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Master Syllabus

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Administrative Unit: Humanities Department
Course Prefix and Number: ENGL 323
Course Title: The Hero in Mythology
Number of:
Credit Hours 3
Lecture Hours 3
Lab Hours 0
Catalog Description:

Study of the hero in mythology from a cross cultural perspective. Emphasis lies on examining, defining and discussing the hero from a cross cultural, mythological perspective and determining the hero’s role in society today. Prerequisites: ENGL 112 and a previous 200-level or higher English course.

Prerequisite(s) / Corequisite(s): ENGL 112 and a previous 200-level or higher English course.
Course Rotation for Day Program: Occasional offering.
Text(s): Most current editions of the following:

This course centers on Campbell’s "Hero with a Thousand Faces", which should be the core text. The novels, however, are a suggestion of several among many suitable for discussion and examination of the hero in the modern or contemporary world. Also available is a PBS series of Campbell’s lectures on mythology introduced by Bill Moyers which would make an excellent supplement to Campbell’s Hero if time permits during the course session or semester.

The Hero with a Thousand Faces
By Campbell, Joseph (Princeton)
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
By Kesey, Ken (Viking Press)
Black Elk Speaks
By Neihardt, John G. (University of Nebraska Press)
The Catcher in the Rye
By Salinger, J.D. (Little, Brown & Co.)
Course Objectives
  • To introduce the hero in mythology from a cross cultural perspective.
  • To explore the significance of the hero to our society today.
  • To examine the way the mythological hero informs important works of fiction of modern or contemporary society.
    Measurable Learning
  • Analyze conceptual frames in mythology and current culture.
  • Assess the central themes in mythology and compare these to current cultural works.
  • Demonstrate through oral and written exercises practical criticism of mythological archetypes.
  • Demonstrate command of basic appropriate literary terms and elements.
    Topical Outline:

    Departmental policy requires a minimum of 6,000 words of graded student writing to include at least one research paper of at least 750 words, for this course.

  • An examination, discussion and definition of the hero from a microcosmic (local, social world perspective) (Joseph Campbell)
  • An examination, discussion and definition of the hero from a macrocosmic (universal, cosmic perspective) ( Joseph Campbell)
  • An examination, discussion, and identification of the hero in two to three modern or contemporary works
  • A relation of the hero to the student’s life and world view (interpretive or research essay)

    Culminating Experience Statement:

    Material from this course may be tested on the Major Field Test (MFT) administered during the Culminating Experience course for the degree. 
    During this course the ETS Proficiency Profile may be administered.  This 40-minute standardized test measures learning in general education courses.  The results of the tests are used by faculty to improve the general education curriculum at the College.


    Recommended maximum class size for this course: 35

    Library Resources:

    Online databases are available at You may access them from off-campus using your CougarTrack login and password when prompted.

    Prepared by: Johanna Denzin Date: May 1, 2010
    NOTE: The intention of this master course syllabus is to provide an outline of the contents of this course, as specified by the faculty of Columbia College, regardless of who teaches the course, when it is taught, or where it is taught. Faculty members teaching this course for Columbia College are expected to facilitate learning pursuant to the course objectives and cover the subjects listed in the topical outline. However, instructors are also encouraged to cover additional topics of interest so long as those topics are relevant to the course's subject. The master syllabus is, therefore, prescriptive in nature but also allows for a diversity of individual approaches to course material.

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