Print Version

Effective: Summer 2014

Advisory: Advisory: One of the following: ENGL 1A, 1AH, 1S & 1T or ESLL 26 strongly recommended; not open to students with credit in HUMN 3H.
Grade Type: Letter Grade Only
Not Repeatable.
FHGE: Humanities Transferable: CSU/UC
4 hours lecture. (48 hours total per quarter)

Student Learning Outcomes -
  • Analyze two cinematic representations of a myth or mythic theme from either different time periods (i.e. 60's and 90's) or two different cultures.
  • Discuss the difference and similarities of the impact of Creation Myths in three different cultures.
Description -
An in-depth study of myths and legends from ancient Mesopotamia and Greece to ancient Asia, pre-Islamic Arabia and the various cultures of the pre-colonial Americas and their adaptation in literature, art and film. The course traces both the function and influence of myths from diverse cultural contexts on our understanding of the past and our experience of modern/popular culture.

Course Objectives -
The student will be able to:
  1. identify some major theories of myth interpretation
  2. analyze how myths function as building blocks of culture.
  3. interpret mythic metaphors symbols, and analogies.
  4. analyze how myths relate to rituals and morality.
  5. compare and contrast characters, events, symbols, and motifs in various myths and their adaptations.
  6. recognize mythological themes in high and low modern culture, including architecture, literature, music, cartoons and particularly film.
  7. analyze how adaptations of myths seek to reflect, classify and define the cultural and social experiences of an age.
  8. identify how adaptations of mythology inspires and informs the various movie genres (Action Adventure, Drama, Romance, Romantic Comedy, Comedy, Science Fiction and Fantasy).
Special Facilities and/or Equipment -
LCD Projector, DVD Player.

Course Content (Body of knowledge) -
  1. Classical myths and those of other cultures (e.g., Native American, Norse, Celtic, Egyptian, African, etc.)
    1. Epic of Gilgamesh
    2. Enumah Elish
    3. Pandora
    4. Prometheus
    5. Odysseus
    6. Hahgwehdiyu (Iroquois mythology)
    7. Four Worlds (Hopi Creation myth)
    8. Trentren Vilu and Caicai Vilu (Southamerican creation myth)
  2. Theories of myth interpretation
    1. myth in ritualism
    2. structuralism
    3. functionalism
    4. feminist interpretation
    5. psychoanalytic interpretation
  3. The Character Arc & Archetypes
    1. Hero
    2. Mentor
    3. Threshold Guardian
    4. Herald
    5. Shapeshifter
    6. Shadow
    7. Trickster
  4. Adaptations of Myths
    1. Architecture
    2. Literature
    3. Music
    4. Cartoons
  5. Adaptations of myths in various movie genres
    1. Action Adventure
    2. Drama
    3. Romance
    4. Romantic Comedy
    5. Comedy
    6. Science Fiction
    7. Fantasy
Methods of Evaluation -
  1. Exams
  2. Evaluation of contributions to class discussions
  3. Formal Essay
Representative Text(s) -
Thury, Eva M and Margaret K. Devinney. Introduction to Mythology: Contemporary Approaches to Classical and World Myths, New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2009.
Leonard, Scott and Michael McClure. Myth and Knowing: An Introduction to World Mythology. Boston: MacGraw Hill, 2004.
Little, C. Scott. Mythology: The Illustrated Anthology of World Myth and Storytelling, San Diego, CA: Thunder Bay Press, 2002.

Disciplines -
Method of Instruction -
  1. Lecture Presentations
  2. In-class Discussions
Lab Content -
Not applicable.
Types and/or Examples of Required Reading, Writing and Outside of Class Assignments -
  1. Bi-Weekly assigned readings from 5-50 pages drawn from both primary and secondary sources.
  2. Brief philosophical and literary critical readings designed to familiarize students with theories of myth C. interpretation.
  3. Weekly one to two-page essays requiring summary, interpretation, analysis, and synthesis of both original and secondary texts.