Graduate Courses, 2009-2010

Classics

31700. Archaeology for Ancient Historians. This course is intended to act not as an introduction to Classical Archaeology but as a methods course illuminating the potential contribution of material cultural evidence to ancient historians while at the same time alerting them to the possible misapplications. Theoretical reflections on the relationship between history and archaeology will be interspersed with specific case-studies from the Graeco-Roman world. J. Hall. Winter.

34309. Byzantium and Islam. This is a lecture and discussion course on selected Byzantine-Islamic experiences from the emergence of Islam in the seventh century through the middle of the eleventh century. This is not a narrative survey. There is no single textbook. Topics will include diplomatic (political), military, economic, cultural, and religious relations that range from subtle influences and adaptations to open polemics. Readings will include modern scholarly interpretations as well as primary source readings in translation. No prerequisite. Final examination and short paper. W. Kaegi. Spring.

34609. Seminar: Tragedy and the Tragic. (=CMLT 5010X, CLAS 44609) PQ: Consent of instructor. Outside students will be accepted, with the class size limited to 15 students, as long as the majority of the students are CompLit Grad students and PhD students in Classics. Fulfills the core course requirement for CompLit students. Course readings include Greek, Roman, and early modern European tragic dramas (including Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, Seneca, Shakespeare, Lope de Vega, Corneille, Racine, and Schiller) together with major works of literary criticism on tragedy and the idea of the tragic, from Plato, Aristotle, and Longinus to Sidney, Hegel, and Lacan. Each student must read at least one play in a language other than English. D. Wray. Autumn 2009.

35409. Feeding Greece: Grain production and trade from the archaic to the Hellenistic period. Grain was the major item of the ancient Greek diet. Besides, the ancient population of Greece reached a comparatively high level. But given the techniques of agriculture and the qualities of the Greek soils, the imbalance between production and consumption was permanent. This made imports of grain vital. Within the cities, policies of control of the grain market also had to be implemented. It is all the aspects connected to the issue of grain, from production to consumption in passing by the organization of the market or the food crisis and their devastating consequences that this course would like to address. From Aristotle and Demosthenes to Diodorus and Cicero, this course will draw heavily on literary sources. But epigraphic and papyrological texts will offer also a large body of evidence. Beyond the case of grain, this course will allow the students to get an insight on a whole set of economic as well as political, social and religious behaviors in the ancient Greek world. A. Bresson, Autumn.

35509. The Greek colonial world in the Archaic and Classical period. The Aegean cities, and first of all Athens, are linked the great achievements of ancient Greece. But in the Archaic and Classical periods, a new Greece came into being, scattered all over the shores of the ancient Mediterranean. This course will show how starting from very modest beginnings the societies of the new colonial world soon produced a constellation of brilliant cities that had an existence of their own. The investigation will be based on textual as well as archaeological material and the course will examine the social, political, religious and economic aspects of this dynamic. It will cover a broad geographical field, from Spain to southern Asia Minor or Egypt, and from Cyrene to the Pontos. When necessary, it will also draw on anthropology or economics, which provide powerful tools to explain such an exceptional phenomenon as the Greek colonial expansion.A. Bresson. Winter.

36209. Roman Visual Culture in the NW Provinces. E. Mayer, Spring.

36409. Romans Outside Rome. This course will study the complex history of Roman settlements and emigration outside Italy over the course of the empire. We will consider the various problems of demography, urban design, cross-cultural exchange attendant upon this history, the friction that often arose in the period of conquest between Roman settlers and recently conquered peoples, as well as the contribution that communities of mixed background ultimately made to the creation of a cosmopolitan, imperial culture. C. Ando, Spring.

