Graduate Courses 2017-18



CLAS 31517. Minoan Art, Modern Myths, and Problems of Prehistory. (=ARTH 20510/30510, CLCV 21517) This course will provide an introduction to the art of the Bronze Age culture of Minoan Crete, with an emphasis on the Palatial Period (ca. 1900-1450 BCE). We will cover both well-known works and recent archaeological finds, including those from outside of Crete that have altered our view of Minoan art in recent years. At the same time, we will investigate how our knowledge of this civilization and its art has been shaped by the mentalities of those who have excavated its remains and collected and displayed it. We will look closely at archaeological reports, restorations, forgeries, and concepts of style and iconography to reveal how archaeological remains are transformed into historical narratives. While focused on the Minoans, the class is designed to build the analytical skills necessary for engaging with the art of prehistoric cultures and other ancient cultures heavily shaped by modern imaginaries. S. Estrin.

CLAS 31617. “The Return of Homer: The Iliad and Odyssey in Contemporary English Language Fiction and Poetry.” (=SCTH 31614) PQ: There is no language requirement; but students are expected to have refreshed their familiarity with the Iliad and Odyssey in translation before the course begins.  The course will examine the extraordinary flowering of English language novels and poems based on the Homeric epics in the past quarter century. We will ask how different contemporary poets and prose writers have interpreted homers works and try to understand the appeal of this ancient poetry for modern authors, readers, and publishers. The reading will include such works as Margaret Atwood, The Penelopiad; Byrne Fone, War Stories: A Novel of the Trojan War, Christopher Logue, An Account of Homer’s Iliad; David Malouf, Ransom; Zachary Mason, The Lost Books of the Odyssey; Madeline Miller, The Song of Achilles; Alice Oswald, Memorial: A Version of Homer’s Iliad; Lisa Peterson, An Iliad; Kate Quinn, et al., A Song of War; and Derek Walcott, Omeros. English translations of such foreign-language works as Alessandro Baricco’s An Iliad and Ismail Kadare’s The Fijle on H. may also be considered if students wish. G. Most. Winter. (Day/time/location:  9:30a-12:20p on Wednesdays, in Foster 505)

CLAS 31717. Sophocles, Ajax (=SCTH 31616, CLCV 21717). PQ: Either an adequate knowledge of ancient Greek or the consent of the instructor is required; students should have refreshed their familiarity with the Iliad and Odyssey.  A close literary and philological analysis of one of the most remarkable and perplexing of all Greek tragedies. We will consider the play’s portrayal of the nature and limits of one form of male heroism against the background of earlier poetry and contemporary history; and we will attempt constantly tor elate philological and literary approaches to one another in order to understand better not only Sophocles’ play but also the strengths and limitations of the ways in which scholars try to come closer to it. G. Most. Winter.  Day/time/location:  1:30-4:20p on Mondays in Foster 305a.

CLAS 34017. The Spartan Divergence. (=CLCV 24017, HIST 20307/30307) Sparta was a Greek city, but of what type? The ancient tradition, or at least the larger part of it, paints the portrait of an ideal city-state. The city was supposed to be stable and moderately prosperous. Its citizens were allegedly models of virtue. For many centuries the city did not experience revolutions and its army was invincible on the battlefield. This success was attributed to its perfect institutions. Following the track opened by Ollier's Spartan Mirage, modern scholarship has scrupulously and successfully deconstructed this image of an ideal city. But what do we find if we go beyond the looking glass? Was Sparta really a city "like all the others?” This class will show that we must go deeper into our evidence in order to make sense of the extraordinary success followed by the brutal collapse of this very special city-state. A. Bresson. Winter.

