Graduate Courses, 2012-2013

Classics (CLAS)

31200. History and Theory of Drama I. (=CLCV 21200, CMLT 20500/30500, ENGL 13800/31000, TAPS 28400) May be taken in sequence with ENGL 13900/31100 or individually. For course description, see English Language and Literature. End-of-week workshops, in which individual scenes are read aloud dramatically and discussed, are optional but highly recommended. Staff. Autumn.

32112. The Iliad. (=SCTH 31210) Graduate seminar, open to undergrads with permission of the instructor. Enrollment limit of 25. Note: This course will be taught the first five weeks of the spring quarter beginning April 1st. In this course we will read the Iliad in translation, supplemented by selections from the Odyssey and other texts from the archaic period, including the Epic Cycle fragments and the Hesiodic Catalogue of Women. We will also make some turns toward recent Iliadic ventures in English: not least Christopher Logue’s War Music and Alice Oswald’s Memorial. “The poem of force” according to Simone Weil, the Iliad is also the poem of marriage, homosociality / the “Männerbund,” and exchange. Among our concerns will be: the poetics of traditionality; the political economy of epic; the Iliad’s construction of social order; the uses of reciprocity; gender in the Homeric poems. Although no knowledge of Greek is required for this course, there will be assignment options for those who wish to do reading in Greek. Requirements: weekly readings; response posting on Chalk for each class meeting; final paper. Meets first five weeks of spring quarter. L. Slatkin. Spring.

32812. Reconsidering Rostovtzeff: Long Distant Trade and Cultural Exchange between the Mediterranean, Central Asia, Arabia and India 3000 BCE–300 CE. In the first half of the twentieth century, Mikhail Rostovtzeff dominated the field of Hellenistic and Roman social and economic history. Despite his unparalleled mastery of the evidence – which included archaeological material – his presentist analysis of the ancient world and his general lack of methodological sophistication have made his work a favorite target of criticism. Still, many of Rostovtzeff’s impressionistic and intuitive conclusions seem to hold water in the light of recent archaeological work. This applies in particular to his ideas about “Caravan Cities” and long-distance trade. In this course we will read through portions of Rostovtzeff’s extensive work, compare it with recently uncovered archaeological evidence, and discuss whether his conclusions could be salvaged by putting them into a more rigorous theoretical framework. E. Mayer. Autumn.

34812. The Historical Context of the Platonic Dialogues. (=SCTH 31923, CLCV 24812) Plato’s historical fictions, like most such work, use the past as a way of confronting with current issues. This course will place them in the context of the history of philosophy and the development of prose literature, at a time when colloquial prose was new and philosophy was a highly contested term, overlapping with religion. Final paper. J. Redfield. Winter.

35107. Empire and Enlightenment. (=CLCV 25107, HIST 20502/30502) The European Enlightenment was a formative period in the development of modern historiography. It was also an age in which the expansionist impulse of European monarchies came under intense philosophical scrutiny on moral, religious, cultural, and economic grounds. We chart a course through these debates by focusing in the first instance on histories of Rome by William Robertson and Edward Gibbon, as well as writing on law and historical method by Giambattista Vico. C. Ando, R. Lerner. Winter.

35512. Plato’s Philebus. (=PHIL 2/35705, CLCV 25512, FNDL) PQ: History of Philosophy I. This class will be a close reading of Plato’s Philebus. We will divide our attention between the problem of unity in multiplicity—of what it is for an individual to belong to a general class—that structures the first part of the dialogue, and the problem of the nature and value of pleasure that dominates the second half. We will, in the end, try to think about the dialogue as a whole, and how these two problems might be connected. A. Callard. Winter.

35912. The Presocratics. (=PHIL 21314/31414, CLCV 25912) This is an advanced survey course on the Presocratics. The figures covered will include but will not be limited to Thales, Anaximander, Anaximenes, Heraclitus, Parmenides, Anaxagoras, Empedocles, and the Atomists. The focus will be primarily on issues of metaphysics, epistemology, and natural philosophy, though other topics will be discussed as they arise. C. Frey. Spring.