36509. Jacques Derrida, Early Writings. (=GRMN 35809) Deconstruction can be conceived as both a philosophical project and a practice of reading. As a philosophical project, deconstruction inscribes itself in the tradition of the critique of metaphysics, from Nietzsche via Heidegger and Adorno to poststructuralism. As a practice of reading (and, consequently, of writing), deconstruction performs the movement of a decentering and a displacement of traditional concepts which is to challenge classical figures of identity, being, sense and others. Both the philosophical project and the practice of reading belong together: According to Derrida, ‘to be an heir’ means to assume responsibility for one’s own reading of the texts of the metaphysical tradition; ‘Reading’ means to follow a significant trace which has to be produced by the act of reading itself. In this course, we will examine the exposition of the project and the practice of econstruction in Derrida’s early books: “Of Grammatology”, “Writing and Difference”, and “Margins of Philosophy”. We will not only deal with important concepts such as ‘writing’, ‘trace’ and ‘différance’, but also with the political and ethical commitment underlying Derrida’s attack on logocentrism. All reading and discussion will be in English. S. Luedemann. Autumn.
Recommended editions: “Of Grammatology”, translated by Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, Johns Hopkins University Press, corrected paperback edition 1998. “Margins of Philosophy”, translated by Alan Bass, The University of Chicago Press, paperback edition 1985. “Writing and Difference”, translated by Alan Bass, The University of Chicago Press, paperback edition 1978.

37009. Theories of Narrative. (=CMLT 38300, SLAV xxxxx) This seminar will focus on critical approaches to narrative, story-telling, and discourse analysis. While the emphasis will be on the "formalist"/structuralist tradition (Shklovsky, Benveniste, Barthes, Genette), we will also discuss works by Plato, Aristotle, Bakhtin, Benjamin, Auerbach, Banfield, Silverstein, and others. Notably, most of these approaches were inspired by the analysis of modern European novel, and part of our task will be to test them against shorter narratives produced in different genres and historical periods (possible authors include Pindar, Cicero, Virgil, Pushkin, and Leskov). Boris Maslov. Winter.

37109. Lyric Genres from Classical Antiquity to Postmodernism. (=CMLT 24501/34501, SLAV xxxxx/xxxxx) Moving beyond the modern perception of lyric as a direct expression of the poet's subjectivity, this course confronts the remarkable longevity of poetic genres that have remained in use over centuries and millennia, such as the hymn, ode, pastoral, elegy, epistle, and epigram. What kept these classical genres alive for so long and, conversely, what made them serviceable to poets working in very different cultural milieus? In an effort to develop a theory and a history of Western lyric genres, we will sample from the work of many poets, including Sappho, Horace, Marvell, Hölderlin, Whitman, Mandel'shtam, Brodsky, and Milosz. While we will be working mostly with English translations, arrangements can be made with interested students to discuss the texts in the original (in Greek, Latin, German, or Russian). Boris Maslov. Spring.

37709. Caesar and his Reception. (=CLCV 27709) Julius Caesar is a captivating figure in the Western political and literary imaginary. Consummate general, admired stylist, lover of Cleopatra, winner of the civil war against Pompey, and dictator for life, Caesar seems to have it all until his assassination by some of his closest friends. Did he have the ambition to control the state from the beginning or did he react in response to provocation? Did he have a just cause for waging civil war? Was he a figure of consummate cruelty or did he do atrocious things to forward a progressive political agenda? How are we to interpret his vaunted clemency? To address these questions, we will read Julius Caesar’s extant works and examine the rich variety of representations of this charismatic figure in imperial Greek and Roman literature (Appian, Plutarch, Suetonius, Lucan) and beyond (Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, Handel’s Giulio Cesare, Richard Nelson’s 2008 play, Conversations in Tusculum). M. Lowrie. Winter.

37909. Visual Culture of Rome and its Empire. 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, Winter.

38609. Greek and Roman Historiography. 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, Spring.

40109. Seminar: History of Rhetoric. Starting with the Greek Sophists and ending up with Augustine's On Christian Doctrine, this seminar will examine the evolution of classical rhetoric in theory and practice over the space of some 800 years. Special attention will be paid to the separation of philosophy and rhetoric effected by Plato's corpus; metaphorical representations of rhetoric as feminine or other; Thucydides on oratory and the state; Aristotelian classifications in the Rhetoric; rhetoric, ethos, and influence at Rome; anti-imperial forms of expression; and Christian attitudes towards pagan rhetoric. S. Bartsch. Autumn.

40609. Democratic Athens. (=ARTH 40610, PAMW 40609) This seminar will study the interaction of art and politics in Athens during the late Archaic and Classical periods, roughly 514-323 BCE.  We will lay particular emphasis on close study of particular monuments – sculpture, architecture, painting – with eye to determining the relation between style and politics.  Topics will include the Parthenon and its echoes in sculpture and pottery; the role of architectural sculpture at sanctuaries like Delphi and Delos; and the relation between the visual arts and Platonic philosophy. Knowledge of French, German or an ancient language will be very helpful but is not required. Enrollment by permission of instructor. R. Neer. Winter.

