Mythologies in Motion

Harsimran K. Kalra with fellow students and professor Francisco Peña in WRLD 310

Harsimran K. Kalra with fellow students and professor Francisco Peña in the Mythologies in Motion course

 

The study of World Literatures is something new that is being offered by the Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies. World Literatures creatively takes advantage of FCCS faculty’s range of expertise in the field of literature and proposes to open a dialogue between worldviews through the study of literatures from a range of cultures and historical periods.

This year, professor Francisco Peña taught Mythologies in Motion, a course at the 300 level that students were able to take as an elective from a number of different programs. Dr. Peña noted that the biggest surprise he had was in relation to the range of students and the diversity of programs that the students are in.

“There have been many students interested in the humanities, in general, but there have also been those who come from the field of science, especially biology.” says Peña.

This course looks at understanding mythology “in its motion”, in a constant state of transformation or re-adaptation, without ever losing sight of the transcultural nature of mythology.

Harsimran K. Kalra, as student from Human Kinetics, noted that this course had her learning things and ideas that she had never come across before academically, and helped her push the boundaries of her own thinking.

“This was my first ever Humanities course at UBCO and I absolutely enjoyed it.” says Harsimran, “My favorite part of the course was that it had me questioning my own ideas, beliefs and world-view, that I have been socialized into and indoctrinated with. It had me thinking critically and analyzing my own sense of ideology and identity, which is always a wonderful exercise in self- awareness and self-improvement.”

student presentations in the WRLD 301 course

student presentations in the WRLD 310 course

In a subject as diverse and rich as mythology, an instructor always learns a lot from the perspectives and the readings, questions and impressions that the students bring.

“In this particular course, I have learned a lot from my students because of the diverse composition of their backgrounds, of their interest, and the work they brought to their projects and presentations.” noted Peña.

“Mythology has always intrigued me and yet I had never come across it as an academic discipline. When I read the course description, I initially thought that this would be an interesting course to take and that I would learn novel ideas that I would thoroughly enjoy!” says Harsimran.

This coming year there is also a new World Literatures courses at the 100 level, A World History of Horror, which will be an introduction to the idea of horror in literature across historical themes, geographical regions and genres. Students can take this or the Mythologies in Motion course as an elective to add to almost any program on campus.

For more information on the World Literatures courses and initiative, contact francisco.pena@ubc.ca

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