Saturday, October 10, 2020

Down the Rabbit Hole: More questions about researching stories

Today I taught my storytelling research workshop (Down the Rabbit Hole: The How and Why of Researching Stories) as part of the FEAST webinar series. I had a lovely group of people attending from around the globe, and a wonderful team helping me run the workshop (thanks to Sheila Wee, Roger Jenkins, and Krupa Vinayagamoorthi!).

As usual, there were a lot of questions, and I did not have time to answer all of them. Luckily, people typed them into the chat, so now I can go back and address the ones I've missed.

Here we go!

How often do you find a folk tale does not fit an ATU number?

Often. Especially when I venture further outside of Europe. In these cases I try to use other sources that might help, either regional tale type and motif indexes, or other handbooks. Here is a very useful one I didn't mention, that deals with African folktale types that also appear in the Americas. It that fails, it's back to keyword search...

Does anyone have resources for folk tales from the Punjab Region of India/Pakistan in the original language? I mostly have been finding English.

I don't, but I'm putting this out here so that other people might respond. All the sources I can come up with are also in English (like the India/Pakistan tale types and motif indexes I mentioned in the slides). 

How to search for the F number E number or H number story from the search result of

I talked about this in the workshop, but I want to share the resources. If you want to search by number, here is the motif index online (and here is the bibliography of sources it refers to). As you can see, the letters mark different groups of motifs, such as Tests or Magic. I did a really fun blog series about the weirdest motifs, you can read it here.

Also, when you have the number of a motif you are looking for, and you have already checked the motif index's own bibliography, I usually type the number into Google Books search, with quotation marks and an additional search term. For example: "S31" + "folktales"

What is your recommendation for pronunciation resources?

Usually other people, who speak the language as their native tongue. But there are also resources online, Forvo is a pretty good one for example, because people can add to it, and it gives you where the person is from.

What if I read a story in a book or watch a video of a story, and want to tell it enough to just mention about the author and the publisher or do we need to take permission from the author/publisher?

This is a whole long and complex conversation that revolves around copyright laws, and also around professional ethics. Checking whether you need copyright permission for a story is one of the main reasons people do background research. But even when something is a folktale, and not under copyright, storytellers tell the same tale very differently. We all make them our own, and out favorites become our "signature stories", as the Americans call it. Because of this, I feel it is polite to ask a teller if you like their signature version of a tale - or ask for the sources, so you can go, do your research, and come up with your own signature version! 

And finally, as usual: if anyone has any storytelling research questions, or specific stories you are looking for, feel free to reach out here, or through my Facebook page! And check out Girl in the Chair, my blog series on storytelling research. :)

1 comment:

  1. This is a wonderful resource to follow up a great webinar. Thanks Csenge!