Skip to main content

I'm an online instructor at the University of Oklahoma, happily teaching courses in Mythology & Folklore (#OU3043) and Indian Epics (#OU4993).

Laura Gibbs

Week 14 Myth-Folklore Curation

1 min read

Here is my new post for  Myth-Folklore 

The big event of this week was... KRAMPUS. Lots going on, including this article in the Atlantic: Krampus: The Dark Companion of Saint Nick. Lots of people I know online were sharing Krampus items, and my favorite was this one: Krampus in a motor car!


I also did some reading (prompted by outraged tweets that someone shared re: Univ. of Utrecht) about "Black Pete," the companion of Sinter Claus. Eegad, what a complicated cultural mess that is. The use of blackface is pretty dreadful... but does that mean the whole tradition gets tossed out? Wkipedia has a detailed article: Zwarte Piet. Here he is, black (not blackface) in Moorish clothing, with St. Nikolaas circa 1850:


And let us not forget... the Yule Goat!!! There is even a Yule Goat Webcam, and here is more about that goat at Wikipedia... with a depiction by one of my favorite illustrators, John Bauer:



Laura Gibbs

Week 13 Myth-Folklore Curation

1 min read

Here is my new post for Myth-Folklore

STAR TREK. I read a great essay in the Los Angeles Review of Books online: Who Tends to Captain Picard’s Bromeliads? by Michael Miles. It's a thought-provoking and critical view of Star Trek's post-scarcity economy (where are the robots who do all the work?)... and hey, how many times do you ever see the word bromeliad in print, eh? Bromeliads are pretty flowering plants:


STATUE OF LIBERTY. I thought this account of the creation of the Statue of Liberty was really fascinating. Egypt is part of the story: The Statue of Liberty Was Originally a Muslim Woman. Here's a photo of the statue's head (and that's Nancy Reagan waving a flag):


HARRY POTTER. I'm a regular reader of audio books, and I use the service. I've been a member since the company started, so for about 15 years... and I've been waiting for the Harry Potter books to arrive. And now they have! I am going to enjoy getting to listen to these books in audio form!


Laura Gibbs

Week 12 Myth-Folklore Curation

1 min read

Here is my new post for Myth-Folklore

From a friend at Google+ I learned about this great resource: Names of the Winds. There are names here from ancient traditions (like Greek Zephyr), Native American wind names, all kinds of good stuff.

Following up on Ben Carson and those Egyptian pyramids, there's a nice article at Atlas Obscura about the history of improbable theories about the Egyptian pyramids: Secret Chambers, Grain Silos And The Long, Long History Of Pyramid Conspiracy Theories by Maggie Koerth-Baker. 

And of the many mythological Ben Carson memes making the rounds, here are two of my favorites: one for Easter Island and one for the Great Wall of China (I followed the  hashtag ... it spawned a lot of mythologizing memes last week!).


Laura Gibbs

Week 11 Myth-Folklore Curation

1 min read

Here is my new post for Myth-Folklore

From an Italian friend at Google+ I learned about Camille Renversade, whose blog you can see here: Mon Cabinet de Curiosités. Amazing! I learned that he is the author of Créatures fantastiques. Here is a page from that book:


From the British Library comes this marvelous illustration from the adventures of Bahram Gur. You can read more about Nizami's Bahram Guru here.

Here's a detail of that dragon:


And from the Google Art Project, here's an exhibit on Heaven, Hell, and Dying Well in the Middle Ages:

That's where i found this gorgeous Harrowing of Hell from around the year 1200 (at the Getty):

Laura Gibbs

Week 10 Myth-Folklore Curation

1 min read

Here is my new post for Myth-Folklore ... 

NAMAZU. From the History of Geology blog, an article about Namazu: The Earthshaker by David Bressan. In Japanese mythology, Namazu is a giant catfish which causes earthquakes when he moves his tail.


ROCK OF PROMETHEUS. Also from Atlas Obscura is this piece about a cave in the Caucasus Mountains in Georgia where you can supposedly see the actual rock to which the Titan Prometheus was chained as punishment for stealing fire from Olympus.


CEMETERY SYMBOLISM. This graphic Guide to Cemetery Symbolism (graphic by Michelle Enemark, text by Allison C. Meier) turned up in Atlas Obscura.


