Course Syllabus


This two-credit seminar joins Kathleen Brian's Introduction to the Study of Religion and Paul James' Introduction to Cultural Anthropology to form a Freshman Interest Group (FIG). This class will try to find in ancient Greek myth some common ground where you can apply what you learn in your studies of anthropology and religion. We shall also use the study of myth as a medium for learning about academic and cultural resources available at the University.

Upon completion of the Freshman Interest Group program, students will understand the intellectual, moral, civic, and personal purposes of their liberal arts education; negotiate successfully the academic and personal opportunities and challenges of their first year; and connect to Western faculty and the larger campus community.  This FIG seminar will also emphasize the importance of independent research as a core component of a liberal arts education.


Miller Krause ( )

Department of Modern and Classical Languages

Office Hours: in Miller Hall 122D every day from 2:30 to 3:30 PM.

Class Time and Location

This seminar meets every Tuesday and Thursday from 11:00 to 11:50 in Miller Hall 015, in the basement (the numbers of basement rooms begin with zero).  We first meet on Thursday, September 26, and last on Thursday, December 5.  We do not meet on Thanksgiving (Thursday, November 28).  The final examination is on Canvas, so you don't need to worry about meeting during the scheduled final examination period.


Instead of purchasing a textbook, students will find readings supplied on Canvas on this syllabus, at the bottom, or on the modules page. The internet abounds with English translations of ancient myths, offered for free; what was not available or not very well translated into English, I've translated myself and added as PDF files.

University Services for Students

I am more than happy to make accommodations for students with disabilities or other special needs. So that the Disability Access Center (DAC) can ensure that your needs are being met appropriately, all requests for accommodation must be made through the MyDAC system every quarter: accommodations do not automatically roll-over into future quarters. New students should enroll with the DAC office to receive accommodations.

Phone: (360) 650-3083

The Student Health Center not only provides primary care services but handles documentation of medical issues for you, making your life easier.

Phone: (360) 650-3400

In the case of a family or personal crisis or emergency, please contact the Office of Student Life. During a personal or family crisis, the office of the Office of Student Life can coordinate arrangements with all of your professors for you, making your life easier.

Phone: (360) 650-3450

Academic Integrity

Be honest in your work. See the University's Academic Integrity website. We'll have a speaker from the Western Coalition for Integrity talk about academic integrity on October 31.


Grading Scale

the course grading scale

Course Requirements

Attendance and Participation (20%)

You should come to class. If reading alone sufficed for education, the state would eliminate all teachers and invest in libraries.

Athletes and anyone planning on missing class for athletics, university-sponsored events, military duty, or religious holidays should inform me of absences in advance. That lets me excuse absences and add time to Canvas assignments for those students in advance. Within the first two weeks of class, give me a letter listing the games/matches/meets, events, military service, or religious holidays requiring absences for the quarter, so that I can plan ahead to help you stay on track. I like planning ahead.

Readings (20%)

Tuesday classes (and the first Thursday) will have primary and secondary readings.  Primary sources, at least for classics, are ancient texts written long ago in Greek and Latin; secondary scholarship consists of journal articles and books written in the modern period about the ancient world, trying to understand and explain it. Primary sources are the data you want to understand, and secondary scholarship shows you how other people have tried to understand that data. Both are important in academia, for reasons that we shall discuss in class and in assignments.  

Each day of readings will come with a reading check, three brief essay questions on the readings to focus your attention on things we shall discuss in class. The reading check is due by the beginning of class and closes when class begins—you won't be able to turn in the reading check after that.

Assignments (30%)

A variety of assignments will ask you to prepare for interviews, to present information to the class, to discuss things online, and to practice important skills that you will use throughout your time at the university.  Some assignments are for you alone, and others require you to work together.

Miniature Research Paper (20%)

To help introduce you to independent research and the many tools that the university provides to help you investigate the humanities, we shall write brief research papers. These will not be long—three pages is enough—but they will require you to step through a process and make use of facilities that probably are not familiar to you yet. The point for this seminar is not the final result of the paper, which is why it can be so short, but rather the experience of finding a topic, conducting research, and turning that research into writing.

Find a topic in Greek mythology that interests you, research it using the Bibliography, develop a thesis that sets forth your opinion, and then argue for that thesis in your paper. The paper should be three pages double-spaced (Canvas will reformat your paper when you submit it, so don't worry too much about fonts or margins) and must cite at least three secondary sources.

Final Examination (10%)

The final examination will be essay-based: you will write on three topics, two chosen for you and one that you will select from a list of possible topics.  The examination questions will cover all the myths that we have read in the quarter, and some questions will ask you to apply your knowledge of religion and anthropology to Greek myths.

Per University policy, no student may take a final examination before the final examination week. Because the examination is on Canvas, you do have the flexibility of taking it when and where you want during finals week, but you cannot take the examination earlier than the final examination week.


If you have questions about how to use Canvas, first read the Canvas Guides for Students. If you still need help after that, contact the ATUS Help Desk at or or (360) 650-3333.

For other questions, e-mail me at or stop by my office during office hours.

Weekly Schedule

Below you will find a schedule of all exams, quizzes, assignments, readings, lectures, and the film. You may find the Modules page easier to navigate, but the schedule below is strictly chronological.

This syllabus is subject to change. Changes, if any, will be announced in class. Students will be held responsible for all changes.

Canvas provides feeds to which you can subscribe, to keep all your course info in your favorite calendar program like Apple's Calendar or Microsoft Outlook. For details, see the Canvas Guide on subscribing to the Calendar Feed.

Course Summary:

Date Details