 

43909. Stoics and Epicureans. (=CLAS 33909, CLCV 23909) This course will focus on the issue of personal freedom. The Stoics and Epicureans both offered their own answer to the question: what makes a person free? Neither group identified freedom with the absence of political constraints or with political activity. Both were concerned to preserve freedom despite external constraints. The Epicureans looked for it in the ability to achieve freedom from pain and anxiety, and in the companionship of friends. The Stoics identified it with moral integrity and raised questions of how to deal with political pressures. We will explore their answers by reading Epicurus' writings and Lucretius, Cicero's On Duties, and Epictetus' Discourses. Knowledge of Greek or Latin is not required. The course may be taken either as a graduate seminar or as an advanced undergraduate course. E. Asmis, Spring.
Consent of instructor is required. Please email: e-asmis@uchicago.edu.

 

43910. Liberty and Equality in Ancient Political Thought. (=CLAS 33910) Please note that this course has been replaced with CLAS 43909/33909, CLCV 23909: Stoics and Epicureans. 

46308. Seminar: Early Rome I. Our knowledge of Rome during the Regal Period and the Early Republic is founded largely on two categories of evidence: archaeological data, and a literary tradition that originated only in the third century BC. This two-quarter course, fulfilling the seminar requirement for graduates in history and the Department of Classics' Program in the Ancient Mediterranean World, will examine these categories of evidence and grapple with the methodological problems that they inevitably raise: how should we read these kinds of evidence, whether in isolation or in conjunction with one another, and what kinds of narratives of Rome's early development can they support? The first quarter will be devoted to guided reading and discussion while the second quarter will be reserved for writing a major research paper. Students will also be permitted to enroll for just the first quarter by arrangement with the instructors. J. Hall / C. Hawkins, Autumn.

46309. Seminar: Early Rome II. Our knowledge of Rome during the Regal Period and the Early Republic is founded largely on two categories of evidence: archaeological data, and a literary tradition that originated only in the third century BC. This two-quarter course, fulfilling the seminar requirement for graduates in history and the Department of Classics' Program in the Ancient Mediterranean World, will examine these categories of evidence and grapple with the methodological problems that they inevitably raise: how should we read these kinds of evidence, whether in isolation or in conjunction with one another, and what kinds of narratives of Rome's early development can they support? The first quarter will be devoted to guided reading and discussion while the second quarter will be reserved for writing a major research paper. Students will also be permitted to enroll for just the first quarter by arrangement with the instructors. J. Hall / C. Hawkins, Winter.

47209. Seminar: Archaic Poetics. (=CMLT 52200, SLAV xxxxx) This seminar investigates the notion of archaic (a.k.a. primitive, folk, "sentimental", mythological) poetics, originally formulated by the Romantics, but later pursued by scholars who sought to conceptualize the presumed break between "oral literatures" of traditional societies, as well as texts produced in Archaic Greece, and modern literary praxis. In this course we will be interested both in the actual lineaments of an archaic poetics and its literary reception in the 19th-20th c. Apart from relevant primary sources (Homeric epic, archaic Greek choral lyric, primitivist modernist poetry, etc.), we will discuss works by Fr. Schlegel, Veselovsky, Propp, Levi-Strauss, Bakhtin, Parry, and others. Boris Maslov. Spring.

47509. Growth and institutions in the Economy of the ancient World. The purpose of this course is to explore how far the tools of economic analysis can take us towards an understanding of the ancient world. Its spirit is one of dialogue between two disciplines, aiming toward mutual enrichment. Economic analysis (broadly construed to include the transaction costs approach as well as game theory) can help organize our knowledge and understanding of events and institutions. Conversely, the ancient world can provide a rich testing ground for economists' intuitions and hypotheses. The course will make use of any evidence from the ancient classical world ('Greece and Rome', but including all the territories that at some point were part of the ancient classical empires).