Laura Gibbs

Week 9 Myth-Folklore Curation

1 min read

Last week, I did a special OU Twitter curation post (WLT, FJJMA, Writing Center), but this week I am back with favorite items from Myth-Folklore

THE ILIAD. This video documents a reading of The Iliad featuring 66 performers declaiming the whole Iliad (18,225 lines of poetry) on August 14 — and the entire performance is available on video too! See the Open Culture post for all the links: The Iliad in a Marathon Event

The Making of The Iliad | Almeida Greeks | Almeida Theatre, London from Almeida Theatre on Vimeo.


ODIN. At Google+ Norse Mythology shared this gorgeous stained glass window showing Odin and his two ravens; the artist is Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones.


FAIRY CENSUS. As this article by Jess Zimmerman in Atlas Obscura explains: The First Global Fairy Census Wants to heart about Your Close Encounters. The Fairy Investigation Society, which dates back to 1927, is collecting people's experiences via this fairy census.

Illustration from "Elves and Fairies," 1916.


Laura Gibbs

Week 8: OU Twitter —WLT, FJJMA, Writing Center

1 min read

For the curation this week, I wanted to select three of my favorite OU Twitter streams to follow. I follow lots of OU programs and OU people, and I find so many good things every day that way. 

I've used Storify to give a sample of three of my favorites: the World Literature Today and Neustadt Prize streams (Neustadt is part of WLT), the Fred Jones Museum Art Museum stream, and the Writing Center.

Using the Storify embed below, you can get a sense of the kinds of items you will find in these different Twitter streams.



Laura Gibbs

Week 7 Myth-Folklore Curation

2 min read

And here are my favorite things this week from the world of Mythology and Folklore! :-)


From following Project Gutenberg at Twitter, I learned that they now have a fully digitized edition online of A Collection of Emblemes, Ancient and Moderne by George Wither. I wrote up a Known post about that here, including this emblem. One of the many types of classes I would be really excited to teach would be a class all about the emblem tradition which combines text and image in beautiful ways, often drawing on mythological stories and symbols to convey the meaning.

At my Pinterest Board, you'll find this gorgeous image from an illuminated manuscript that shows Nature (look at her gown!) and Death. Best of all, when I tracked down the image to find the source (you can see the manuscript and its images here), I learned that the amazing Dutch National Library collection of manuscript images is back online: Medieval Illuminated Manuscripts. Last time I had checked, it was no longer available, but now it is back. Thousands of beautiful images to look at and learn about!


And here is an amazing mash-up: it's Star Wars done in the style of the Bayeux Tapestry! You can learn about it at this Daily Mail article which has lots more images, too, plus an image of the Bayeux Tapestry for comparison if you are not familiar with it:


Laura Gibbs

Week 6 Curation: Reading, Writing, and Language

1 min read

In the previous weeks, I did curation that was related to the content of my courses and ... but this week I thought I would grab three of the reading, writing, and language items that I've come across in the past few weeks. Those are important for my classes too!

I absolutely LOVE this video about books and libraries which someone shared at Google+ just last week. You can read the lyrics at this blog post:


For National Punctuation Day on September 24, there were all kinds of fun shares at Twitter, like this great chart by Adrienne Crezo and Mike Rogalski from Mental Floss:


And from this collection of fantastic posters — Awe-inspiring book charts you’ll want to hang on the wall — I really liked Parts of Speech explained through books, movies, and music.

Here is the nouns section:

And here is the whole poster:

Laura Gibbs

Week 5 Myth-Folklore Curation

1 min read

As before, I'm grabbing one item from the Known stream, one from Pinterest, and one from Twitter.

My favorite Known post was about one of my favorite Japanese folktale characters: the trickster tanuki! I made a Flickr Gallery with photos that people had posted of tanukis there. Here's a screenshot of the thumbnails: Tanuki Gallery at Flickr.

My favorite thing that I pinned for Myth-Folklore was this 1911 film of Dante's Inferno that I learned about via Open Culture:

My favorite item Twitter was this collection of mermaid images: A (Tail) Flap of Mermaids. There are some wonderful images here; I like this one by Walter Crane the best: The Mermaid Dance, c. 1880s.