Week-by-Week Schedule of Readings, Assignments, Discussions, and Activities

ENGL 2631 Course Calendar

WEEK ONE (Aug. 22—30)
Theme: The Great Journey: Myth as Map of the Human Life Cycle. What is Myth?
Reading: The on-line essay “What is Myth?
Discussion: Is life a journey with a destination and a purpose? Myths around the globe assume this to be the case. What does this journey look like? How does this journey relate to our class’ “Working Definition” of myth?
Working ahead: Memorize the Working Definition of myth found in the essay “What is Myth?”; begin reading The Epic of Gilgamesh.
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WEEK TWO (Sept. 2—6)
Theme: What is Myth? Themes and motifs in The Epic of Gilgamesh
Reading: Online essay “What is Myth?” and The Epic of Gilgamesh
Discussion: Who were the ancient Sumerians? Was there an historical Gilgamesh? Important questions, themes, and issues raised in the Epic of Gilgamesh
Working ahead: Finish reading The Epic of Gilgamesh
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WEEK THREE (Sept. 9—13)
Theme: Themes and motifs in The Epic of Gilgamesh
Reading: The Epic of Gilgamesh
Discussion: Who were the ancient Sumerians? Was there an historical Gilgamesh? Important questions, themes, and issues raised in The Epic of Gilgamesh
Working ahead: Begin reading “Joseph Campbell Notes
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WEEK FOUR (Sept. 16-20)
Theme: Mapping the hero’s quest: Joseph Campbell’s “monomyth” scheme for analyzing hero myths
Reading: “Campbell Notes
Discussion: The 17 possible stages of the hero’s journey. The Epic of Gilgamesh as case study.
Working ahead: Begin reading Myth & Knowing, “Chapter 4: Images of the Masculine in Myth”
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WEEK FIVE (Sept. 23—27)
Theme: Joseph Campbell at the Movies
Reading: “Campbell Notes
Activity: Watch The Matrix (1999). You can accomplish this in a number of ways: view it online through a variety of services, rent it from a video store, or buy and watch a copy.  If possible, you could attend the classroom screening of the movie scheduled for this week in my classroom-based ENGL 2631 class.  (Contact me for days and hours.)
You will then analyze the movie, using Campbell’s “monomyth” scheme to identify where, in the movie, the various passages of the hero’s journey come into play.  See online assignment sheet for further details.
Working ahead: Continue reading Myth & Knowing, “Chapter 4: Images of the Masculine in Myth,” especially the Bhagavad-Gita excerpts. 
Work assigned: Analysis of The Matrix using Campbell’s monomyth scheme; due by email, Friday, 4 October by 5:00 p.m.
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WEEK SIX (Sept. 30—Oct. 4)
Theme: Masculine archetypes in myth: What is a man “supposed” to be?
Reading: Myth & Knowing, “Chapter 4: Images of the Masculine,” especially the Bhagavad-Gita excerpts.
Discussion: What is a “man” in our society? Vedic Religion and the nature of Arjuna’s dilemma in the Bhagavad Gita
Working ahead: Continue reading Myth & Knowing “Chapter 4: Images of the Masculine,” especially “Enki and Ninhursanga,” “Thor’s Duel with Hrungir,” and “Quetzalcoatl Rescues the Precious Bones and Discovers Corn.”
Work due: Analysis of The Matrix due by email on Friday, 4 October at 5:00 p.m.
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WEEK SEVEN (Oct. 7—11)
Theme: Masculine archetypes in Myth
Reading: Myth & Knowing, Chapter 4, especially “Enki and Ninhursanga,” “Thor’s Duel with Hrungir,” and “Quetzalcoatl Rescues the Precious Bones and Discovers Corn”
Discussion: Male potency in myth—(Enki); male courage in myth (Quetzalcoatl & Thor); and male aggression in myth (Odin & Thor). Who were the Sumerians? Who is Enki?/Who were the Norse? Who is Thor? Who were the Aztecs? Who is Quetzalcoatl?
Working ahead: Begin reading Myth & Knowing, “Chapter 3: Images of the Feminine in Myth,” especially “The Fire Goddess.”
Work Assigned: Midterm: Due Friday, 18 October by 5:00 p.m.
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WEEK EIGHT (Oct. 14—18)
Theme: Feminine archetypes in myth: What is a woman “supposed” to be?
