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Fall 2013 Course Descriptions

English 3009  Myth and Culture (2 Sections)

Section 001       CRN 93603 
Myth and Culture     1630-1745 MW

This course is designed as an introduction to the methods and possibilities of the study of literature as a planetary phenomenon with myth at its foundation. We will attempt to think the planet through the relationship between myth and culture. Though the course will offer an introduction to mythology, it will not be a survey of myths from around the globe. There are some 6000 languages spoken on the earth today, each of which constitutes a relation between a people and their world, a “culture,” if you will. This number, however quickly it may be decreasing, is far too large to imagine covering in this course.

Instead, we will engage with the study of myths as a means to recognizing both the profound differences between cultures and their uncanny similarities. In other words, we will think and write about how myths demand from us a certain kind of translation. Reading myths allows us to experience this paradox of human cultures: the radical diversity of ideas, social relations, and expressions that exist and have existed on our planet, along with the capacity to understand these tremendously divergent aspects of culture. (General Education Program; Group 5)

Section 002       CRN 90777
Myth and Culture     1400-1450 MWF

The poet Muriel Rukeyser wrote that “The universe is made of stories, not of atoms.” Myth and Culture is a course about such stories, stories so powerful that they shape the ways in which people come to understand the world and its possibilities. We will read ancient stories that do just that: the story of Gilgamesh (the oldest written story), the Book of Job, Homer’s Iliad, Sophocles’ Oedipus Tyrannus, and the Bhagavad-Gita.

The course will require dedicated daily work (reading and talking), several short pieces of writing, and a final examination. (General Education Program; Group 5)