45.374 Myth, Ritual and Festival

Myth, Ritual and Festival

Course Details
Min Credits 3
Max Credits 3
Course ID 36908
Status Active

This course aims to analyze the social, cultural, and religious phenomena of the festival or holiday in its connection with myth and ritual. We focus in particular on the groundbreaking work of the Russian literary theorist Mikhail Bakhtin and his analysis of the cross-cultural features of the idea of the festival, for example the Roman Saturnalia, the British May Day festival, and our modern thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year festivals. We will also consider other important contributions to the study of ritual and festival, including those of James Frazer, mircea Eliade, and Joseph Campbell. A substantial part of the class will be focused on the sociological and historical aspects of the role of festival in modern society. We will also attempt to place the festival and holiday tradition within a larger framework of the role of myth and ritual in religion.