To this end, rather than slicing our subject chronologically, we propose to proceed as if we were writing a modern economic textbook in the ancient world. Thus we would directly address, in the context of the ancient world, broad economic issues such as: the presence or absence of growth, the impact of technology on development, the efficiency of markets, the role of institutions, the origin of coinage and the importance of money. Indeed, our hope for the course is to provide a solid base for writing a new book in the previously mentioned perspective.

This does not mean that the social dimension of economical phenomena will be left aside. Quite the opposite, they will be addressed in a different way: for instance, the issue of slavery or the existence of a world of freedmen will be analyzed in the framework of the transaction costs theory using the most recent works in this field.

This should be a highly innovative course. It will combine the approaches of an historian focusing on economic matters and of a professional economist. To the best of our knowledge, no such course has ever been taught (in a direct economic perspective, not in a purely historical one). The course will be pitched so as to attract participants interested in economics in general and specifically in the economy of the ancient world. We will keep technicalities (historical or economic) from hindering dialogue across disciplines, without sacrificing rigor. A. Bresson / F. Velde. Winter.

Greek

31700. Lyric and Epinician Poetry. The first half of this class traces the development of Greek lyric poetry from the fragments of the archaic poets Alcman, Sappho, Anacreon, and Alcaeus, to the sophisticated reuse of archaic themes in the Hellenistic lyrics of Theocritus. In the second half we follow the course of epinician poetry from Simonides through Pindar and Bacchylides to Callimachus. S. Nooter. Autumn.

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. Payne. Winter.

31900. Greek Orators: Demosthenes, De Corona. Demosthenes' On the Crown, more than any other speech that has come to us from antiquity, has been held up as the "gold standard" of classical rhetorical prose. We read the entire Greek text with attention to the language, style, and rhetorical energy that have merited such unrestrained praise. We focus on how Demosthenes uses history, exploits Greek notions of patriotism, and develops character assassination to a high art. We also consider the extent to which the finished product may be considered one of the supreme documents of Athenian power and liberty. E. Asmis. Spring.

32700. Survey of Greek Literature I: Poetry. Greek poetry, including drama, from Homer to Callimachus. Lectures and discussions will be concerned chiefly with genre, style, meter, and rhetorical structure. There will be some close study of passages chosen to exemplify problems of interpretation or to display the major themes in each poet's work. S. Nooter. Autumn.

32800. Survey of Greek Literature II: Prose. A study of the creation of the canonical Greek prose style in the 5th and 4th centuries. Rapid reading and translation exercises. H. Dik. Winter.

32900. Survey of Greek Literature III. This class offers an introduction to the major works of ancient Greek literary theory including Plato's Ion and Republic Book 3, Aristotle's Poetics, Demetrius, On Style, Plutarch, How a Young Person Should Study Poems, Dionysius of Halicarnassus, On Literary Composition, and Longinus, On the Sublime. Attention to the aims and methods of the works as a whole, which will be read in their entirety in English, is complemented by close reading of selected passages in the original language. M. Payne. Spring.

34400. Greek Prose Composition. PQ: Consent of instructor. This course focuses on intensive study of the structures of the Greek language and the usage of the canonical Greek prose, including compositional exercises. H. Dik. Autumn.

46509. Sem. Greek Tragedy in Africa. (=ENG XXXXX) This course will trace the progress of two bursts of dramatic creativity: tragedy in fifth century Athens and adaptations of tragedy in twentieth century Africa (including South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana and Egypt). We will read and discuss genre, thematic concerns, and interpretative problems in plays by Euripides and Sophocles. In alternating weeks, we will discuss these topics and issues of cultural and postcolonial identity as they relate to adaptations written by Wole Soyinka, Athol Fugard, Ola Rotimi and others in the 1960s and 70s. All plays will be read in their original language, but students without knowledge of Greek may enroll with instructor's consent. S. Nooter. Winter.

46909. Seminar: Protection and Healing in Ancient Greek Ritual and Thought. This seminar will explore archaic and classical Greek ideas and rituals about health and disease, protection and cure, beginning with Apollo and the plague, and including discussions of pollution and purification, the worship of Asclepius, wonder-workers like Pythagoras and Empedocles, Orphism and the Platonic notion of care for the soul. C. Faraone / J. Redfield. Spring.

