About the Hero's Journey Project
Between 1998 and 2000, ORIAS held a series of teacher institutes at U. C. Berkeley on the theme of teaching pre-modern history through literature. Using a comparative model based on Joseph Campbell's monomyth (Hero With A Thousand Faces, 1949), middle school teachers, university scholars and performers explored ways to bring pre-modern history to life through the introduction of national heroic traditions. The resulting institutes provided a source of rigorous content at the same time introducing challenging literature and building language arts and critical thinking skills. Most important though, the stories and what they reflected of shared and diverse cultural roots of world history were exciting and fun to read and teach. The Hero's Journey Internet Project was born out of the enthusiasm and partnerships developed during this series of meetings.
The purpose of the web site is to provide a digital library of background materials for teachers. Teachers are invited to approach the stories individually, or to use the "hero's journey" or monomyth as a framework to compare a series of stories during the year. To see how we selected comparative stories for the 6th and 7th grade core standards see the overview chart on Donna Kasprowicz's page. A fun way to introduce the hero's journey framework and vocabulary is through the film Star Wars. Joseph Campbell was a consultant on the film so it reflects his model very neatly. (The Smithsonian web site has a virtual tour of Star Wars using Campbell's categories which was developed for their exhibit "The Magic of Myth.")
Heroic stories are rooted in the oral tradition and transmitted through art and performance as well as through texts. For this reason we have included some video-taped performances and encourage teachers to consider using art and performance in their assignments and assessment.
The primary Hero's Journey Internet Project team members are:
Yacine can also be contacted for classroom performances at 510-228-6906
In the spirit of the oral tradition we draw our stories from, we would like this site to be a "living document" and welcome your input, questions and suggestions.
This website is maintained by the Office of Resources for International and Area Studies (ORIAS), a unit of International and Area Studies (IAS) at the University of California, Berkeley. Last updated 9/06.