Print Version

Effective: Summer 2017

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, including, but not limited to, those from ancient Mesopotamia, classical Greece and Rome, Asia, India, Africa, Europe, and the indigenous 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 modern culture, including literature, television and film.
  7. analyze how adaptations of myth seek to reflect, classify and define the cultural and social experiences of an age.
  8. identify how adaptations of mythology inspire and inform the various movie genres (Action Adventure, Drama, Romantic Comedy, Science Fiction and Fantasy).
Special Facilities and/or Equipment -
Multi-media equipment, LCD projector.

Course Content (Body of knowledge) -
  1. Global Myths (including, but not limited to, those of these cultures):
    1. Classical Greece and Rome
    2. Africa
    3. Mesopotamia
    4. North America
    5. South America
    6. India
    7. China
    8. Europe
  2. Theories of Mythic Interpretation (including, but not limited to):
    1. Ritual and Myth
    2. Structuralism
    3. Functionalism
    4. Feminist
    5. Psychoanalytic/Archetypes
  3. Universal Mythic Themes and Characters
    1. Creation
    2. Destruction and Rebirth
    3. Trickster
    4. Hero
    5. Heroine
  4. Adaptations of Myths and Ritual
    1. Literature
    2. Fairy Tales
    3. Film
    4. Television
    5. Animation
    6. Visionary Art
  5. Adaptations of Myths in Various Film Genres
    1. Documentary
    2. Action Adventure
    3. Drama
    4. Romantic Comedy
    5. Science Fiction
    6. Fantasy
    7. Horror
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. Collaborative discussion and analysis with classmates
Representative Text(s) -
Leeming, David A. The World of Myth: An Anthology. 2nd ed. Oxford University Press, 2014.
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 30-50 pages drawn from both primary and secondary sources.
  2. Philosophical and literary critical readings designed to familiarize students with theories of myth interpretation.
  3. Weekly one- to three-page essays requiring summary, interpretation, analysis, and synthesis of both original and secondary texts.