When the question rolled around to favorite academic papers, Bruce Cordell and Jak Koke revealed their scientific side. Erik Scott de Bie combined scholarship with swordplay. Richard Byer's examined Blue Oyster Cult’s Cultosaurus Erectus as another form of science fiction.
I always liked writing papers for school. I was good at it (once I learned to type so teachers didn't have to decipher my scrawl). I'm sure I wrote serious papers on serious topics. But the one immediately popped into my mind upon being asked the question was a paper on the trickster hero starting with Odysseus and ending with Han Solo.
Because of that paper, years later, when I ended up sitting next to Caldecott Award winning artist Gerald McDermott at a luncheon for booksellers and authors, I could chat about Anansi and Coyote. And I still have a signed copy of McDermott's Coyote in my collection.
Trickster heroes are heroes who depend on their brains to get out of their problems. If living in the D&D world, they'd roll high on "fast talk" when needed. Whether Coyote, Odysseus, Raven, Br'er Rabbit, or, yes, Han Solo, these heroes are charming rogues. They may be the heroes of their own tales or sidekicks to more conventional heroes. Either way, they always spice up a story.
(And doesn't vxdigital's gorgeous close-up of a Yosemite coyote make you understand why Coyote became the trickster of the American Southwest?)