UMaine Offers Folklore Minor for Students

By ShelHartin | Bangor Daily News (Bangor, ME), January 27, 2016 | Go to article overview

UMaine Offers Folklore Minor for Students


ShelHartin, Bangor Daily News (Bangor, ME)


The state of Maine overflows with traditional beliefs, customs and stories that have passed from generation to generation by word of mouth. That's why University of Maine professors Pauleena MacDougall and Sarah Harlan-Haughey created a folklore minor for students about two years ago.

"I like to think of [folklore] as the intangible culture rather than the tangible," Pauleena MacDougall, director of the Maine Folklife Center, said. "We have a beautiful Indian basket -- that's the tangible. So how do you make it? That's the intangible."

From myths, epics and legends to music, song and dance, the study of folklore is an attempt to understand others as well as ourselves. As a state, the minor made sense because of the richness of our own folklore. The university also was uniquely situated to offer the resources for this course of study with the Maine Folklife Center right on campus, whose goal is to "preserve, publish and provide public programming and engage communities in the vernacular arts and culture of Maine and the Maritime Provinces," according to its website.

"Because we're so resource based in this state, we have wonderful traditions. There are traditions of boat building, traditions of heating your home with wood, traditions of having a summer camp. People don't realize that those are some things you don't have anywhere else. Those things are Maine based," MacDougall said. "All of those things contribute to what Maine is and who we are."

Maine's folklore rests on these traditions and the many cultures that have helped build and develop the state. …

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