36312. Death and Society in the Roman Empire. (=CLCV 26312). Roman cemeteries from all over the empire were a reflection of Roman society and have been studied as such. In this course we will trace how Romans of all classes used their tombs to project a social persona of themselves and their families, how changing burial customs reflect social and cultural change, and how salient differences in burial customs between various Roman provinces can studied in a historically meaningful way. E. Mayer. Autumn.

36508. Economy and Society in Ancient Greece and Rome. (=HIST 2/31005, CLCV 26508) In this course we will explore not only the nature of ancient Greek and Roman economies, but also the way in which social and political structures constrained or facilitated the efforts of individuals to devise successful strategies within those economies. We will consider trade, manufacture, and agriculture, and we will devote considerable attention to issues of methodology: what questions should we ask about ancient economic life, and with what evidence can we answer them? C. Hawkins. Spring.

36912. Septuagint Greek. (=CLCV 26912) This course is aimed at students who have a working knowledge of Greek Grammar. The course will provide an overview of both the linguistic aspects of the language of the Greek Old Testament, and the social and literary context within which the text was produced. We will cover text-critical questions; the general phenomenon of “translation Greek” and the specific processes of translation of the LXX; subsequent translations of the text; textual transmission from the papyrus codex to the medieval witnesses; particularities of the Greek language in Egypt; and the history of the society that produced the translation, the Jewish community of Alexandria. Close reading will focus on the Pentateuch, with select passages from other books. S. Torallas, Spring.

37112. Ancient Metaphysics. (=PHIL2/31503, CLCV 27112) In this course we shall study some of the very different accounts of the world developed by the ancient Greek philosophers. In particular we shall consider the following Aristotle’s ontology of form and matter, actuality and potentiality; Epicurean atomism; the Stoic strange combination of rationalism and through going physicalism of all-pervading pneuma; Platonic theories of a transcendent realm. E. Emilsson. Autumn.

37212. Jews and Christians in Egypt. (=CLCV 27212) This course will be taught with texts in translation and does not require any knowledge of Greek. It will begin by covering the history of the Jews in Egypt from the earliest Elephantine garrison to the scarce evidence for their survival beyond the reign of Hadrian. Drawing on literary and documentary texts from the Ptolemaic and Roman periods, we will approach topics such as political representation, legal issues, animal sacrifice and onomastics and identity. We will then turn to the earliest stage of Christianity in Egypt, with special focus on the birth of monasticism, again drawing on literary and documentary texts. S. Torallas, Spring.

37612. Greece/China. (=CMLT 2/34903, CLCV 27612) This class will explore three sets of paired authors from ancient China and Greece: Herodotus/Sima Qian; Plato/Confucius; Homer/Book of Songs. Topics will include genre, authorship, style, cultural identity, and translation, as well as the historical practice of Greece/China comparative work. T. Chin. Spring

37812. Thucydides, Machiavelli, Carl Schmitt: Three Masters of Political Realism (=SCTH 20692/30692, CLCV 27812) This course is devoted to the origin and development of political realism as it is exemplified in the works of the ancient Greek historian Thucydides, the Renaissance Italian politician and political philosopher Niccolò Machiavelli and the twentieth century German legal philosopher and constitutional theorist Carl Schmitt.
In the course we will first examine Thucydides’ notion of history and his view of the relation between political communities, based on fear and a fragile balance of power. We will then study Machiavelli’s idea that politics is the most serious matter and therefore statesmen as well as political philosophers should base their actions and observations on what is, and not on what ought to be. Finally, we will investigate Schmitt’s notion of “the political” as the relation between friend and foe.
Required readings:

  • Thucydides, The History of the Peloponnesian War, trans. R. Warner (New York: Penguin, 2010)
  • L. Strauss, “On Thucydides’ War of the Peloponnesians and the Athenians” in The City and Man (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1978), chapter 3
  • N. Machiavelli, The Prince, trans. H. C. Mansfield (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1998, 2nd edition)
  • Q. Skinner, Machiavelli: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001)
  • C. Schmitt, The Concept of the Political, trans. G. Schwab, expanded edition (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2007)
  • H. Meier, The Lesson of Carl Schmitt: Four Chapters on the Distinction between Political Theology and Political Philosophy, expanded edition (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2011)

This is an undergrad course, open to grads with consent. G. Giorgini. Autumn.

