May 20, 2024  
College Catalog 2024-2025 
College Catalog 2024-2025
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HUMN 1750 - Introduction to Mythology

Credit Hours: 3.00

Prerequisites: None

An introductory outline of myths and legends from ancient Greece, Rome, the Middle East and Northern Europe, together with more recent and non‑European parallels. Recurring themes and structures will be examined. Students will be introduced in stages to the subject matter for its own sake while analyzing the human thought behind each myth, plus its influence on literature, art and film.

Billable Contact Hours: 3

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Outcome 1: Upon completion of this course, students will be able to identify characters common to Greek and/or Roman myths, in terms of name, Greek-Roman equivalency, functions, and attributes.

Objectives: In class discussions, in response to video presentations, and on multiple choice tests:

  1. Identify Greek-Roman equivalency of mythological character names.
  2. Discuss functions of mythological characters.
  3. Discuss attributes of mythological characters.

Outcome 2: Upon completion of the course, students will be able to identify or recognize sources of myths from ancient Greek and Roman poets to recent collectors, and to locate such sources in their appropriate geographical and chronological context.

Objectives: Discuss the following works in terms of general context in time and place:

  1. Ancient Greek myths: Homer (especially Odyssey), Hesiod (especially Theogony).
  2. Roman sources: Vergil (Aeneid) and/or Ovid (Metamorphoses).
  3. Other mythologies (substantial samples of any two of the following: Norse or other Germanic material; Native American myths; Indian or other Asian traditions; Hawaiian myths.)

Outcome 3: Upon completion of this course, students will be able to apply theories which have been developed to interpret specific motifs in myth.


  1. Identify at least 6 of the following modes of interpretation.
    1. Allegory
    2. Euhemerism
    3. Solar imagery and/or other implicit nature-etiology
    4. Problems of historical origin (when given in class)
    5. Linguistic issues (when given in class)
    6. Ritual-based etiologies
    7. Shamanic references
    8. Psychological interpretations (including Jung’s archetype theory and Campbell’s application of it to the neo-subjectivist approach)
    9. Structural analysis (including Propp’s linear approach and Lévi-Strauss’ non-linear polarization technique)
  2. Associate above theories with an appropriate ancient or modern theorist.
  3. Apply such theories to the students’ own discussions (in class, in essays and on tests) in order to elucidate multiple meanings from specified myths.

Outcome 4: Upon completion of this course, students will be able to exhibit use of mythological terminology.

Objectives: Define and use (in class, in essays, and on tests) the following terms.

  1. Allegory
  2. Euhemerism
  3. Etiological myth
  4. Solar myth
  5. Lunar myth
  6. Chthonic myth
  7. Katabasis
  8. Initiatory ritual
  9. Shamanism
  10. Totemism
  11. Motif
  12. Structure
  13. Archetype
  14. Stereotype
  15. Trickster
  16. Linear sequence
  17. Polarization

Outcome 5: Upon completion of this course, students will be able to analyze myths.


  1. Identify the structure of myths.
  2. Assign myths to specific categories (such as trickster-myths, creation-myths, etiologies, allegories, etc.).
  3. Critically analyze myths.

  • Communication: The graduate can communicate effectively for the intended purpose and audience.
  • Critical Thinking: The graduate can make informed decisions after analyzing information or evidence related to the issue.
  • Global Literacy: The graduate can analyze human behavior or experiences through cultural, social, political, or economic perspectives.
  • Information Literacy: The graduate can responsibly use information gathered from a variety of formats in order to complete a task.
  • Quantitative Reasoning: The graduate can apply quantitative methods or evidence to solve problems or make judgments.
  • Scientific Literacy: The graduate can produce or interpret scientific information presented in a variety of formats.
CDO marked YES apply to this course:
The term’s work will be scheduled in the following units.
UNIT 1 Attitudes to myth; definitions; Modern critics and their contributions to the subject.
UNIT 2 Greek gods and goddesses, their roles and functions, especially in Homer’s Odyssey. Monsters, Tricksters, importance of the Psychopomp. UNIT 3 Modern critics (continued): structural devices and observations. Introduction to Norse culture and myths. Examples of Creation-Myths.
UNIT 4 Greek creation myths. Symbolism; Sympathetic Magic; Totem; Taboo. Psychology-based criticism of myths.
Attitudes to life vs. death; Afterlife, Underworld, Immortality, Sacral Kingship and fertility ritual.
UNIT 5 Conclusion of the course: Application of all criticism-theories to the Odyssey as a whole. At the end of each unit there will be a Unit Test.
Test #5 is the Final Examination.
Primary Faculty
Farrow, Jim
Secondary Faculty

Associate Dean
Parker, Catherine
Pritchett, Marie

Primary Syllabus - Macomb Community College, 14500 E 12 Mile Road, Warren, MI 48088

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