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Effective: Summer 2013

Prerequisites: Prerequisite: Honors Institute participant.
Advisory: Advisory: Not open to students with credit in HUMN 3.
Grade Type: Letter Grade Only
Not Repeatable.
FHGE: Humanities Transferable: CSU/UC
4 hours lecture. (48 hours total per quarter)

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. As an honors course, it is a full seminar with advanced teaching methods focusing on major writing, reading and research assignments, student class presentations, group discussions and interactions.

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 -
Multi-media equipment, LCD projector.

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. Systematic and continuous participation in the course
  2. Exams
  3. Development of research project in the study of myths
  4. Demonstration of critical, analytical research and writing skills
  5. Presentation of assigned research paper to class
Representative Text(s) -
Leonard, Scott and Michael McClure. Myth and Knowing: An Introduction to World Mythology. Boston: MacGraw Hill, 2004.
Thury, Eva M and Margaret K. Devinney. Introduction to Mythology: Contemporary Approaches to Classical and World Myths, New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2009.
Little, C. Scott. Mythology: The Illustrated Anthology of World Myth and Storytelling, San Diego, CA: Thunder Bay Press, 2002.
Reserved articles and studies in Library

Disciplines -
Method of Instruction -
Lecture, Seminar-style discussions.
Lab Content -
Not applicable.
Types and/or Examples of Required Reading, Writing and Outside of Class Assignments -
  1. Bi-Weekly assigned readings from 20-50 pages drawn from both primary and secondary sources.
  2. Philosophical and literary critical readings designed to familiarize students with theories of myth C. interpretation.
  3. Weekly one to three-page essays requiring summary, interpretation, analysis, and synthesis of both original and secondary texts.