37909. Visual Culture of Rome and its Empire. (=CLCV 26206, CLAS 37909, ARTH 26805/36805) This general survey of Roman material culture will use the archaeological evidence complementary to literary sources in order to delineate the development of Roman society from the Early Republic down to the first sacking of Rome in 410 CE. Urban planning, public monuments, political imagery, and the visual world of Roman cities, houses and tombs will be discussed in relationship to the political and social processes that shaped their formal development. E. Mayer. Autumn.

38609. Greek and Roman Historiography. (=HIST 20503/30503, CLCV 28609) This course will provide a survey of the most important historical writers of the Greek and Roman world. We will read extensive selections from their work in translation, and discuss both the development of historiography as a literary genre and the development of history as a discipline in the ancient world. Finally, we will consider the implications these findings hold for our ability to use the works of Greek and Roman historical writers in our own efforts to construct narratives of the past. C. Hawkins. Winter.

42111. Seminar: Law and the city in Athens and Rome. (=PAMW 42111, HIST 71003) A comparative exploration of the elaboration of law and legal institutions in relation to state building and state infrastructural power in Athens and Rome. We will consider issues of public and private law, legal ritual and legal procedure, sources of law and legal theory, and systems of interpretation and theories of autonomous law. A. Bresson, C. Ando. Autumn.

42112 Seminar: Law and the city in Athens and Rome. (=PAMW 42111, HIST 71004) A comparative exploration of the elaboration of law and legal institutions in relation to state building and state infrastructural power in Athens and Rome. We will consider issues of public and private law, legal ritual and legal procedure, sources of law and legal theory, and systems of interpretation and theories of autonomous law. A. Bresson, C. Ando. Winter.

42312. Seminar: Philosophy in the Early Roman Empire. (=CLAS 32312, DIVSC) Philosophy in the early Roman empire takes many different directions. But there is a common basis, and that is a concern with leading one’s life. In this course, we will focus on practical ethics, in particular one’s relations with others. How does one deal with the emperor and other superiors? How does one deal with social inferiors, including those at the very bottom of the social scale, slaves? How does one deal with friends? In all those relations, how does one preserve one’s integrity? We will read selections from Seneca, Epictetus, Marcus Aurelius, and others. Knowledge of Greek and Latin is helpful, but is not required. E. Asmis. Winter.

43312. Seminar: Philosophy and the Poetics of Presence in Postwar France. (=CDIN XXXXX) This course will examine the extent to which Martin Heidegger’s redescription of Greek poetry and philosophy as an ontological project provided a normative horizon for avant-garde poetic practice in postwar France. We will begin with Heidegger’s encounter with René Char in Provence, and their rereading of the pre-Socratic philosophers in a series of seminars between 1966 and 1973. We will look at Heidegger’s response to Char’s poetic prose in connection with Heidegger’s call for thinking instead of philosophy, and at the philosophical commitments of poets who took Char as model, or who develop alternative accounts of the link between poetry and Being. Authors will include Ponge, Celan, Guillevic, Du Bouchet, Royet-Journoud, Albiach, Sobin, Susan Howe, and Daive. Texts may be read in the original or in English translation. M. Payne, A. James. Autumn.

43612. Seminar: Sparta: The Crisis of a Model State. For many ancient writers, Sparta provided the prototype of the ideal city-state. The city was supposed to be stable and reasonably prosperous, and its citizens models of virtue. The fact that, for many centuries, the city did not experience revolutions and that its army was invincible on the battlefield seemed to prove that this was not a mirage but plain truth. Indeed, Sparta was the first city of the Greek world at the end of the Archaic period. Yet, the city also experienced a form of decline as early as the fifth century BCE. The crisis led to brutal collapse in the fourth century. This course will analyze the political, social and economic institutions that made Sparta so powerful in the Archaic and Early Classical period. It will also investigate why the recipes that first made the success of Sparta proved to be ineffective a few centuries later and caused its decline. A. Bresson. Winter.