CLAS 35017. Peripheries of the Greek World. (=CLCV 25017) What happens when we consider the cultures, histories, and politics of the ancient Greek world from outside its Aegean ecumene?  From Homeric ethnographies to Hellenistic expansion, the borders and peripheries of Greek life became rich spaces for both imagining and constructing Greek identity and civilization through interactions with myriad “others”: barbarians, allies, kings, and monsters. In recent decades, interdisciplinary research has examined what life was like on these peripheries, at the intersections of Greek colonization, trade, religion, and the state. In this course we will examine the concept of peripheries (and cores) and question the methodologies that historians and archaeologists use to consider the dynamic spaces around the edges of the Aegean Sea: colonial settlements, sites of pilgrimage, industrial districts, and exotic fringes, among others. Using textual and material evidence, and taking a broad approach by exploring case studies from Iberia to India, we consider the practices through which diverse peripheries became intertwined with Greek culture (or not).  C. Kearns. Winter.

CLAS 35417. Censorship from the Inquisition to the Present. (=HIST 25421/35421, CLCV 25417) This course will be a collaborative research seminar on the history of censorship and information control, with a focus on the history of books and information technologies. The class will meet in Special Collections, and students will work with the professor to prepare an exhibit, The History of Censorship, to be held in the Special Collections exhibit space in spring. Students will work with rare books and archival materials, design exhibit cases, write exhibit labels, and contribute to the exhibit catalog. Half the course will focus on censorship in early modern Europe, including the inquisition, the spread of the printing press, and clandestine literature in the Renaissance and Enlightenment. There will be a special focus on the effects of censorship on classical literature, both newly rediscovered works like Lucretius and the lost books of Plato, as well as authors like Pliny the Elder and Seneca who had been available in the Middle Ages but became newly controversial in the Renaissance. The other half of the course will look at modern and contemporary censorship issues, from wartime censorship, to the censorship comic books, to digital rights management, to free speech on our own campus. Students may choose whether to focus their own research and exhibit cases on classical, early modern, modern, or contemporary censorship. A. Palmer. Autumn.

CLAS 35808. Roman Law. (=CLCV 25808, HIST 213004/31004, SIGN 26017) The course has two chief aims. First, to investigate the Roman law as a topic of historical inquiry and to chart its development over time; to study its implication in political and demographic changes in the society it sought to map; and to raise problems of evidence and method in grappling with the sources of knowledge that survive to us. Second, to consider some areas of legal doctrine and legal practice both in Rome itself and in the communities over which Rome ruled. C. Ando. Spring.

CLAS 36017. Gods and God in Imperial Asia Minor (1–300 CE).  (=CLAS 36017, HIST 2/30308)  Roman Asia Minor in the Imperial period provides an extraordinary case of religious plurality and creativity. Pagans, Jews, Christians, even already Christian heretics, interacted in the same space. The frontiers between Jewish and Christian communities were, at least at the beginning, more fluid than was long thought. But even the frontiers between paganism and Judaism or Christianity were certainly not as rigid as was later imagined. This does not mean, however, that there were no tensions between the various groups. This class will examine the various aspects of this religious diversity as well as the social and political factors that may explain the religious equilibrium prevailing at that time in Asia Minor.  A. Bresson. Spring.

CLAS 46616. Relition and Reason (=KNOW 40201) The birth of Christianity was in the crucible of rationality.  The ancient Greeks privileged this human capacity above all others, finding in reason the quality wherein man was closest to the gods.  Through his capacity to reason, man could be a political animal; through it, he could achieve self-knowledge; through it, he could philosophize about the meaning and nature of the universe.  By contrast, the early Christians found this viewpoint antithetical to religious humility in the face of God’s power. 

This course will trace the repercussions of this argument through (mostly) western history.  It brings together a scientist and a humanist to discuss the ongoing tension between the claims of science and the claims of religion.  Along the way, of course, it will examine the assumptions bound up in the binary terms “religion” and “reason.”  S. Bartsch-Zimmer, Winter.

CLAS 38517. History of Skepticism. (=HIST 29516/39516, CLCV 28517) Before we ask what is true or false, we must ask how we can know what is true or false. This course examines the vital role doubt and philosophical skepticism have played in the Western intellectual tradition, from pre-Socratic Greece through the Enlightenment, with a focus on how criteria of truth—what kinds of arguments are considered legitimate sources of certainty—have changed over time. The course will examine dialog between skeptical and dogmatic thinkers, and how many of the most fertile systems in the history of philosophy have been hybrid systems which divided the world into things which can be known, and things which cannot. The course will touch on the history of atheism, heresy and free thought, on fideism and skeptical religion, and will examine how the scientific method is itself a form of philosophical skepticism. Primary source readings will include Plato, Sextus Empiricus, Lucretius, Ockham, Pierre Bayle, Montaigne, Descartes, Francis Bacon, Hobbes, Voltaire, Diderot, and others. A. Palmer. Spring.

