The Department of Folklore and Culture Studies of Madurai Kamaraj University has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology under the Asia Orient Institute of University of Tubingen, Germany, for research collaborations and student-faculty exchange programmes.

Vice-Chancellor Kalyani Mathivanan inked the MoU during her recent visit to Germany, according to a press communiqué issued by T. Dharmaraj, Head of the Department of Folklore and Culture Studies. He said the department was established in 1992 for documentation, preservation and dissemination of South Indian folklore.

Folklore archives and a recording studio were established with financial assistance from the Ford Foundation in 1994. The department offers M.A., M.Phil. and Ph.D., programmes in folkoristics. Recently, it was renamed the Department of Folklore and Culture Studies and began receiving funds from various agencies for research projects.

The projects ranged from a study on socio-economic conditions of folk artistes to Dalit Christianity, and they were funded by reputed organisations such as Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, and the University Grants Commission. The latest MoU would provide opportunities for the MKU students to get trained in social and cultural anthropology in Germany.

Similarly, graduate and research students from Germany would come to the MKU to learn about South Indian folk culture. The universities had planned to conduct an international workshop on ‘Resources and culture’ early next year, he added.

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