Paper 2: Topic and Guidelines
• Write a 2000 word research paper responding to the following prompt:
o Choose a myth of non-European origin and examine its cultural specificity by
researching its relevance and/or function in a particular time and place.
What societal and/or cultural norms and roles does this myth reflect, shape,
and/or contest? How and why do you think this version of the narrative
came to be dominant?
• Your paper must be 2000 words or more. This class is a W credit and has a word
limit of at least 3000 words, so if you write less than 2000 you will receive an
automatic D. The upper limit on this essay is 2300 words; if you write more than
2300 words I will stop reading after 2300.
• Your chosen myth must be of non-European origin; this rules out Greco-Roman
myth and Norse/Scandinavian.
• The cultural context of your paper can be any historical place and time, but not
contemporary. The myth can be addressed in its original context, or in a secondary
o Examples: Gilgamesh in its ancient Babylonian context (original context);
Arabian Nights in 19th century America (non-original/secondary)
• You must use at least three scholarly sources, preferably more
o Scholarly sources are peer reviewed journal articles, books, or book chapters.
Encyclopedias, dictionaries, and websites (e.g. Wikipedia and AncientMythology.com) are not scholarly sources.
o Good places to search for source are: JSTOR.org; lib.fsu.edu; L’Année
o If you are unsure if a source you want to use is scholarly or not, please get in
touch with me and we can discuss it.
• Your paper must be argumentative, meaning it needs a clearly defined thesis
supported by your interpretation of the scholarly sources you have chosen. Your
paper must rely on original interpretation and analysis (not just recycling your
scholarly sources’ arguments). Come up with your own ideas (not mine, another
classmate’s, or the internet’s).
• Unlike Paper 1, your paper NEEDS outside sources and research. You will produce
an inferior paper without careful consideration of your myth and scholarly sources.
• You should have well integrated citations showing engagement with the ancient
myth and which support your argument. You can have a works cited page, use intext citations, or footnotes, whichever you prefer. Use the citation style you are most
comfortable using (APA, MLA, Chicago, etc.) Like Paper 1, every supporting
paragraph should have a quote from the myth and a quote from one of your sources
to support your argument.
• Avoid value judgements about ancient peoples, culture, and beliefs. All myths
are treated equally and respectfully in this course.
• You may only use myths that we will cover in this class. No myths outside of the
ones we cover in this class will be accepted, and if you choose to do so you will
receive an automatic D. *If you are uncertain whether or not you are allowed to use
a certain myth, please check with me before beginning your paper.*
• What myth you choose, the context, and what about the myth interests you (gender
roles, rationalization of it, etc.) should all add up to the research question: what you
anticipate to answer in your paper.
• Sample Research Questions:
o How does Babylonian divine kingship reflect Marduk’s ascension in the
Enuma Elish? How does the myth reinforce the societal role of kings?
o How did 19th century women in Britain read Pandora’s role as a woman in
Hesiod’s Theogony? How does the myth reinforce or challenge traditional
o N.B. Note that these questions address a specific myth, a function of that
myth, and a specific cultural context. When coming up with your own
research questions, make sure they address all three of theses.
• Format: please submit your paper through the Turnitin link in the following format
o Microsoft Word document (not PDF, Pages, or any other program)
o Times New Roman, 12pt font
o 1-inch margins
o Title page with your name, date, word count, and a paper title (DO NOT put
this information on any other page)
o page numbers
Paper 2: Topic and Guidelines