Latin

31700. Post-Vergilian Epic. PQ: LATN 20300 or equivalent. We will read two books of Ovid's Metamorphoses in Latin and the entire poem in translation. Discussion topics will include prosody, diction, narrative technique, epic tradition, and comparative mythology. D. Wray Autumn.

31800. Roman Historiography. Primary readings are drawn from the Tiberian books, in which Tacitus describes the consolidation of the imperial regime after the death of Augustus. 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. Winter.

31900. 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. S. Bartsch. Spring.

35000. Augustine's Confessions. Substantial selections from books 1 through 9 of the Confessions are read in Latin (and all thirteen books in English), with particular attention to Augustine's style and thought. Further readings in English provide background about the historical and religious situation of the late fourth century A.D. P. White. Spring.

35200. Medieval Latin. The course traces developments and continuities in Latin literature from the late-fourth century to the tenth. We examine new Christian literary idioms, such as hymnody, hagiography, and the theological essay, as well as reinterpretations of classical forms of poetry, epistle, biography, and historical writing. We consider the peculiarities of medieval Latin. Attention will be paid to how and where literature was cultivated. M. Allen. Autumn.

37209. Cicero's De Officiis (On Duties). (=PHIL, ##LAW, PolSC) This class will study one of the most influential works in the whole history of Western political thought, a primary foundation for modern ideas of global justice and the just war. We will understand it in the context of Cicero's thought and its background in Hellenistic philosophy, and we will also do readings in translation that show its subsequent influence. Prerequisite. To enroll for credit, you must have had five quarters of Latin or the equivalent preparation. Others may audit. The translating will always be done in the first hour of the class, so those who do not want to participate can arrive an hour late. Requirements: a midterm and a final exam, and a final paper. M. Nussbaum, Winter.

45000. Seminar: Juvenal. Close reading of selected satires with emphasis on narrative strategies and style; readings in theories of satire and examination of influential interpretations of Juvenal's corpus. R. Johnson. Winter.

46209. Seminar: Security in Augustan Literature. Since 9/11, security has become a political buzzword. Under the Bush administration, it underwent restriction to its military meaning, but more recently, commentators have been talking about it in terms of the economy, health care, and education. Richard Clark has lamented the politicization of national security, but recognizes that things have been so (at least) since Remus jumped over Romulus’ walls. This course examines the interrelation of different ways of lacking care (se = sine cura) in Augustan Rome. The Republican word for our security is salus, while in Imperial Rome the abstract securitas supplements the basic meaning of safety. Augustan Rome provides an interesting moment at the hinge between Republican and Imperial ideas. Livy’s stories of the secession of the plebs show that while the senatorial class restricted security to a freedom from an external threat, the plebs saw their economic interests and military duties as intertwined. For Horace, philosophical peace of mind comes at the price of involvement in running the state and anticipates the imperial understanding of securitas as a trade-off: safety requires indifference. Both Livy and Horace represent security in terms of bodies, the former in the body of a man scarred both in battle and by the whip, the latter in terms of Augustus’ own body. Care and safety perhaps represent the two axes for understanding Vergil’s Aeneid: the foundation of the state is necessary for basic political well-being, but comes with a burden of emotional cares. It is not at all clear that securing safety will also secure peace of mind. Thinking about the Aeneid in terms of security can help weave together the disparate concerns of the so-called optimistic and pessimistic schools in the scholarship on Vergil. We will read selections from Livy, Horace, and Vergil with these issues in mind. Theoretical readings will focus on Michel Foucault’s lectures on security, governmentality, and power that are collected (mostly) in the volume, Power, edited by James D. Faubion, The New Press. M. Lowrie. Spring.

47909. Seminar: The Poetry of Death. (ARTH 43410) Rome's vast burial grounds yield rich information for social and cultural history. The rich and the poor, foreigners and locals were buried in close proximity to each other. Their tombs represent a cross-section through much of Roman society. This seminar aims at brining together evidence that is usually studied in isolation: funerary epigrams, wall-painting, sarcophagi and the tombs themselves. Viewed as a whole, tombs open a window into the Roman mind that often deviates from the standard picture painted of Roman society. The use of Greek mythology in funerary art and epigrams is more idiosyncratic than in canonical elite literature and class boundaries appear more permeable. E. Mayer, Spring.