Lecture Series

MCC Lecture Series Looks at Mythology and Symbolism of Water Oct. 26

Muskegon Community College continues its focus on water during its 2017-18 Lecture Series with “Names Writ in Water: Mythology, Symbolism, and the Natural World,” a presentation by MCC English Instructor Michael Johnson.

The talk, which is free and open to the public, takes place on Thursday, Oct. 26, at 7 p.m. in Stevenson Center Room 1110.

“Water is generally considered the mythological primal element,” explains Johnson. “It’s associated with life, sustenance, and the powers of nature. It is fluid, literally, but also metaphorically and therefore denotes change and eternity.”

“The title ‘Names Writ in Water’ is an illusion to the grave marker of John Keats, the romantic poet, who was referring to the mutability of the self. But since water is often seen as the original element of the cosmos, all our names are writ there.”

Johnson will discuss water’s role in creation/cosmogonic myths as well as its destructive powers, e.g. universal flood myths.

“I will touch on its roles in Norse and Celtic myth, reference water as a dividing line between this world and the Otherworld, and comment on Guillermo Del Toro’s new film, ‘The Shape of Water.’”

A native of Bloomfield Hills, MI, Johnson’s literature courses include World Mythology. He earned a B.A. in English from Michigan State University and a M.A. in Medieval Studies from Western Michigan University

For more information on the MCC Lecture Series, contact the MCC Arts and Humanities Department at (231) 777-0324.

Recent MCC Lecture Series Topics:

  • “Current and Emerging Water Resource Issues Facing the Planet” – Oct. 2, 2017
    Dr. Alan D. Steinman, the  Allen and Helen Hunting Director and Professor at Grand Valley State University’s Robert B. Annis Water Resources Institute in Muskegon
  • “Take on Hate: Silence is Not an Option” – Feb. 2, 2017
    Rashida Tlaib, the first Muslim woman elected to the Michigan Legislature and an adviser to the Campaign to TAKE ON HATE
  • “Indian Children in American History” – Nov. 17, 2016
    Matthew Fletcher
  • “Mindfulness: Practice and Benefits” – Oct. 5, 2016
    Dat Pham, PharmD, CDM
  • “Ancient Rome and Human Sacrifice – Jan. 28. 2016
    Dr. Celia Schultz,  University of Michigan faculty member and author/researchwe on Roman religion and the history and literature of the Roman Republic
  • “The Importance of Myth: A Panel Discussion” – Oct. 29, 2015
    Panelists: 
    Andy Wible, Instructor of Philosophy at MCC; Michael Johnson, Instructor of English; Alfredo Hernandez, Instructor of World Religions; and Bill Utrecht, Pastor at First Evangelical Lutheran Church.