Culture Myth and Symbolism

Macquarie University

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Culture Myth and Symbolism

  • Host University

    Macquarie University

  • Location

    Sydney, Australia

  • Area of Study


  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Prerequisites

    39 credit points or 13 courses completed at the undergraduate level.

  • Course Level Recommendations


    ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.

    Hours & Credits

  • Credit Points

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
    3 - 4
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
    4 - 6
  • Overview

    Individually and collectively people make their lives meaningful through practices of symbolic representation. During the twentieth century anthropologists concerned with the study of culture came to focus on systems of symbols and meaning. Psychoanalysis and linguistics were important early influences on symbolic anthropology because they identified the capacity of the human mind to operate according to symbolic processes, but these theories also proved too universalist in their claims for anthropology's cross-cultural evidence. The 1980s saw a marked shift in anthropological approaches. Taking the anthropology of religion as its focus this unit examines key theorists and ethnographic studies in the field of symbolic anthropology and phenomenology. We discover that the study of culture shows that human consciousness includes a non-rational or affective aspect sometimes described as 'mystical' or mythic. Mythic consciousness is also explored in this unit as a distinct form of consciousness that should not be seen as false, inferior or irrational. We therefore consider the way phenomena such as dreams, spirits, magic, and emotions figure importantly in anthropological analysis.

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Credits earned vary according to the policies of the students' home institutions. According to ISA policy and possible visa requirements, students must maintain full-time enrollment status, as determined by their home institutions, for the duration of the program.