44512. Virgil, The Aeneid. (=SCTH 35902) PQ: Latin helpful. A close literary analysis of one of the most celebrated works of European literature. While the text, in its many dimensions, will offer more than adequate material for classroom analysis and discussion, attention will also be directed to the extraordinary reception of this epic, from Virgil’s times to ours. G. Most. Winter.

44912. Seminar: Pindar: Ritual, Poetics, Monuments. (=CMLT 42801) This course will be taught by Boris Maslov (Comp. Lit.) and Richard Neer (Art History) with the continuous participation of Leslie Kurke (Classics and Comp. Lit., University of California at Berkeley). It will explore new ways of reading Greek poetry, and new disciplinary formations at the intersection of archaeology, art history, classics and comparative literature. Coursework will consist of close readings of Pindar with an eye to material and institutional contexts of poetic production. Topics will include the “thingly” or material nature of the poem; architectural metaphors; the emergent discourse of poetic professionalism; relation between epinician and traditional cult poetry; sites of poetic performance; Pindar’s allusions to monuments at Delphi, Olympia and elsewhere; the historical phenomenology of architecture and statuary; and the construction of sacred landscapes.
Students wishing to develop a closer familiarity with Pindar and Pindaric scholarship will meet, as part of an informal reading group, run by Boris Maslov, in the Winter quarter (starting in Week 4); those wishing to take part should send an email to maslov@uchicago.edu. Prerequisites: Classical Greek required; graduate standing (seniors may be admitted; should email Prof. Maslov or Prof. Neer in advance). R. Neer and B. Maslov. Spring.

45312. Plotinus/Neoplatonism. (=PHIL 55395) Plotinus (205–270 AD) was the founder of Neoplatonism—a movement and mode of thought that pervaded Late Antiquity and set permanent marks on the philosophical tradition in Europe and among the Muslims. In this seminar we shall read two treatises of Plotinus, Ennead V.1, On the three principal hypostases and Ennead VI.8, On free will and the will of the One. E. Emilsson.

45512. Sem: Thucydides: Power and Human Nature. (=SCTH 40108) The course will examine the notion of human nature in the Greek historian Thucydides and its relation with the political behaviour of citizens, statesmen and political communities. We will explore especially Thucydides’ belief in the existence of a ‘necessary nature’ (anagkaia physis) that forces human beings and cities to aggrandize and increase their power, leading thereby to inevitable conflict.
In the course we will study the whole of book 1, trying to elicit the refined Thucydidean narrative from the organization of the book: the ‘archaeology’ (I, 1–18) and its connection with the ‘Pentekontaetia’, the narration of the 50 years between the Persian wars and the Peloponnesian war; the discourses preceding the war and its alleged inevitability.
We will then examine Pericles’ Funeral Speech and the narration of the plague in book II as well as the lesson of the civil war in Corcyra in book III; a diplomatic incident in Boeotia in book IV, which becomes the occasion for a reflection of power and necessity, and the Melian Dialogue and its philosophical and political implications in book V.
Required readings:

  • The Landmark Thucydides: A Comprehensive Guide to the Peloponnesian War, ed. by R.B. Strassler, trans. R. Crawley, (Chicago, Free Press, 1998)
  • D. Kagan, Thucydides: The Reinvention of History (New York: Penguin, 2010)
  • C. Orwin, The Humanity of Thucydides (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1997)
  • L. Strauss, “On Thucydides’ War of the Peloponnesians and the Athenians” in The City and Man (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1978), chapter 3

This is a graduate seminar, only open to undergrads with consent. G. Giorgini. Autumn.

46712. Seminar: Aristotle and the origin of the ethical. (=PHIL 55910) PQ: Undergraduates must email instructor for consent. This class is a close reading of Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, devoting two class sessions to each book. We will be reading with the following line of questioning in mind: is Aristotle’s ethical theory consistent with our basic moral intuitions? If not, are we willing to take seriously the possibility that our moral outlook could be fundamentally mistaken? If not, can we take Aristotle seriously as an ethicist? The aim of the class is not primarily exegetical; our goal is to figure out whether Aristotle is right, and to think about how and whether it is possible to engage philosophically with an ethically alien point of view. A. Callard. Winter.

