IRFL40270 Identity and Ethnography

Academic Year 2023/2024

This module explores the symbolic communication of individual and group identity through cultural expression as an integral part of everyday life. From observation to participation in a given folk group, students will orient themselves to the reflexive processes of fieldwork. In so doing, they will hone their skills in the practical methodologies of ethnographic documentation through auto-ethnographic lenses. At the crossroads of gender, ethnicity, language, race, religion, age, social class and orientation, special emphasis will be given to intersectional frameworks for the performance, transmission, participation and interpretation of various forms of vernacular expression as dynamic components in the formation of identity. In navigating the pathways of our disciplines’ shifting and emergent paradigms and applications, our module discussions will traverse the boundaries of enchantment and disenchantment in tales of persecuted heroines as mirroring of lived intergenerational conflicts, create and challenge democratic inventories of intangible cultural heritage at the meeting point of the nation-state and its minoritized communities, and map folk responses to the complex digital landscapes alongside fragile human ecologies of the anthropocene. When taken together, this module will inspire students to fully immerse themselves in the ethnographic process by engaging and listening to others’ voices in concert with our own, producing more nuanced, inclusive and equitable research frameworks in the fields of folklore and ethnology.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

On completion of this module, students will be able to:
1. Demonstrate an awareness of the roles and impacts of identity in the documentation and performance of folklore,
2. Unpack the nature of intersectional identities by contextualizing specific examples of folklore held in the National Folklore Collection,
3. Consider the role of self in the ethnographic process through auto-ethnographic writing,
4. Design, undertake and present an individual fieldwork-based research project,
5. Hone skills in practically applying our discipline through public outreach and engagement.

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours


Specified Learning Activities


Autonomous Student Learning




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
Teaching in the module is geared towards the promotion of a spirit of enquiry among students and towards encouraging them to develop a reflective approach to their studies. Teaching is carried out in lectures and, when staff resources allow, in small-group tutorials. Assessment takes the form of two in-semester essays and a written examination. 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Not applicable to this module.
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade
Examination: One 2-hour paper 2 hour End of Trimester Exam No Graded No


Assignment: 1800 word assignment Week 6 n/a Graded No


Assignment: 1800 word assignment Week 11 n/a Graded No


Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Autumn No
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Feedback in this module is centred around the in-semester continuous assessment components, enabling students to draw on feedback provided for the earlier in-semester component to improve their performance in the later component.

Name Role
Dr Kelly Fitzgerald Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Timetabling information is displayed only for guidance purposes, relates to the current Academic Year only and is subject to change.
Lecture Offering 1 Week(s) - 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33 Thurs 15:00 - 16:50