ASS233 - Myth and Ritual

Unit details


2024 unit information

Enrolment modes:

Trimester 1: Burwood (Melbourne), Waurn Ponds (Geelong), Online, Community Based Delivery (CBD)*

Credit point(s):1
EFTSL value:0.125
Unit Chair:Trimester 1: Tanya King


Incompatible with: Nil
Typical study commitment:

Students will on average spend 150-hours over the teaching period undertaking the teaching, learning and assessment activities for this unit.

This will include educator guided online learning activities within the unit site.

Educator-facilitated (scheduled) learning activities - on-campus unit enrolment:

1 x 1-hour lecture per week, 1 x 1-hour seminar per week

Educator-facilitated (scheduled) learning activities - online unit enrolment:

1 x 1-hour lecture per week (recordings provided), 1 x 1-hour online seminar per week


*Community Based Delivery (CBD) is for National Indigenous Knowledges, Education, Research and Innovation NIKERI Institute students only.


An introduction to the anthropology of religion. The unit examines the comparative study of cosmology, myth and ritual systems and their importance in the history of anthropological thought. The unit focuses predominantly on forms, recurrent themes and cross-cultural comparisons of myth. Through the analysis of creation myths, eternal return, and the concept of mythical archetypes such as trickster and hero, the unit critically evaluates different theoretical approaches centring on concepts of mythical thought and the human unconscious. Attention then shifts to the nature of ritual and to the relationship (or not) between ritual and myth. Themes explored include sacrifice, ritual time (and eternal return), life crisis, festival and performance, trance and ritual virtuality. Through the study of these phenomena, the unit concludes with some initial propositions concerning anthropology and religious experience.

ULO These are the Learning Outcomes (ULO) for this unit. At the completion of this unit, successful students can: Deakin Graduate Learning Outcomes

Analyse specific instances of myth and ritual from an anthropological perspective

GLO1: Discipline-specific knowledge and capabilities

GLO4: Critical thinking


Judge the merits of different theoretical approaches to myth and ritual

GLO4: Critical thinking

Recognise the centrality of myth and ritual in human thought and practice

GLO4: Critical thinking

Evaluate anthropology's contribution to the humanities & social sciences in respect to religion

GLO1: Discipline-specific knowledge and capabilities

GLO4: Critical thinking


Assessment Description Student output Grading and weighting
(% total mark for unit)
Indicative due week
Assessment 1 - Seminar/
Online exercises
800 words
or equivalent
20% Ongoing
Assessment 2 - Essay 2000 words
or equivalent
50% Week 6
Assessment 3 - Journal 1200 words
or equivalent
30% Week 11

The assessment due weeks provided may change. The Unit Chair will clarify the exact assessment requirements, including the due date, at the start of the teaching period.

Learning Resource

The texts and reading list for the unit can be found on the University Library via the link ASS233
Note: Select the relevant trimester reading list. Please note that a future teaching period's reading list may not be available until a month prior to the start of that teaching period so you may wish to use the relevant trimester's prior year reading list as a guide only.

Unit Fee Information

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