Greek (GREK)

21712/31712. Hymns: Homeric and Hellenistic. PQ: GREK 20300 or equivalent. In this course we will read some of the greatest hits of Greek literary hymns. We will explore the Iliadic undertones of the Homeric Hymn to Demeter, erotic power plays in the Homeric Hymn to Antigone, and the comedic buoyancy of the Homeric Hymn to Hermes. We will then look at Callimachus’ take on hymns, and will inquire into the tensions of genre-bending and replication as he turns the Homeric into the Hellenistic. Through it all, we will seek to find the meaning and raison d’être of these hymns whose contexts elude us: are they sacred offerings to the gods or playful poetical events? S. Nooter. Spring.

21800/31800. Greek Epic: Apollonius. This course is a reading of Book 3 of the Argonautica of Apollonius of Rhodes. We consider character, story world, and the presence of the poet as we endeavor to understand what has become of epic poetry in the hands of its Hellenistic inheritors. M. Lowrie. Winter.

21900/31900. Greek Orators: Demosthenes, Isocrates. PQ: Two years or more of Greek. “With Isocrates, Greek artistic prose reached its technical perfection,” says L. R. Palmer in The Greek Language. Yet Isocrates has not found nearly so prominent a place in the university curriculum as have Demosthenes and Lysias. This course will attempt to give the great orator his due. We will start with his speech on Helen, comparing it with Gorgias’ famous Encomium. We will also read the ad Demonicum, which became something of a handbook in later Hellenistic and Roman-period schools, and the Panegyricus. We will consider carefully Isocratean language and diction, and why it has merited such sustained praise among connoisseurs of Greek prose style, ancient and modern. We will also emphasize the centrality of Isocrates’ contribution to Greek paideia. D. Martinez. Autumn.

25500/35500. Greek Religion. C. Faraone. Spring.

25700/35700. The Apostolic Fathers. (=DIVSCH) PQ: at least 2 years of Greek. An intensive reading of the Greek text of the Didache, I Clement, and all the Ignatian Epistles. The course will focus on the Greek style of each author, their historical, and social context, and the sources and nature of their thought. We will also seek to understand the position of these early Christian thinkers within the important continuum between the canonical New Testament writings (of which some of their works were a part in certain manuscript traditions) and the doctrinal controversies of the fourth century. D. Martinez. Winter.

24000/34000. Lucian of Samosata. (=DIVSCH) PQ: at least 2 years of Greek. Lucian of Samosata (b. approx. AD 120), like many authors of the New Testament, wrote in Greek but was born and grew up in an Aramaic speaking community. His idiosyncratic literary output comprises around 80 prose pieces which reflect a engaging synthesis of comedy, satire, popular philosophy, and theological musing. Many of his works present a savvy commentary on his cultural and religious environment, and especially enjoyable is his mirthful abandon in identifying religious quackery and the victims of it. As one of the most important and prolific pagan authors of the early centuries AD, Lucian’s works form an important background to the early Christian movement, both in his direct references to Christians (in the Peregrinus and Alexander) and in his sensitive description of the vast religious melange in which early Christianity grew.

The class will focus on daily close reading and analysis of Lucian’s Greek and discussion of his ideas. Our reading will include the treatises Lover of Lies, Alexander the False Prophet, and the Death of Peregrinus. As time permits we will also read around in other works such as the Dialogues, the Eunuch, the Council of the Gods, and the “Munchausenesque” True History. D. Martinez. Spring.

40112. Sophocles, Oedipus at Colonus. (=SCTH 35901) PQ: Greek or consent. A close literary and philological analysis of one of the most extraordinary of all Greek tragedies. While this play, in its many dimensions, will offer more than adequate material for classroom analysis and discussion, some attention will also be directed to its reception. G. Most. Winter.

41612. Seminar. Constructing Oedipus: Performance and Adaptation. (=CMLT 41612) This course will start with a close reading of Sophocles’ play and relevant literary criticism. We will then survey the reception of Oedipus Tyrannus through the centuries, reading from different texts and adaptations, including versions of the drama by Seneca, Corneille, and Ted Hughes, and touching along the way on issues of reception theory itself. The course will coincide with an on-campus performance of a version of Oedipus, and students will be invited to contribute to this production or, at least, attend to the process. Experience of the practice of theater and staging will supplement our readings, which will range from Aristotle, Freud, and Lévi-Strauss to Stravinsky, Dove, and Rotimi. S. Nooter and D. Wray. Spring.