CLAS 40117. The Commons & the Public: Figuring Collaborative Knowledge Production.  (=KNOW 40102)  Starting with Roman Law and moving up to contemporary critiques of intellectual property, this seminar explores new ways of conceptualizing collaborative forms of knowledge production that have been typically referred to as "commons".  We do so by following a series of parallel and intersecting questions, starting with those concerning what the commons are about:  What were the traditional commons of things or resources(public lands, public spaces, fisheries, pastures, forests)?  What are the new commons of knowledge (academic publications, free software, wikipedia, etc)? And what is the relationship between infrastructures (roads, harbors, Internet, and the commons)?  We then look at the changing configurations of human actors associated with the commons, that is, the differences between the communities associated with the traditional commons of traditional resources and the publics, counterpublics, multitudes, and crowds, that are now associated with collaborative forms of knowledge making and political action.  We try, in sum, to conceptualize the relationship between the new knowledge commons and new notions of the public. M. Biagioli Autumn. NOTE: October 16, 2017 - November 19, 2017 Mon and Wed 9:00 – 11:50 AM in SIFK 104

CLAS 41717. The Mediterranean Sea in Antiquity: Imperial Connections. (=CDIN 41717, NEHC 40020, ANCM 41717) The Mediterranean Sea has long inspired imaginings of lands and peoples connected by its waters. From the Romans’ Mare Nostrum, “our sea,” to today’s variants of “middle sea” – Greek Mesogeios, German Mittelmeer, and of course, Latin Mediterranean – imaginations of the sea have often celebrated its spatial and social cohesion. The Mediterranean continues to possess a middling geopolitical identity today, situated as it is between continental Europe, the Aegean, the Middle East, and North Africa. Yet, despite our diachronic investment in recognizing the Mediterranean’s grand narrative as a locus of cultural connectivity, its long-term histories of interregional dynamics remain difficult to approach holistically. This concern is especially salient when it comes to the study of ancient empires, those large expansionary polities whose social, political, and economic practices drew disparate groups together and at times forced them apart. This class has two closely related objectives. First, we tackle the most ambitious pieces of scholarship on Mediterranean history to evaluate how various disciplines have sought to analyze and to bound the sea as a cartographic whole. In the process, we gain an appreciation not only for the methodological and interpretive scales involved in such an undertaking, but for the various disciplinary strategies the Mediterranean’s diverse histories have inspired. Second, we interrogate one sociopolitical structure – the empire – and question how the Mediterranean encouraged and challenged imperialism as a recurring formation that worked to maintain sovereignty across broad geographical expanses. In doing so, we explore the variegated processes of cultural connectivity that have characterized the ancient Mediterranean from east to west. C. Kearns & J. Osborne. Autumn.

CLAS 48017.  Phaedras Compared: Adaptation, Gender, Tragic Form. (=CDIN 48017, CLAS 48017, FREN 48017, TAPS 48017, GNSE 48017, CMLT 48017) This seminar places Racine’s French neoclassical tragedy Phaedra within a wide-ranging series of adaptations of the ancient myth, from its Greek and Latin sources (Euripides, Seneca, Ovid) to twentieth-century and contemporary translations and stage adaptations (Ted Hughes, Sarah Kane), read along with a series of theoretical and critical texts. Particular attention will be paid to critical paradigms and approaches in the evolving fields of classical reception studies, theater and performance studies, and gender studies. Reading knowledge of French strongly preferred. D. Wray & L. Norman. Winter.


