam: Sat May 6, 2:00-5:00