Studying Dragon Myths

What does anthropology have to do with dragons?  More than you’d think.  Professor Jean Forward, graduate student Virginia McLaurin, and undergraduate Rachel Keeffe began meeting last year after discovering that great serpent myths appeared on every continent, across cultures, in both ancient and contemporary times.
The three immediately began researching dragons, identifying over 400 dragon myths over every inhabited continent.  They focused on dragon myths with pervasive cultural significance.  The result is a book currently in development, “A Discourse on Dragons,” featuring approximately 10 myths from every major world region as well as an appendix of dragon myths, likely to be the most extensive in print.
       Each myth is accompanied by original artwork by Rachel Keeffe, who uses her background in biology to base her dragon illustrations on the fauna indigenous to each myth’s area.  Though still in development, the book is already being used as the text for an anthropology course on dragon mythology.
The authors hope that their research will challenge us all to understand more fully the relationship between dragon myths and human culture.  You can find more information on their blog,, or on Facebook at

Students interested in studying dragon myths this Spring can sign up for Anth 297DM  Dragon Myths, Tues & Thurs 1-2:15pm