Programs sponsored by Indiana University of Pennsylvania's Dessy-Roffman Myth Collaborative continue with “Myth and the Postmodern” on March 18 from noon to 1:30 p.m. in room 219 of the Humanities and Social Sciences building.

The program is free and open to the community.

The discussion will feature Bitna Kim, Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice; Tom Slater, Department of English; and Jeff Ambrose, a doctoral student in the Department of English. Lindsey Moser, a doctoral student in the Department of English, has organized and will moderate the panel discussion.

This workshop looks at the concept of myth in a postmodern context and how the fluid nature of truth in postmodern thought affects how we conceive the mythic. The discussion will also look at the past to trace the mythic in modern and popular culture through politics, video games, fiction, art, adaptation studies, and other areas where the concept of myth informs the present and crafts the future.

Kim will focus on rape myths among prospective criminal justice professionals and the curriculum implications; Slater's presentation is “print the legend,” America's film creation and questioning of American myths; Ambrose will talk about “The Myth of Self—Fight Club and Fractured Identity.”

Moser said that the discussion is intended to focus on the interdisciplinary and collaborative nature of myth.

The Dessy-Roffman Myth Collaborative is designed to be a dynamic, cross-disciplinary resource for students and faculty that will enhance the on-campus site where the study of myth is nurtured and supported, providing an exchange of ideas among faculty of diverse departments, offering seminars and workshops on myth, and designing co-curricular courses.

In addition to campus collaboration, it is hoped that programming and initiatives will be developed across the State System of Higher Education and throughout western Pennsylvania.

The Dessy-Roffman Myth Collaborative is named in honor of Blane Dessy, a 1973 graduate, and IUP Professor Emerita of English Rosaly DeMaios Roffman.

Roffman, of Pittsburgh, an internationally acclaimed poet and writer, taught literature and creative writing in the English Department from 1967 and 2003 and founded the Myth/Folklore Studies Center. In 2002, Roffman donated more than 170 books to IUP to establish the Rosaly DeMaios Roffman Collection Center for Study of Myth and Folklore.

For this spring, workshops are featuring IUP faculty and students. Scheduled workshops include:

“Epic: The Myth in Epic Narratives”

  • April 4, 1:00–2:30 p.m.
  • Humanities and Social Sciences building, room 307
  • English Graduate Organization Conference special panel with Melanie Holm and Joseph Sanpietro from the Department of English.

This panel, part of the English Graduate Organization Conference, will discuss how the epic mode allows thinkers to explore what myth is; how questing, pilgrimage, journey, and transformation narratives shape the discourse around what a myth is; and how we talk about it. Panelists will discuss what points of connection epics have in current scholarship and how personal narratives (diaries, journals, memoirs) use elements of the epic narrative.

“Real Myths: Anthropology of the Mythic, Marvelous, and Monstrous”

This workshop will explore examples of real myths, marvels, and monsters. Examples can range from examples in literature (such as Frankenstein's monster, magical realism, miracle narratives and plays, retellings of myth, animism, and more) to documented examples of popular myths (like creature myths such as Sasquatch, dragons, and fairy tales), historical or archeological research focusing on the mythic, and theories surrounding how the mythic, marvelous, and monstrous are represented in literature, society and history.