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MythConceptions : Semester project
Introduction Guidelines Schedule

In the semester project students may either

(1) draw connections between ancient myth and the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU); or

(2) discuss how the MCU resembles ancient myth.

     Students who choose option (1) should emphasize how at least one element of ancient myth — story, character, theme, motif — manifests in at least one film in the MCU.

     Students opting for option (2) should emphasize ways in which the MCU is articulated as myth-making.

     In either scenario, papers should pay due attention to the WHAT, WHY, and HOW of mythography in antiquity and modernity. The final outcome is a research paper of about 2400 words.

     Potential topics include (but are not limited to)

  • Cosmic narratives / cosmic consequences.
  • Successions and generations.
  • Heroic cooperation / heroic quarrels.
  • The aesthetics of violence.
  • Heroic bodies.
  • Heroic types.
  • Gender roles.
  • The interconnected storytelling universe.
  • Arrangement of storytelling units (poems, books, films, sequels, prequels).

     This is just scratching the surface. The instruction team is ready to help you find, develop, and refine potential topics.

     The final paper is due by Thursday, December 19 at noon


This project requires students to engage with both primary and secondary sources. The primary sources are of course the myths themselves in whatever form they take (literary, visual, and otherwise), as well as the modern screen texts (movies and television).

     The secondary sources are works about the primary sources and their authors:  analyses, reviews, essays, and other pieces of critical writing. Students will be expected to avail themselves of Scribner Library to uncover useful secondary sources.

     Toward this end, the MythConceptions reserve shelf has dozens of books to inspire and support many different topics. (It also includes every single MCU film on DVD.) In addition, our Resources page includes some search engines to help you uncover additional scholarship and research on your topic.

     Over the course of the semester, you will track your research by assembling an annotated bibliography of six useful secondary sources. The bibliography you attach to your actual paper should be longer, but by annotating six items you will discover ways to become part of the scholarly conversation on your topic.


Several milestones will help keep the project on track. Many of them are due on Saturday evenings by 11:00 p.m. and should be submitted to Prof. Curley via email.

     GENERAL FORMAT: Written requirements should be typed, double-spaced, and have one-inch margins all around and numbered pages. They should hacve your name on, and they must be in PDF format.

Proposal (Saturday, October 19, 11:00 p.m.)

In 2–3 full paragraphs, students will declare which option they intend to pursue, as well as on which myth(s) or work(s) they will focus. Students will indicate the direction of their research, both what they propose to find as they proceed and which books on the MythConceptions reserve shelf have proven helpful so far.

     Remember to follow the general formatting requirements.

Annotated Bibliography 1 (Saturday, November 2, 11:00 p.m.)

A brief bibliography consisting of three secondary sources. The sources must be listed in a conventional bibliographic format and annotated in two paragraphs as follows:

  • One paragraph summarizing the source: its main idea or ideas; and
  • A second paragraph offering a reaction to the source:

    -- What specficially do you take away from it?
    -- How might these takeaways inform your project?

     It practically goes without saying that you shouldn't list or annotate a secondary source that isn't helpful.

     Remember to follow the general formatting requirements.

Annotated Bibliography 2 (Saturday, November 16, 11:00 p.m.)

The same bibliography as before, its earlier entries modified based on your instructors' comments or subsequent research, PLUS annotations on three additional secondary sources.

     Remember to follow the general formatting requirements.

Rough Draft (Saturday, December 7, 11:00 p.m.)

A rough draft of your paper. Think of it as a 60-75% finished version of the final version. All matters pertaining to structure and content should be settled, if not fully developed. A few gaps are acceptable, provided that there are complete summaries of what is missing.

     Remember to follow the general formatting requirements.

Rough Draft Meetings (Week of December 9)

A 30-minute meeting with Prof. Curley to discuss your project to date, with an eye toward your final draft. Come prepared to take notes.

Final paper (Thursday, December 19, noon)

A polished-to-perfection draft of the project paper, with an unannotated bibliography of all primary and secondary sources. Your paper should:

  • follow the general formatting requirements.
  • be between 1800–2400 words in length (at least 9 double-spaced pages);
  • follow the helpful guidelines on citing sources in the Skidmore Guide to Writing;
  • employ footnotes or endnotes (one or the other) only when in-line citations are impractical or to address issues in the main body of the paper that need further explanation, clarification, or support;
  • have an unannotated final bibliography; and
  • be free of careless mistakes in spelling and usage. It should feel like the product of many days, not several hours.
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