World Mythologies

I.     Course Prefix/Number: HUM 210

       Course Name: World Mythologies

       Credits: 3 (3 lecture; 0 lab)

II.    Prerequisite


III.   Course (Catalog) Description

Course explores the nature of mythology. Content includes themes, archetypal figures and situations, symbolism and figurative language found in selected folklore and legendary narratives. Comparative studies of two or more traditions are undertaken.  IAI H9 901

IV.   Learning Objectives

After completing this course, students will be able to

  1. Critically distinguish between mythology and other forms of cultural discourse, such as religion, philosophy or science.
  2. Identify mythological motifs from three or more traditions and explain their connection to the historical, social, religious and ethical context of the particular culture in which the tradition develops.
  3. Identify universal themes which may be seen as common to mythologies of different cultures.
  4. Develop an account of the contributions mythological heritages have made to the self-understandings of cultures in the present, through sayings, stories, moral lessons and folklore.
  5. Critically discuss and evaluate the philosophical and ethical content of these mythological traditions and their contemporary relevance.
  6. Express respect for different cultures through the exploration of their mythologies.
  7. Exhibit values related to teamwork and collaboration, fostered by the pedagogy of shared-inquiry and critical dialogue appropriate to the humanities and philosophy.

V.    Academic Integrity and Student Conduct

Students and employees at Oakton Community College are required to demonstrate academic integrity and follow Oakton's Code of Academic Conduct. This code prohibits:

• cheating,
• plagiarism (turning in work not written by you, or lacking proper citation),
• falsification and fabrication (lying or distorting the truth),
• helping others to cheat,
• unauthorized changes on official documents,
• pretending to be someone else or having someone else pretend to be you,
• making or accepting bribes, special favors, or threats, and
• any other behavior that violates academic integrity.

There are serious consequences to violations of the academic integrity policy. Oakton's policies and procedures provide students a fair hearing if a complaint is made against you. If you are found to have violated the policy, the minimum penalty is failure on the assignment and, a disciplinary record will be established and kept on file in the office of the Vice President for Student Affairs for a period of 3 years.

Please review the Code of Academic Conduct and the Code of Student Conduct, both located online at

VI.   Sequence of Topics

(This is a sample outline of topics. In your outline of topics please specify the dates on which you will cover specific topics as well as other important dates, such as exams and paper deadlines. The instructor may decide to take a thematic approach or a survey approach. Below is an example of the survey approach. A thematic approach might, for example, have a section on Myths of Creation, a section on Myths of the Fall, one on Women in Mythology, etc.)

  1. Introduction to Concept of Myth and Theories of Mythological Dissemination
  2. Mythologies of the Middle East and Africa
  3. Ancient Mesopotamian Myth and the Gilgamesh Epic
  4. Ancient Egyptian Myth and the Book of the Dead
  5. Tribal and Islamic Mythologies of Africa
  6. The relation between Mesopotamian and Biblical Mythologies
  7. Mythologies of Ancient and Medieval Europe
  8. The Epics of Greco-Roman Literature
  9. Greco-Roman State, Popular and Hermetic Cults
  10. Myths and Legends of Northern Europe
  11. The Legends of Central European Romances
  12. Mythologies of the Pacific Islands and the Americas
  13. The Polynesian Myths: The Goddess Hina Cycle
  14. Middles American Myths: Religions of the Aztecs and Mayans
  15. Native American Myths: Blackfoot Hunting Cycles
  16. Native America and Europeans: Chief Seattle and Black Elk
  17. Mythologies of Asia
  18. The Hindu Epics: The Ramayana and Mahabharata
  19. Gods and Goddesses of Bhakti Hinduism
  20. Myths of Ancient China and Japan
  21. Myths in the Modern World
  22. Mythology in Hero Literature and Science Fiction
  23. Mythology in Modern Cinema

VII.  Methods of Instruction

  1. Lectures and discussion
  2. Small group work
  3. Films
  4. Student presentations and debates
  5. Guest speakers
  6. Field trips may be required

Course may be taught as face-to-face, hybrid or online course.

VIII. Course Practices Required

(Please include information here about all expectations you have for your students regarding behavior, work, etc. The following are sample topics you may wish to cover. Please be aware that you must require students in this course to produce at least 15 pages of critical written assignments over the course of the semester. These may be assigned in a variety of ways including journals, response papers, field trip projects, etc.)