GREK 32300. Hellenistic/Imperial Literature. (=GREK 23200). PQ: GREK 20300 or equivalent. This class features selections from the poetry and/or prose of the Hellenistic and Imperial periods. This year we will read selections from Hellenistic poetry, with a particular focus on the Hymns of Callimachus. D. Wray. Winter.

32400. Greek Comedy: Menander. (=GREK 22400) PQ: GREK 20600 or equivalent. We will read in Greek Menander’s Dyskolos, with an eye to understanding “New Comedy” and its robust afterlife in Renaissance Europe and modern sitcoms. We will also devote some time to reading and assessing fragments from Menander’s contemporaries. Coursework will include translation as well as secondary readings. E. Austin. Autumn.

GREK 32515. Greek Historians: Thucydides. (=GREK 22515). In this course we will read book 1 of Thucydides, his description of the run-up to the Peloponnesian War, in Greek. We will pay attention to Thucydides' style and approach to historiography, sinking our teeth into this difficult but endlessly fascinating text. H. Dik. Spring.

GREK 32700. Survey of Greek Literature-1. This course will cover the long life of ancient Greek poetry, touching on many genres in their first forms: epic and hymns, poetry that is didactic, theogonic, iambic, elegiac, lyric, epinician, tragic, comedic, pastoral, dithyrambic and some poems that are practically unclassifiable. We will seek to discuss key moments, passages, and poems that give us entry to larger literary questions and themes. We will pay particular attention to details of genre, dialect, and meter, while also being attentive to the history of scholarship that attends on these traditions. We will read a lot of Greek. S. Nooter.Autumn.

GREK 32800. Survey of Greek Literature-2. 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.

GREK 34400. Greek Prose Composition. The goal of this course is to write accurate sentences and paragraphs in classical Attic Greek.  We are not concerned here with stylistic imitation, but rather to write Attic prose clearly and correctly. The most obvious benefits of this exercise will be thorough review of basic morphology and syntax as well as fine-tuning one's grasp of the more subtle nuances of the Greek language. Another important benefit is cultivating Attic prose as a kind of linguistic standard or canon by which we are able to better understand other Greek styles of writing and types of diction. The vantage point of a standard allows us to analyze and understand other styles on their own terms and merits, whether Herodotos, Epic, New Testament, etc.    E. Austin. Spring.

GREK 34600.  Philo of Alexandria. (=BIBL 44500, GREK 24600) Pre-reg: At least two years of Greek. In this course we will read the Greek text of Philo’s de opificio mundi, with other brief excerpts here and there in the Philonic corpus. Our aim will be to use this treatise to elucidate the thought and character of one of the most prolific theological writers of the first century. We will seek to understand Philo as a Greek author and the nature and origins of his style, Philo as a proponent of middle Platonism, and Philo as a Jew in the context of Alexandrian Judaism. We will also examine his use of the allegorical method as an exegetical tool, and its implications for pagan, Jewish and early Christian approaches to sacred texts. D. Martinez. Autumn.

GREK 36515. Indo-European Linguistic Paleontology. (=LING 2/31360, GREK 26515) Linguistic paleontology is a set of methods of inspecting reconstructed linguistic data (including early lexical borrowings) in order to derive information about the original geographical location ("homeland"), natural environment (terrain, flora, fauna), economy, and material and spiritual culture (cosmology, pantheon, etc.) of the speech community that spoke the reconstructed protolanguage. In this course we will examine the reconstructed lexicon of Proto-Indo-European and correlate it with evidence from archaeology and textual compositions in the oldest IE languages to formulate hypotheses about PIE homeland, as well as economic and cultural practices. Time permitting, we may apply these methods to language families outside Indo-European. Y. Gorbachov

GREK 40617. Epictetus/Aurelius. Both Epictetus' Discourses and Marcus Aurelius' Meditations have been philosophical best sellers ever since antiquity. Both humanize ancient Stoicism. In this seminar, we will look closely at the Greek text to investigate each author's unique response to Stoic doctrine. The focus of the seminar will on the creativity of each author in reshaping Stoic doctrine. We will also look at the reception of these authors in the Renaissance and later.  Prerequisite: the equivalent of two years of Ancient Greek. E. Asmis. Spring.

