2015: The World Unbound

Special Area

Heroes and Superheroes

  1. Questions to Discuss

    • Are there different kinds of heroes?
    • Do different societies have different views on what a hero is?
    • Are heroic decisions rational decisions?
    • What is the so-called “hero’s journey”? Does it apply in real life or just in fiction?
    • Is there such a thing as a “villain’s journey”?
    • Is heroism a personality disorder?
    • What is an antihero?
    • How is an antihero different from a villain?
    • Are there villains in the real world—and, if so, do they know they are villains?
    • Is a superhero just a hero with superpowers?
    • If you were a superhero, would you keep your identity a secret?
    • In real life, do villains ever think of themselves as villains? How about in fiction?
    • How is a hero different from a leader? Or are they the same?
    • Is society biased in favor of male heroes? How about superheroes?
    • Are there enough stories about women who are heroes?
    • Does it mean something different to be a heroic woman than a heroic man?
    • Can the superheroes of today be compared to the gods of the ancient world?
    • Are superheroes portrayed differently in different media?
    • Are superheroes more popular than they used to be? If so, why?
    • How different would our world be if we knew that superheroes existed?
    • If we were to discover people with special abilities living among us, would we celebrate them—or fear them?
    • Are superheroes ultimately an American creation reflecting or serving American interests?
  1. Origin Stories: Calling All Heroes

    • Prometheus Unbound: Heroes of Ancient Civilizations
    • Medieval Heroes: Long Live the King (and the Rogue)
    • The Golem, the Monkey King, and the Original Superheroes
  1. One for All: Understanding the Hero

    • The Heroic Mind: Insights from Psychology
    • The Hero in Society: Insights from Anthropology and Sociology
    • The Monomyth and the Hero’s Journey
  1. With Great Power: Superheroes of the 20th and 21st Centuries

    • Emergence in Comic Books
    • The Comics Code Authority
    • The Social and Historical Context of Superheroes
    • Ascendance of Film Franchises
    • Role of Superheroes in a Postmodern World
  1. Can We Be Superheroes? The Science of… (Examples)

    • Enhanced Vision | Exoskeletons | Human Flight
    • Invisibility | Rapid Healing | Strength and Super-strength
    • Super speed | Telepathy | Telekinesis
    • Teleportation | Time Travel
  1. Additional Terms to Learn (Examples)

    • Achilles’ Heel | Archetype | Byronic Hero | Comicon
    • Bystander effect | Epic | Everyman | Fatal Flaw
    • Great Man Theory | Hero Worship | Hubris
    • MCU | Paragon | Pulp | Risk-Seeking
    • Sidekick | Trope | Villain | X-Altruist
  1. Additional Superheroes to Research (Examples)

    • Astro City | Wild Cards | Squirrel Girl
    • Batman | Iron Man | Ms. Marvel (2014)
    • Captain America | Superman | Buffy the Vampire Slayer
    • Goku | Captain China | Wonder Woman
    • X-Men | Spiderman | Sylar
  1. Selected Film: The Dark Knight

  1. Additional Questions & Cases to Discuss (Examples)