LLT 180: The Heroic Quest - Katabatic Journeys
Instructor: Dr. Joseph Hughes
Spring Semester 2020
Office: 113 Siceluff Hall; Office Hours: 11:00 am-12:15 pm MWF
Section 001: MWF 01:25-02:15 pm, SICL 117
Phone: 836-6601 (messages 836-5122)

E-mail: JosephHughes AT MissouriState.edu

Course Texts

Course Description and Objectives (per previous General Education Program)

This course is an exercise in the telling, retelling, and explication of ancient and modern stories involving a katabasis, or round-trip visit to the underworld. Further detail on course objectives can be found on the Course Objective Page.

Course Description

The literary pattern of the “heroic quest,” in which a protagonist journeys to far-off lands in pursuit of an important goal, is literally the oldest story known to humankind, dating back to the Gilgamesh Epic of 2500 BCE. Beginning from a scarcely literate world with no mass media, stories about the “heroic quest” have instructed individuals and civilizations alike for millennia upon important topics such as cultural awareness, the boundaries of ethical conduct, and the necessity for leading a good life. Stories about the “heroic quest” continue to entertain and inform down to our own times. Through close study of the context and content of several such “heroic quest” stories, selected from a wide range of civilizations and time periods, students will develop an awareness of their own inherited identity of culture and language, and to address the challenge of leading an ethical and civically engaged life.

General Education Goals

As part of the Missouri State University General Education program, LLT 180: The Heroic Quest fulfills a Public Affairs requirement. As detailed below, the LLT 180 Course Objectives directly address the Specific Learning Outcomes (SLOs) for General Goal 13 (Cultural Competence) and General Goal 14 (Ethical Leadership).

General Goal 13 (Cultural Competence): Students will be able to recognize and consider multiple perspectives and cultures.
General Goal 14 (Ethical Leadership): Students will be able to articulate their value systems, understand the ethical implications of their actions based on these values, and develop skills consistent with having a positive impact on individuals, groups, or communities.

Course Policy

Students are required to show up for every class, on time, with all assignments completed and fully prepared to participate in an active learning experience. Since class discussion is important to the student's mastery of course material, attendance and participation are crucial. The student is solely responsible for obtaining any notes, assignments, or other information given in a class which he or she has missed.   Students with a handicap should notify the instructor at once, so that arrangements may be made. Make-up exams will be allowed only in case of documented emergency (or through the Learning Diagnostic Center; see below).

Letter grades will be assigned on the standard Missouri State University curve: 90-100%= A; 80-89%= B; 70-79%= C; 60-69%= D; 59%-below= F.

Course Grading

There will be a midterm exam and a final exam over the course of the semester, each worth 50% of your final grade. Both will be worth 100 points. 70% of the score will be based on objective questions (identification, short-answer, matching), and 30% will be based on the essay question. The final exam will focus primarily on material covered since the midterm exam, but not completely.

Nondiscrimination Policy:

Missouri State University is an equal opportunity/affirmative action institution, and maintains a grievance procedure available to any person who believes he or she has been discriminated against. At all times, it is your right to address inquiries or concerns about possible discrimination to the Office for Equity and Diversity, Park Central Office Building, 117 Park Central Square, Suite 111, (417) 836-4252. Other types of concerns (i.e., concerns of an academic nature) should be discussed directly with your instructor and can also be brought to the attention of your instructor’s Department Head. Please visit the OED website at http://www.missouristate.edu/equity.

Disability Accommodation Policy:

To request academic accommodations for a disability, contact the Director of Disability Services, Plaster Student Union, Suite 405, (417) 836-4192 or (417) 836-6792 (TTY), http://www.missouristate.edu/disability.  Students are required to provide documentation of disability to Disability Services prior to receiving accommodations. Disability Services refers some types of accommodation requests to the Learning Diagnostic Clinic, which also provides diagnostic testing for learning and psychological disabilities. For information about testing, contact the Director of the Learning Diagnostic Clinic at (417) 836-4787.

Academic Dishonesty Policy:

Missouri State University is a community of scholars committed to developing educated persons who accept the responsibility to practice personal and academic integrity.  You are responsible for knowing and following the university’s student honor code, Student Academic Integrity Policies and Procedures, available at the University Academic Integrity website and also available at the Reserves Desk in Meyer Library.  Any student participating in any form of academic dishonesty will be subject to sanctions as described in this policy


Week 01 (13-17 January): Introduction to Katabasis

Week 02 (20-24 January): Gilgamesh

Week 03 (27-31 January):
Week 04 (03-07 February):

Week 05 (10-14 February): Homer

Week 06 (17-21 February):

Week 07 (24-28 February): Aristophanes

Week 08 (02-06 March): Aristophanes, Apuleius

Week 09 (09-13 March): Apuleius, O Brother, Review

Midterm Exam: Wednesday, 11 March 2020

Spring Break (16-20 March)

Week 10 (23-27 March)

Week 11 (30 March-3 April)

Week 12 (06-08 April)

Easter Holiday (09-10 April)

Week 13 (13-17 April)

Week 14 (20-24 April)

Week 15 (27 April-01 May)

Week 16 (04 May-07 May)

Study Day (08 May)


Final Exam: Monday, 11 May 2020 @ 1:15 pm