GREK 40917. Thucydides.  (=SCTH 31927)  An exploration of the text in translation, or if possible, in Greek. J. Redfield. Spring.

GREK 42417. The Paris Magical Codex (PGM IV). PQ: Knowledge of Ancient Greek Definitely Required.  The Greek magical papyri have been called “one of the largest collections of functioning ritual texts… that has survived from late-antiquity” (J.Z. Smith) and deserve close study.  The Paris magical codex (PGM IV) is by far the longest and best preserved and will be the focus of the seminar not only as a key transmitter of scores of magical recipes, but also as a material artifact, that needs to be approached from the discipline of papyrology.  In this seminar, then, we will devote much time to papyrological practice by editing the entire text of PGM IV and observing many of its important features: codicology, page setup, paleography, drawings, patterns.  But we will also discuss how this handbook is an important source for the history of ancient curses, amulets, divination and erotic magic.  C. Faraone & S. Torallas. Spring.


LATN 31500. Roman Satire. (=LATN 21500). PQ: LATN 20200 or equivalent. The object of this course is to study the emergence of satire as a Roman literary genre with a recognized subject matter and style. Readings include Horace Satires 1.1, 4, 6, 10 and 2.1, 5 and 7; Persius 1 and 5; and Juvenal 1 and 3. S. Bartsch-Zimmer. Winter.

LATN 32100. Lucretius. (=LATN 32100) PQ: LATN 20200 or equivalent. We will read selections of Lucretius' magisterial account of a universe composed of atoms. The focus of our inquiry is: how did Lucretius convert a seemingly dry philosophical doctrine about the physical composition of the universe into a gripping message of personal salvation? The selections include Lucretius' vision of an infinite universe, of heaven, and of the hell that humans have created for themselves on earth. M. Lowrie. Autumn.

LATN 31600. Roman Oratory. (=LATN 31600) PQ: LATN 20200 or equivalent. Two of Cicero's speeches in the criminal courts of Rome receive a close reading in Latin and in English. The speeches are considered in relation to theories set out in Cicero's rhetorical writings and in relation to the role of the criminal courts in late Republican Rome. P. White. Spring.

LATN 37017. Einhard. (=LATN 27017)  Einhard’s Life of Charlemagne combined Ciceronian rhetorical theory, the modeling of Suetonius, and personal reminiscences to create one of the best-sellers of the Middle Ages. That work has a situational logic and stylistic place among Einhard’s other activities and literate creations, including letters, epigraphy, theological reflection, and hagiographical narrative. We shall consider the inspirations, styles, and goals of the courtier, biographer, and pious lay retiree, who stands emblematically as both a “typical” and nonpareil figure of the Carolingian Renaissance.  M. Allen. Winter.

LATN 40907. Vergilian Receptions. This seminar offers a series of case-studies in the reception of Vergil’s Aeneid. We will start with the ancient commentators, then move on to Macrobius, Fulgentius, and the medieval allegorists, Dante’s Inferno, the Aeneid and Christianity, the Aeneid in the New World, the poem’s treatment before and after WWI, the Aeneid in the hands of the Italian Fascists, and finally, contemporary trends in interpretation. We will also address reception theory, the figure of Dido through time, and, if there is time, the Aeneid in art. Where possible, readings will be in Latin. S. Bartsch-Zimmer. Autumn.

LATN 47717. Augustine Confessions. (=HREL 53400) This seminar is an in-depth reading of the Confessions, with use of the Latin text. Topics to be covered will be determined by consensus during the first week, but they may include the genesis of the work in relation to Augustine’s life and literary oeuvre (e.g. vis-à-vis the partly contemporary De Doctrina and De Trinitate); its structure (including the relationship between books I-X and XI-XIII) and narrative technique; its meditative versus dialogical character; Augustine’s representation of the self and his method of Biblical exegesis; Manichean and Neoplatonic influences; and ancient (Pelagius) and postmodern readings of the Confessions (Lyotard, Marion). Once-weekly meetings will consist of discussions, lectures, and reports.  W. Otten and P. White. Spring.