FALL 2013 COURSE OFFERING
CG 110 Elementary Greek (4)
M 11:15-12:20 & TuTh 11:10-12:30
Why study ancient Greek? To study Greek is to study ourselves as creators, leaders, thinkers and as humans. Greek sharpens awareness and understanding of how languages work and offers English speakers the opportunity to rediscover their own language; over 30% of all English words (particularly those of the sciences and humanities) are formed from ancient Greek roots. Students in this course will acquire the basics of Greek grammar through reading selections from a variety of authors and texts, including Aesop, Plato, Herodotus, and the New Testament.
CG 311 The Sophists (4)
One cannot understand the Athens of 450-400 BCE without confronting that group of brilliant intellectuals known as the sophists. The sophists are often cast as catalysts for the fall of Athens in the later years of this period, not without some reason. Perhaps even more important, and often overlooked, is that the sophists also catalyzed Athens’ intellectual contributions to the western world, transforming the thinking and fueling the achievements of many of the greatest Athenians — Pericles, Sophocles, Euripides, Aristophanes, Thucydides among them; even Socrates, whom Plato and Xenophon portray as the sophists’ opponent and antithesis, shared much with them. Since the sophists—and Socrates—constantly focused on issues of language, one can understand their contributions and impact only by reading them in Greek. At the heart of our reading will be what we have from the sophists themselves, Protagoras, Gorgias, and Antiphon in particular, texts as fascinating as they are at times fragmentary. We’ll also read selected passages from Plato, Herodotus, and Xenophon, and brief excerpts from Sophocles, Euripides, and Aristophanes that bear on the sophists. Complementing these readings in Greek will be other texts read in translation and selected secondary materials.
Prerequisite: CG 210 or permission of the instructor.
CL 110 Elementary Latin (4)
M 11:15-12:10 & TuTh 11:10-12:30
Latin, the root of the Romance languages of French, Spanish, and Italian, and the language of the sciences and medicine, lies at the heart of Western civilization. The study of Latin and Roman culture leads to a greater understanding of our own literature and civilization, improves writing and reading skills, and helps to develop precise thinking. Students in this course acquire the basics of Latin grammar and vocabulary while reading selected prose passages and poems by Cicero, Catullus, Vergil, Martial, and Caesar.
CL 311 Suetonius (4)
The Lives of the Caesars by Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus offers warts-and-all biographies of the early Roman emperors. Students will read excerpts from his Augustus, Caligula, and Nero in order to discover Suetonius’ purpose in writing the lives of these men — or are they monsters?
Prerequisite: CG 210 or permission of the instructor.
A study of the important myths in Greek and Roman culture, with attention to their religious, psychological, and historical origins. Comparative mythology, structural analysis, modern psychological interpretations, and the development of classical myths in Western literature and art receive attention. Fulfills the Humanities requirement.
CC 227 Race and Ethnicity in Ancient Greece and Beyond (3)
How did the ancient Greeks construct their “racial” and ethnic identity and why should “Ancient Greekness” matter to us living in America today? Students will study the dynamics of race and ethnicity in antiquity by comparing constructions of Greekness and Romanness with constructions of ethnic identities in ancient non-Western cultures, including the ancient Persian Empire (Iran and Iraq) as well as cultures of ancient Africa, specifically the Egyptians, Ethiopians, Nubians, and Libyans. Students consider ancient Greek evidence as well as historical and archaeological data shedding light on non-Western perspectives. Students will learn contemporary race theory and the difficulties and benefits of applying it to the study of ancient societies. Students will also examine the role of ancestry, language, religion, mythology, literature (including historiography) in the discursive formation of racial and ethnic identities among the ancient Greeks and nearby non-Western cultures. Although centered in Ancient Greece, students will move beyond its geographical boundaries through examination of the Mediterranean culturally and its link to the 21st-century conceptualizations of race and ethnicity.
Fulfills the Cultural Diversity and Humanities requirements. Prerequisite: None.
CC 365 Murdering Mothers (4)
Medea, a mother who knowingly and willingly kills her own children, has become an indelible paradigm in the Western tradition. We will survey the Medea legend from antiquity to modern times, from Euripidean monster to feminist archetype. We will also consider contemporary acts of child-murder, and the difference between myth and reality, art and life. Prerequisite: none.
SSP 100.006 Den of Antiquities (4)
What is the difference between collecting and looting antiquities? What constitutes ownership of an art object? What distinguishes individual from museum collections? What are the ethical obligations of collectors? Students will examine the trade in antiquities stretching from the first "collector" - a Roman general who stole art from Sicily after sacking it in 212 BCE - to Lord Elgin's "purchase" of the Parthenon marbles in 1806, to the current scandals in the trading of ancient art which have embroiled NYC's Metropolitan Museum and the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles. Our discussions will include the most recent controversies that have embroiled the museum, gallery and auction-house worlds, pitting national interests against private enterprise. Various museum collections will serve as a laboratory for our study of these questions: the Tang, local museums, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC.
Prerequisite: None. Does not count towards any major.
GO 204 Classical Political Thought (3)
Political thought of Plato and Aristotle. We tend to take the life of science or reason as possible and necessary, but the ancients did not. They saw pitfalls to it that we may be overlooking, especially the very serious challenge posed to science or reason by those who claim to have experienced divine revelation from a god or gods who reward justice and punish injustice—that is, gods who support a moral order or moral "meaning." This course will examine the character of the political thought that Socrates initiated, in his effort to ground the rational or philosophic life over and against this powerful challenge from proponents of divine revelation. We will read the following texts slowly and with care: Plato's Apology of Socrates, Aristophanes' Clouds, Plato's Republic (Books 1–7), and Aristotle's Politics (Books 1–4). Counts towards the Classics and Government majors.
Prerequisite: GO 102 or the (easily obtained) permission of the instructor.
PH 203 History of Greek Philosophy (3)
Ancient Greek thinkers engaged in a continuous dialogue about certain core philosophical questions, such as: What is the origin of philosophy? What is the nature of the cosmos? What is the relation between being and becoming? What is knowledge? What is the nature of human beings? What is happiness and how can human beings achieve it? It will be our task to enter into that conversation and consider its relevance for our own lives. Special attention will be given to Plato's and Aristotle's approaches to these questions.
Prerequisite: None. Fulfills the Humanities requirement.
PH 327 Aristotle (4)
Aristotle's philosophy aspires to be a systematic whole. At the same time his writings are rich in suggestions and open to the multiplicity of the phenomena. Our goal will be both to identify the fundamental and pervasive principles of his thought and to appreciate the complexity of the treatises we will study. We will focus primarily on his theory of human nature and his view of the distinctive place of human beings in the cosmos.
Prerequisite: one course in Philosophy. Counts towards the Classics and Philosophy majors.