Reading: Myth & Knowing, “Chapter 3: Images of the Feminine in Myth,” especially the “The Fire Goddess”
Discussion: What is a Woman In our Society? Kinds and Images of the Feminine in Myth; Who were the Polynesians and Hawaiians? Who is Pele? Themes and motifs in “The Fire Goddess”
Working ahead: Finish reading Myth & Knowing, “Chapter 3: Images of the Feminine in Myth,” especially “White Buffalo Calf Woman,” and “On the Origin of the World”
Work due: Email me the Midterm on Friday, 18 October by 5:00 p.m.
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WEEK NINE (Oct. 21—25)
Theme: Images of the Feminine in Myth
Reading: Myth & Knowing, Chapter 3; “White Buffalo Calf Woman,” and “On the Origin of the World”
Discussion: Who were the Sioux? Who is White Buffalo Calf Woman?; Who were the Gnostics? Themes and motifs in “On the Origin of the World”
Working ahead: Begin reading Inanna: Queen of Heaven and Earth, pp. 3-89 (the four stories, beginning with “The Huluppu Tree” and concluding with the “Descent/Ascent of Inanna.”
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WEEK TEN (Oct. 28—Nov. 1)
Theme: Images of the Feminine in Myth/When “God” was a Woman
Reading: Inanna, pp. 3-89 (from the beginning to the end of the “Descent” story)
Discussion: Inanna as “Everywoman”: Themes and motifs in “Inanna and the Huluppu Tree, ” “Inanna and the God of Wisdom,” “The Marriage of Inanna and Dumuzzi,” & “The Descent of Inanna”
Working ahead: Begin reading Myth & Knowing, “Chapter 2: Creation Myths”
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WEEK ELEVEN (Nov. 4—8)
Theme: The Kinds and Functions of Creation Myths
Reading: Myth & Knowing, “Chapter 2: Creation Myths,” especially Hesiod’s “Theogony” and “Amma and Nummo Prepare the World”
Discussion: The basic motifs and functions of creation myths. Who were the ancient Greeks? Themes and Issues in Hesiod’s “Theogony”; Who are the Dogon? Themes and Issues in “Amma and Nummo Prepare the World”
Activity: Writing your own creation myth (if we have time, we’ll have some fun putting the nine basic creation motifs into practice)
Working ahead: Continue reading Myth and Knowing, “Chapter 2: Creation Myths,” especially the Genesis creation story and the Popul Vu
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WEEK TWELVE (Nov. 11—15)
Theme: The Kinds and Functions of Creation Myths
Reading: Myth & Knowing, “Chapter 2: Creation Myths,” especially the Genesis creation story and the Popul Vu
Discussion: Who were the Hebrews?  Who were the Maya?  Comparing themes and motifs in Genesis creation story and the Popul Vu
Working ahead: Begin reading Myth & Knowing, “Chapter 5: Tricksters”
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WEEK THIRTEEN (Nov. 18—22)
Theme: The Kinds and Functions of Trickster Myths
Reading: Myth & Knowing, Chapt. 5: Tricksters, especially “Ajapa, Aja the Dog, and the Yams” and “Coyote Man and Saucy Duckfeather”
Discussion: The differences between animal-form and human-form tricksters; Who are the Yoruba? Themes and Issues in “Ajapa, etc.” Modern re-interpretations of mythic materials. Themes and issues in “Coyoteman, etc.”
Working ahead: Continue reading Myth & Knowing, “Chapt. 5: Tricksters,” especially “The Treasures of the Gods” and “The Seven Great Deeds of Ma-ui”

Happy Thanksgiving!

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WEEK FOURTEEN (Nov. 25—29)
Theme: The Kinds and Functions of Trickster Myths
Reading: Myth & Knowing, Chapt. 5, especially “The Treasures of the Gods” and “The Seven Great Deeds of Ma-ui”
Discussion: Who were the Norse?  Who were the Polynesians?  Themes and motifs in “Treasures of the Gods” and “The Seven Great Deeds”
Work Assigned: Begin composing the Final Exam and Course Evaluation Memo; both are due on Friday, 6 Dec. by 5:00 p.m.
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WEEK FIFTEEN (December 2-6)
Theme: Connections among Shamanism, Campbell’s Monomyth scheme, and myth-telling
Discussion: What is a shaman? Considering shamanic experience through Campbell’s monomyth scheme
Assignments due: Email me the Final Exam and Course Evaluation on Friday, 6 Dec. by 5:00 p.m.

Have a peaceful and joyful Winter Break!