RLMgA003 Myth and Ritual

Faculty of Arts
Spring 2023
Extent and Intensity
1/1/0. 6 credit(s) (plus 3 credits for an exam). Recommended Type of Completion: zk (examination). Other types of completion: k (colloquium).
Taught in person.
PhDr. Dalibor Papoušek, Ph.D. (lecturer)
PhDr. Iva Doležalová (lecturer)
Mgr. et Mgr. Radek Kundt, Ph.D. (lecturer)
Mgr. Martin Lang, Ph.D. (lecturer)
doc. PhDr. David Zbíral, Ph.D. (lecturer)
Guaranteed by
doc. PhDr. David Zbíral, Ph.D.
Department for the Study of Religions - Faculty of Arts
Contact Person: Mgr. Matouš Vencálek
Supplier department: Department for the Study of Religions - Faculty of Arts
Thu 12:00–13:40 G31
Prerequisites (in Czech)
(! RLA65 Theory of Myth and Ritual ) && TYP_STUDIA ( MND )
Course Enrolment Limitations
The course is also offered to the students of the fields other than those the course is directly associated with.
The capacity limit for the course is 35 student(s).
Current registration and enrolment status: enrolled: 7/35, only registered: 0/35, only registered with preference (fields directly associated with the programme): 0/35
fields of study / plans the course is directly associated with
Course objectives
The course explains the place and meaning of theory and methodology in the study of myth and ritual. It is aimed at the representative theories of myth and ritual, their explanatory potential, interrelations and relevance for contemporary discussions in the field of the academic study of religions. In the teaching process, the attention is focused on class discussions based on individual home readings and written commentaries on assigned texts.
Learning outcomes
After completing the course, students will be able to:
  • demonstrate the knowledge of main theories of myth and ritual;
  • identify the main trends in the theoretical study of myth and ritual;
  • evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of particular theoretical approaches to myth and ritual;
  • apply the given theories to particular cases within different religions.
  • Syllabus
    • Introduction to the course (David Zbíral)
    • Elementary definition of myth and ritual (David Zbíral a Dalibor Papoušek)
    • Myth-ritual relation and ways of its conceptualization: W. Robertson Smith and the myth and ritual school (Dalibor Papoušek)
    • Evolucionism a intellectualism in the interpretation of mythological thinking: E. B. Tylor, J. G. Frazer, L. Lévy-Bruhl (Dalibor Papoušek)
    • Theory of ritual in the context of the French sociological school: É. Durkheim and his followers (Iva Doležalová).
    • Myth and ritual grasped by analytical psychology: S. Freud, C. G. Jung and his followers (Iva Doležalová)
    • Cognitive research of ritual: B. Malinowski and sense of control (Martin Lang)
    • Ontologization of myth: M. Eliade (Iva Doležalová)
    • Myth and ritual in the symbolic anthropology: M. Douglas, C. Geertz, V. Turner (Iva Doležalová)
    • Structural analysis of myth: C. Lévi-Strauss (Dalibor Papoušek)
    • Semiotics of myth: U. Eco, R. Barthes (Iva Doležalová)
    • Evolutionary research of ritual: R. Rappaport and cooperative communication (Radek Kundt)
    • Final discussion (David Zbíral a Dalibor Papoušek)
      recommended literature
    • SEGAL, Robert Alan. Stručný úvod do teorie mýtu. Translated by Lucie Valentinová. Vydání první. Praha: ExOriente, 2017. 159 stran. ISBN 9788090521131. info
    • Theorizing rituals : classical topics, theoretical approaches, analytical concepts. Edited by Jens Kreinath - Joannes Augustinus Maria Snoek - Michael Stausberg. Leiden: Brill, 2008. xxvii, 777. ISBN 9789004170773. info
    • Strenski, Ivan. Four Theories of Myth in Twentieth- Century History : Cassirer, Eliade, Levi-Strauss and Malinowski. Iowa City : Univerity of Iowa Press 1987.
    • BELL, Catherine M. Ritual : perspectives and dimensions. New York: Oxford University Press, 1997. xv, 351. ISBN 0195110528. info
    • Mental culture : classical social theory and the cognitive science of religion. Edited by Dimitris Xygalatas - William W. McCorkle. 1st pub. Durham: Acumen, 2013. x, 268. ISBN 9781844656646. info
    Teaching methods
    Lectures; class discussions; home readings; written commentaries on assigned texts (completion by exam); final essay (completion by colloquium).
    Assessment methods
    Prerequisites for the oral examination:
  • written commentaries on assigned texts;
  • active participation in class discussions.
    Requirements for the oral examination:
  • basic factual knowledge of the main theories of myth and ritual;
  • ability to evaluate the main theoretical conceptions of myth and ritual;
  • ability to apply the given theories to particular cases within different religions.
    The final grade includes: semestral commentaries and activity in class discussions (200 points = 66 %, limit 120 points); oral examination (100 points = 33 %, limit 60 points).
    Prerequisities for the oral colloquium:
  • active participation in class discussions.
    Requirements for the oral colloquium:
  • final essay and its defence.
    The final grade includes: active participation in class discussions (50 points = 50%, limit 30 points), final essay and its defence (50 points = 50%, limit 30 points).
  • Language of instruction
    Further comments (probably available only in Czech)
    Study Materials
    The course is taught annually.
    The course is also listed under the following terms Spring 2020, Spring 2021, Spring 2022, Spring 2024.
    • Enrolment Statistics (recent)
    • Permalink: https://is.muni.cz/course/phil/spring2023/RLMgA003