  1. Attendance
  2. Standards for written work
  3. Quizzes/Exams
  4. Participation
  5. Essays
  6. Final Project
  7. Special policies about make-up exams, late papers, or other matters of concern

IX.   Instructional Materials

Note: Current textbook information for each course and section is available on Oakton's Schedule of Classes.

Texts such as:

The Legendary Past. University of Texas Press, 1990, 4 volume servies: Mesopotamian Myths. (Henrietta McCall), Egyptian Myths. (George Hart), Greek Myths. (Lucilla Burn) and Norse Myths. (R.I. Paige).

The Masks of God. Joseph Campbell, Viking Press, 1976, 4 volume series: Primitive Mythology. Oriental Mythology. Occidental Mythology. Creative Mythology.

(Second) Middle Eastern Mythology: From the Assyrians to the Hebrews. S.H. Hooke, Penguin, 1988.

(Source) Gilgamesh. John Gardiner and John Maier, trans., Vintage Books, 1985.

(Second) Ancient Egyptian Religion. Stephen Quirke, British Museum Press, 1990.

(Source) The Egyptian Book of the Dead. Raymond G. Faulkner, trans., University of Texas Press, 1990.

(Second) African Religions. Benjamin C. Ray, Prentice Hall, 1999.

(Source) Sunjata: The Gamian Version of the Mande Epic. Gordon Innes, Trans., Penguin Classics, 2000.

((Second) Classical Mythology. Mark P.O. Morford and Robert J. Lenardon, Longman, 1991.

(Source) The Iliad, The Odyssey. Aescylus, Sophocles, Euripides, or Ovid.

(Second) The Mythology of Native North America. David Adams Leeming and Jake Page, University of Oklahoma Press, 1998.

(Source) American Indian Myths and Legends. Richard Erodoes and Alfonso Ortiz, eds., Pantheon, 1985.

(Second) The Myths and Gods of India. Alain Danleou, Inner Traditions, 1991.

(Source) Hindu Myths. Wendy O’Flaherty, ed., Penguin Classics, 1975.

(Source) Tian Wen: A Chinese Book of Origins. Yuan Qu and Stephen Field, trans., New Directions, 1986.

(Source) Chinese Mythology: An Introduction. Anne M. Birrell, Johns Hopkins University Press, 1999.

(Second) Myths and Legends of Japan. F. Hakland Davis, Dover, 1992.

(Source) Nihongi: Chronicles of Japan. Shoi Nihon and W.J. Aston, trans., Charles E. Tuttle, 1972.

X.    Methods of Evaluating Student Progress

(In this section, please present the percentages or point breakdown of their final grade. The writing assignments should count for at least 40% of the final grade. An example follows.)

  1. Quizzes/Exams……40 points
  2. Essays……40 points
  3. Final project with oral presentation……10 points
  4. Attendance and participation………10 points
  5. Grading scale: 90-100, A…….80-89, B………70-79, C……….60-69……..D

XI.   Other Course Information

Instructor information
Office and office hours:
Email and website:

If you have a documented learning, psychological, or physical disability you may be entitled to reasonable academic accommodations or services. To request accommodations or services, contact the Access and Disability Resource Center at the Des Plaines or Skokie campus. All students are expected to fulfill essential course requirements. The College will not waive any essential skill or requirement of a course or degree program.

Oakton Community College is committed to maintaining a campus environment emphasizing the dignity and worth of all members of the community, and complies with all federal and state Title IX requirements.

Resources and support for
  • pregnancy-related and parenting accommodations; and
  • victims of sexual misconduct
can be found at

Resources and support for LGBTQ+ students can be found at

Electronic video and/or audio recording is not permitted during class unless the student obtains written permission from the instructor. In cases where recordings are allowed, such content is restricted to personal use only. Any distribution of such recordings is strictly prohibited. Personal use is defined as use by an individual student for the purpose of studying or completing course assignments.

For students who have been approved for audio and/or video recording of lectures and other classroom activities as a reasonable accommodation by Oakton’s Access Disabilities Resource Center (ADRC), applicable federal law requires instructors to permit those recordings. Such recordings are also limited to personal use. Any distribution of such recordings is strictly prohibited.

Violation of this policy will result in disciplinary action through the Code of Student Conduct.