45512. Seminar: Genre and Poetic Form in Archaic Hexametrical Poetry. C. Faraone. Winter.

Latin (LATN)

22400/32400. Post-Vergilian Epic. PQ: LATN 20300 or equivalent. Lucan. The goal of this course is threefold: 1. To read through some 2000 lines of the Bellum Civile in Latin; 2. To read all of the epic in English; 3. To explore the critical responses to this play in the 20th century. S. Bartsch. Autumn.

22500/32500. LATN 21800/31800. Roman Historiography: Tacitus. PQ: LATN 20300 or equivalent. Primary readings are drawn from books 1 and 2 of the Histories, in which Tacitus describes a series of coups and revolts that made AD 69 the “Year of the Four Emperors”. Parallel accounts and secondary readings are used to help bring out the methods of selecting and ordering data and the stylistic effects that typify a Tacitean narrative. P. White. Winter.

22600/32600. Roman Comedy. (=TAPS 28425) This course is a reading of a comic play by Plautus or Terence with discussion of original performance context and issues of genre, Roman comedy’s relation to Hellenistic New Comedy, and related questions. D. Wray. Spring.

23400/33400. Boethius Consolation of Philosophy. PQ: LATN 20300 or equivalent. The Consolation of Philosophy, which Boethius wrote in prison after a life of study and public service, offers a view on Roman politics and culture after Rome ceased to be an imperial capital. The Consolation is also a poignant testament from a man divided between Christianity and philosophy. About 70 pages of the text are read in Latin, and all of it in English. Secondary readings provide historical and religious context for the early sixth century AD. P. White. Autumn.

24712/35712. Latin Epigraphy. An introduction to the reading and editing of inscriptions in Latin and their use in historical study. We will give special attention to public documents of Italy, Spain and North Africa in stone and bronze, and to the history of the epigraphic habit within imperial and colonial political cultures. C. Ando. Spring.

25200/35200. Medieval Latin. (=HIST 23207/33207, HCHR 35200) The Practice of Carolingian Saints’ Tales. Spoken ‘Lingua Romana rustica’ departed from canonical Ancient Latin long before the late eighth century. But at this time the renewed study of the Classics and grammar soon prompted scholars and poets to update the stories of their favorite saints, and to inscribe some for the first time. We shall examine examples of ninth-century Carolingian ‘réécriture’ and of tandem new hagiography in both prose and verse by authors such as Lupus of Ferrières, Marcward of Prüm, Wandalbert of Prüm, Hildegar of Meaux and Heiric of Auxerre. All source readings in Classical Latin adapted to new Carolingian purposes, which we shall also explore historically in their own right. M. Allen. Autumn.

26000/36000. Latin Paleography. (Newberry Library, Fridays 2–5). The course will emphasize the development of Latin handwriting, primarily as book scripts, from its origins to the waning of the Carolingian minuscule, ca. AD 1100. By mastering the foundational types of writing, the students will develop skills for reading all Latin-based scripts, including those used for vernacular languages and the subsequent Gothics and their derivatives down to the sixteenth century. M. Allen. Autumn.

32700. Survey of Latin Literature I. We shall read extended selections from prose writers of recognized importance to the Latin tradition. Our sampling of texts will emphasize writers of the Late Republic and Early Principate. E. Asmis. Winter.

32800. Survey of Latin Literature II. With emphasis on major trends in modern critical interpretations of the major figures. M. Lowrie. Spring.

34400. Latin Prose Composition. PQ: Consent of instructor. This course is a practical introduction to the styles of classical Latin prose. After a brief and systematic review of Latin syntax, we combine regular exercises in composition with readings from a variety of prose stylists. Our goal is to increase the students’ awareness of the classical artists’ skill and also their own command of Latin idiom and sentence structure. S. Bartsch. Autumn.