Myth in the world Project 2


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In this second project, you will examine, in person, if possible, a phenomenon in culture and interpret it and its underlying narratives using one of the methods of studying myth we cover in class. The focus of this project is how myth relates to a cultural phenomenon in the world. 

This is a staged assignment in three parts. These stages are:

· Week 6: Stage 1 – Topic Selection Video

· Week 7: Stage 2 – Annotated Bibliography

· Week 8: Stage 3 – Interpretation Paper

See the specifics of each stage for instructions on what to submit each week. Please read through all the stages before choosing your myth to make sure you can address everything the assignment requires.


For stage 1, you will choose your topic and WRITE FIVE SENTENCES to share with your classmates.


Choose an activity, place, cultural artifact, or production (see below) whose underlying narratives you can study. Your choice should be a primary source, or something you can observe firsthand. For example, you can study a ritual, a sacred place, or a holiday festival you can attend or watch on video. You also could choose a work of art or an architectural site you can see in person, in photographs, or through an online tour. You can choose a community whose myths you want to study by interviewing someone from that culture. Please keep in mind that whatever you choose must have some links to mythology that you can explore, and it should be something you can observe in person, if possible. You will also need to do the observation during the current semester. You will not be permitted to talk about a past visit to a site, participation in a ritual, a previous conversation with someone, etc., for this assignment. 

Possible topics include the following: 

· Interview: Interview someone knowledgeable about the stories of a culture you are unfamiliar with but want to learn more about. Describe the person you plan to interview, what you hope to learn about from them, and why this topic interests you. For example, you might interview the director of a local Native American museum to learn about Indigenous myths or a Muslim imam to learn about narratives in the Qur’an.

· Observation of a Ritual: You can observe a rite, holiday, or worship service. This can be done by watching a series of at least 3-5 videos of the rite, holiday celebration, or worship service. (Remote worship has become more common since the COVID-19 pandemic.) Identify the observation you plan to make at this point, as well as the occasion and context of the observation and why it interests you. For example, you could view video records of a bar mitzvah or bat mitzvah, or you could view a series of videos on the Hindu celebration of Holi. 

· Sacred Place: Visit and observe a particular sacred place (this can include national monuments or memorials) either in person or virtually. For this approach, identify the place you plan to visit, briefly describe it, and explain your interest in it. Places you could visit include the 9/11 Memorial, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, a sacred First People’s site (usually a natural phenomena), a basilica, a temple, or a pilgrimage site for any religion.

· Material Culture or Artifact: Choose a specific piece of material culture or artifact to explore that connects to myth. Identify the object and its cultural context, and explain your interest in it. For example, you could explore a Passover pillow, kolam, a Greek vase, an Egyptian ankh necklace, a rosary, a Dogon ceremonial mask, or a household shrine. 

· Cultural Production: Choose a work of art, literature, film, or a performance connected to myth. Identify the cultural production, its creator, and its cultural context, and explain your interest in it. For example, a specific interesting sculpture of Ganesh, the film Oh Brother, Where Art Thou? or the painting The Birth of Venus by Sandro Botticelli.

Once you have chosen your topic, WRITE FIVE SENTENCES describing your plan, why you are interested in the topic, and your thoughts about why it is an appropriate topic for a class on myth in the world. In your sentences address the following questions, and feel free to include additional thoughts as appropriate. 

1. What are you planning to study?

2. If a place, where is it located?

3. Who, if anyone, will you interview?

4. Why is this topic interesting to you?

5. Why is it an appropriate topic for a class on myth in the world?

STAGE 2. Annotated Bibliography.

For this assignment, you will gather information for your paper. Construct an annotated bibliography consisting of five sources. All your sources should be from the UMGC library and be useful to your topic, reliable, and scholarly in nature. 

Your list of sources must include:

1. At least one primary source. This can be your interview, your field visit, your observation etc. Some examples include an interview with someone knowledgeable about your topic, or a painting or literary work you are examining, or an observation of the rite or holiday you are studying (depending on what you chose). Make sure you cite it correctly according to MLA style.

2. At least one secondary resource that addresses interpretative methods for comparative mythology, ritual, sacred place, material culture, or myth and history that you will use in your paper. This source can be from the Learning Resources, but you are encouraged to find additional resources from the thinkers covered in the entire course, including week 8.

Your interpretative could include concepts from one of the theorists below

· Carl Jung

· Joseph Campbell

· John Corrigan

· Victor Turner

· Michael Witzel 

· Claude Levi-Strauss

· William Doty

· Mircea Eliade

· Wendy Doninger

· Catherine Bell

For each of the five entries in your bibliography, your annotation should be about 4-5 sentences long and include:

1. A sub-header indicating what type of resource it is based on the list below:

· Primary Source

· Secondary Source – Interpretative Methods

· Secondary Source – General

2. A citation for the reference in MLA format

3. A brief summary of the source, including at least two main points it makes.

4. A comment on how it is useful to your project. 


· Your bibliography should be in alphabetical order according to author’s last name.

· You must use your own words for the annotation.

· Please do not use library summaries and avoid using auto-paraphrasing tools.

STAGE 3. Interpretation Paper.

At this stage you will submit your complete paper. The final paper should address the relationship between your chosen topic and the narratives that relate to it and shape its meaning. 

Your paper should include the following: 

· An introduction which introduces your topic (activity, place, artifact or cultural production) and your approach to analyzing its underlying narratives. 

· A summary of what you learned or observed about your topic and its underlying myths.

· An analysis using one of the methodological approaches we have covered throughout the semester to show how myth and your topic interact and connect. Examples of what is expected could include: 


· Showing how an initiation ritual and its underlying myths connect within the cultural context of the ritual and then discuss how Victor Turner’s concept of communitas in that ritual helps uphold societal norms of that culture. 

· Examining a Greek statue of Venus, her myths, and how both can represent an archetype that expresses specific values about womanhood in Greek culture and womanhood in the collective unconscious, as per Carl Jung’s ideas. 

· Discussing a sacred place, its underlying myths, and how historical processes and social power within this site’s culture play a role in the construction of its significance, in accordance with Johnathan Z. Smith’s ideas.

Your interpretative method could include concepts from one of the theorists below

· Carl Jung

· Joseph Campbell

· John Corrigan

· Victor Turner

· Michael Witzel 

· Claude Levi-Strauss

· William Doty

· Mircea Eliade

· Wendy Doninger

· Catherine Bell

· A conclusion

· A reference list

Make sure to include in your submission documentary evidence of your research. For instance:

· If you did an interview, include a name and contact information for your interviewee. 

· If you did an observation, include a program or a photo at the site of the observation, or citations of any videos you may have watched to learn about the ritual, ceremony or service.

· For works of art, make sure to include a picture of the work(s) you are analyzing, as well as a citation for the image.

· For films, books etc., make sure to include a citation of the work in your references list, as well as specific examples from them in your paper. 

Format:  Your completed paper should be 1000-1500 words (about 4-6 pages) in length. 

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