Tales of Might and Morality
Run by School of History, Law and Social Sciences
20.000 Credits or 10.000 ECTS Credits
Organiser: Dr Joshua Andrews
Overall aims and purpose
This module will begin by introducing students to the various theoretical approaches to the study of mythology, in particular the course will explore the psychoanalytic approaches, functionalism, the myth and ritual school and the comparative method, ensuring that students are able to apply each of these methods to a range of mythological narratives. As the course develops, we will begin to examine the relationship between mythology and culture, exploring how mythology has helped to establish cultural and social norms in a range of Indian, African and European societies. In this way we shall explore how mythology has shaped the way humanity understands a range of themes, such a death, morality, gender and sexuality, analysing whether ancient narratives still shape the way we understand these themes today. The final weeks of the course will question whether humanity is now seeking new myths to help understand the moral dilemmas of the 21st century.
The course will begin by questioning what is meant by the term ‘myth’, we will explore a range of definitions in order to establish what types of narrative can be consider mythological. We will then proceed to discuss the various methods one can use to interpret myths, exploring approaches such the psychoanalytic approaches, functionalism, the myth and ritual school and the comparative method. Throughout this aspect of the course students will be given the opportunity to employ these theoretical approaches by applying them to a range of narratives from variety of different cultures and time periods. In doing this, students should be able to recognise the way mythology has shaped various civilizations, influencing how humanity has understood issues such as morality and death. Finally, we will explore the role of mythology is the modern world, analysing what role mythology plays in popular culture and questioning whether the increasing popularity in comic books and Harry Potter could reflect humanity's yearning for new mythologies.
D- - D +. Submitted work is adequate and shows an acceptable level of competence as follows:
• Generally accurate but with omissions and errors. • Assertions are made without clear supporting evidence or reasoning. • Has structure but is lacking in clarity and therefore relies on the reader to make links and assumptions. • Draws on a relatively narrow range of material.
C- to C+
C- - C +. Submitted work is competent throughout and occasionally distinguished by superior style, approach and choice of supporting materials. It demonstrates: • Good structure and logically developed arguments. • At least in parts draws on material that has been sourced and assessed as a result of independent study, or in a way unique to the student. • Assertions are, in the main, backed by evidence and sound reasoning. • Accuracy and presentation in an appropriate academic style.
B- - B+. Submitted work is competent throughout and distinguished by superior style, approach and choice of supporting materials. It demonstrates: • Very good structure and logically developed arguments. • Draws on material that has been sourced and assessed as a result of independent study, or in a way unique to the student. • Assertions are backed by evidence and sound reasoning. • Accuracy and presentation in an appropriate academic style.
A - - A*. Submitted work is of an outstanding quality and excellent in one or more of the following ways: • Has originality of exposition with the student’s own thinking being readily apparent. • Provides clear evidence of extensive and relevant independent study. • Arguments are laid down with clarity and provide the reader with successive stages of consideration to reach conclusions.
• To recognise the historical, social and philosophical factors that led to the development of some of the major mythological narratives.
• To critically analyse different genres of mythology and critically evaluate how these genres are explored with contemporary society.
• To critically analyse the diverse and shifting nature of mythology and how myths develop to meet the needs of specific groups in particular cultural and historical contexts.
Teaching and Learning Strategy
Students will be given directed reading to complete each week, these readings will be linked to specific topics that will be discussed in their subsequent lectures and seminars. Students will also be required to undertake detailed research in order to complete their written assignment, being encouraged to access a range of online publications and library resources. A selection of documentary films will be made available to them and it will be expected that students watch these during within a specified time frame.
Lectures will introduce students to the various theoretical approaches to the study of mythology will begin to apply these to a range of different mythological narratives. Through lectures, students will also be introduced to how mythology has shaped a range of ancient and contemporary societies. There will be two hours of lectures for eleven weeks.
Each week students will be given a specific myth to read and analyse. Students will be expected to share their thoughts in the weekly seminar. There will be a one-hour seminar each week from week 2 till week 11.
- Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
- Computer Literacy - Proficiency in using a varied range of computer software
- Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
- Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
- Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
- Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.
- Presentation - Able to clearly present information and explanations to an audience. Through the written or oral mode of communication accurately and concisely.
- Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting
Subject specific skills
- Articulacy in identifying underlying issues in a wide variety of debates.
- Precision of thought and expression in the analysis and formulation of complex and controversial problems.
- Sensitivity in interpretation of religious and philosophical texts drawn from a variety of ages and/or traditions.
- Clarity and rigour in the critical assessment of arguments presented in such texts.
- The ability to use and criticise specialised religious and philosophical terminology.
- The ability to abstract and analyse arguments, and to identify flaws in them, such as false premises and invalid reasoning.
- The ability to construct rationally persuasive arguments for or against specific religious and philosophical claims.
- The ability to move between generalisation and appropriately detailed discussion, inventing or discovering examples to support or challenge a position, and distinguishing relevant and irrelevant considerations.
- The ability to consider unfamiliar ideas and ways of thinking, and to examine critically presuppositions and methods within the disciplines of philosophy and religion.
- being sensitive to the role of perceptions of the past in contemporary cultures
Talis Reading listhttp://readinglists.bangor.ac.uk/modules/vpr-3307.html
• Jaan Puhvel (1987) Comparative Mythology. The University of Chicago Press. • John Colarusso (2002) Nart Sagas from the Caucasus, Princeton. • Joseph Campbell (2010) The Hero With A Thousand Faces, MJF Books • Joseph Campbell (2011) The Power of Myth, Anchor • J. F. Bierlein, (1995) Parallel Myths, Ballantine Books Inc. • Jonathan Miles-Watson and Vivian Asimos (2019) The Bloomsbury Reader in the Study of Myth, Bloomsbury Academic
Courses including this module
Optional in courses:
- V100: BA History year 3 (BA/H)
- V10F: BA History [with Foundation Year] year 3 (BA/HF)
- 8B03: BA History (with International Experience) year 4 (BA/HIE)
- V10P: BA History with Placement Year year 4 (BA/HP)
- V140: BA Modern & Contemporary History year 3 (BA/MCH)
- V130: BA Mediaeval and Early Modern His year 3 (BA/MEMH)
- VV15: BA Medieval & Early Modern History with International Exp year 4 (BA/MEMHIE)
- R806: BA Modern Languages & Philos, Ethics & Rel (Subj to Validn) year 4 (BA/MLPRE)
- V5V6: BA Philosophy, Ethics and Religion year 3 (BA/PER)
- VV56: BA Philosophy and Religion year 3 (BA/PHRE)
- VV5P: BA Philosophy and Religion with Placement Year year 3 (BA/PHREP)
- 3VQV: BA Philosophy and Religion and English Literature year 3 (BA/PREN)
- VVR1: BA Philosophy and Religion and French year 4 (BA/PRF)
- VVR2: BA Philosophy and Religion and German year 4 (BA/PRG)
- VVV1: BA Philosophy and Religion and History year 3 (BA/PRH)
- VVR3: BA Philosophy and Religion and Italian year 4 (BA/PRI)
- VV57: BA Philosophy and Religion with International Experience year 3 (BA/PRIE)
- VVW3: BA Philosophy and Religion and Music year 3 (BA/PRM)
- VVR4: BA Philosophy and Religion and Spanish year 4 (BA/PRS)
- VVV2: BA Philosophy and Religion and Welsh History year 3 (BA/PRWH)
- V102: MArts History with International Experience year 3 (MARTS/HIE)
- V101: MArts History year 3 (MARTS/HIST)