Classical Mythology Syllabus

Classical Mythology (CC-245)
Fall 2011 – Tues-Fri 11.00 am – 12.15 pm ~ McDermott 301

In this class we will study the myths of the ancient Greeks and Roman in comparison to mythologies from other cultures around the world. We will also study the influence of classical mythology on Western literature and culture, and especially our contemporary culture’s literature and film (and video games); anthropological and psychoanalytic theories and interpretations of myth; and myth and gender.


Kristina Chew, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Classics
Dept. of Modern & Classical Languages & Literatures
Hilsdorf Hall (51 Glenwood Avenue), Room 203
Saint Peter’s College
Tel. 201.761.6295
Office Hours: Monday, Thursday: 11am-12noon, 1-2pm

Course Goals and Objectives
By the end of this course, the student will have achieved the following:

  • A thorough knowledge of ancient Greek and Roman mythology.
  • Some knowledge of ancient Greek and Roman history, religion, philosophy, art history and architecture.
  • The ability to identify the use of ancient mythology and mythological themes in contemporary literature, film and other forms of media.
  • Understanding of critical theories of myth from anthropology and psychology.
  • Familiarity with various Internet resources for the study of ancient Greece and Rome, classical mythology, and world mythology.


  1. Introduction to Mythology by Thury and Devinney (Oxford Press)
  2. Anthology of Classical Myth by Trzaskoma, Smith and Brunet (Hackett)

Optional books (NB: if you are taking the mythology course for Honors credit — these 2 additional books are required)

  1. American Gods by Neil Gaiman
  2. Dictee by Theresa Hak Kyung Cha

***Please check the professor’s website, daily for all homework and writing assignments, links to online resources, and information about the class.

***Other technologies used will be films (from online sources and DVDs) and computer presentations.

Class Participation and Homework ~ 20%
2 five-page essays ~ 25%
Oral Presentations ~   25%
Mid-term ~ 15%
Final exam ~ 15%

(subject to change at the instructor’s discretion)

This schedule is subject to change according to the discretion of the instructor.

Week 1: Sept 2: What is myth?

Week 2: Sept 6, 9: Cosmologies: Creation

Week 3: Sept 13, 16: Cosmologies: Destruction

Week 4: Sept 20, 23: Heroes & Tricksters (two different faces of the same?)

Week 5: Sept 27, 30: Heroes & Tricksters (two different faces of the same?)

Week 6: Oct 4, 7: Ritual and Myth

Week 7: Oct 11, 14: Ritual and Myth; Midterm

Week 8: Oct 18, 21:  Myths, Dreams, Psychoanalytic Theory

Week 9: Oct 25, 28: Myths and Gender

Week 10: Nov 1, 4: Myth and Gender

Week 11: Nov 8, 11: Folktales and Fairy Tales

Week 12: Nov 15, 18: Folktales and Fairy Tales

Week 13: Nov 22:   ~  Nov 24: Thanksgiving (no class)

Week 14: Nov 29, Dec 2; Myth in a Contemporary Context

Week 15: Dec 6, 9; Myth in a Contemporary Context

Week 16: Dec. 13. Review

Final Examination Period: Dec 14 – 20

Class Participation and Homework
This course will be taught in a seminar/lecture format. Students are expected to have prepared all assignments (reading, writing, and presentations) before coming to class and to be prepared to engage in thoughtful discussion and to answer questions concerning the assigned reading and the films. There will be homework assignments everyday.

Writing Assignments/Essays/Oral Presentations
There will be two 5-page essays (one will ask you to apply theoretical concepts to myth; the other is TBA) and one 10-15 minute oral presentation.

  • You will be required to make specific reference to ancient primary sources in your essays.
  • Essays and all written assignments are due at the start of the class on the due date.
  • Essays may be submitted in hard copy format (i.e. printed out on paper) or via email.
  • I am glad to discuss your essay with you prior to your writing it and will read rough drafts (either in hard copy format or sent via email) if you get them to me at least three days before the due date (i.e., if a paper is due on a Tuesday, the last date that I will read a draft is Saturday evening).
  • **Students taking this course for Honors credit must write an additional 8 – 10 page research paper.**

Midterm and Final
These exams will require you to (1) identify mythological, historical, and other terms and concepts in short answer format; (2) respond to essay questions.

Plagiarism Policy
Plagiarism is the stealing, purchasing, or copying of someone else’s ideas, writing, or other original work and using them as one’s own. Plagiarism, intentional or unintentional, is considered academic dishonesty and all instances will be reported to the Office of the Academic Dean. Plagiarism and cheating of any kind are not tolerated under any circumstances.


Attendance Policy
Students are permitted no more than four absences after which they are in danger of failing the course. After missing two consecutive classes, you must contact the professor by email or phone to provide an explanation of your absence and a plan for making up all missed work. After three absences, an Early Warning form will be sent to the Academic Dean, who will ask you to meet with her in person to discuss the reasons for your absences and your commitment to the class. Lateness to class (more than two times) will count as an absence.

• If you are absent, it is your responsibility to contact the instructor and to check the professor’s website to find out the assignment for the next class meeting.
• Always bring the following to class: our textbook, a notebook, and a pen or other writing implement.
• Students will help to make this class a community by being courteous and committed members of the class, speaking frequently and thoughtfully in class discussions, and collaborating in frequent group work with one or two other students.

Accommodations for students with disabilities

The College will make reasonable accommodations for students with documented disabilities. Any student with a documented disability needing academic adjustments or accommodations is encouraged to speak to the instructor as soon as possible, to ensure that such accommodations are implemented in a timely fashion.


Behavior in the classroom.
• The use of cell phones, beepers, or other communication devices is disruptive, and is therefore prohibited during class. Except in emergencies, these devices should not be used during classtime.
• If you have a laptop computer, you are required to turn it off and keep it closed during class, unless you have consulted in advance with the professor about using it. You are not permitted to check email or IM, visit websites, or send text messages during classtime. Failure to comply with this policy will significantly lower your class participation grade and, ultimately, your overall grade in the course.


About kristinachew

classicist | translator (of ancient Greek & Latin poetry & drama) View all posts by kristinachew

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: