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Graduate Courses Fall 2014


CLASS-GA 1003, Latin Survey, M&W 2:00-3:15, Stefano Rebeggiani (at NYU)
This course examines Latin literature from its earliest developments to the Augustan period. It is mainly an intensive course in reading Latin poetry and prose: we will study attentively a variety of texts, giving particular attention to those abilities which are crucial for the student who will one day find herself alone  in an exam room in the company of a piece of Latin literature she needs to make sense of. This involves enhancing students’ understanding of the historical evolution of the Latin language, improving vocabulary and translation skills, increasing sensitivity to differences of style, familiarizing students with genres and their transformation, providing the basic scholarly tools to tackle exegetical as well as linguistic problems. We shall also be concerned with more general questions pertaining to the historical evolution of Latin literature, such as why the Romans developed a literature in Latin (when they should not really have done so), the relevance of social and political contexts, the never-ending question (for ancient and moderns) of how to negotiate the Greek element in Latin literature. Finally, a strategic selection of secondary literature will provide material for discussing relevant scholarly trends and major interpretative questions pertaining to the authors at study.

CLASS-GA 3000, section 2, Proseminar in Classical Studies, W 6:30-8:30, 
John Van Sickle
 
(at CUNY Graduate Center, Room 3207

)
This proseminar introduces students to selected approaches to the Greco-Roman world. Among potential topics will be: 
The history of the Greek and Latin languages•classical bibliography•textual criticism in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries•research tools including computer resources and applications•Special fields in Classics: e.g., literary and documentary papyrology, paleography, text editing and criticism, metrics, numismatics, epigraphy, comparative grammar•Scholarship and education in antiquity: e.g., libraries, scholia, lexica, anthologies, commentaries•"Tool of the trade:" bibliographies, encyclopedias and major collections, important editions of ancient authors, computers, the writing of a dissertation or scholarly article•Connecting with other scholars: attending and participating in professional meetings.

CLASS-GA 1011, Greek Rhetoric and Stylistics, TH 4:15-6:15, Andrew Foster (at Fordham, LC Lowenstein, Room 404)
This course will develop students' command of the structure and style of Classical Greek prose through select readings of ancient literary criticism, formal stylistic analyses of select Classical authors and a series of composition exercises of increasing complexity. By becoming familiar with ancient critical norms, applying them to exemplary authors and texts while composing Greek in a variety of styles, students will develop a greater appreciation of Greek prose style and stylistics. The course is designed to develop students command of Greek prose, sharpen their critical judgment and their ability to express those judgments. The instructor will assess student learning by a systematic review and critique of students' stylistic analyses and written compositions and the oral presentations associated with the submission of their written work.

CLASS-GA 2272, Suetonius, TH 6:30-8:30, Robert Penella (at Fordham, LC Lowenstein, Room 404)
Select Latin readings in Suetonius's Lives of the Caesars (as well as in his biographies of Roman grammarians and rhetors). What is not read in Latin will be read in English. The course will focus on the structure and the preoccupations of the Suetonian imperial biography and on the "typology" of first-century emperors. Students will hopefully leave the course with an appreciation of the Lives both as historical source and as literature. There will be outside readings in the scholarship and short class reports as well as a course paper.

CLASS-GA 2868, Euripides, T 6:30-8:30, David Konstan (at NYU)
In this course we will read, in Greek, two tragedies by Euripides: Orestes and Iphigenia in Aulis. Both these plays have unusual endings, and have elicited varied responses among critics. Attention will be paid to Euripides' style and plotting, and also to the social and psychological values implicit in the tragedies. Selected plays of Euripides will be read in translation. There will be a final paper of approximately 5,000 words.

CLASS-GA 2839, Roman Law, W 4:15-6:15, Michael Peachin (at NYU)
Roman law is a subject of vast reach, and simply cannot be grasped in any comprehensive way over the course of one semester. Therefore, this class will concentrate on some select areas of this subject. We will consider, for example, how law is created, how knowledge of the positive law is disseminated, how this substantive law is then put into action and therefore affects the lives of real people. We will look also at how Roman law has come down to us. We may consider legal literature in the Roman world, and its place in creating positive law. We will also take up, though only briefly, the various constituent branches of Roman law: constitutional law; civil law; criminal law. We may raise the issue of the Roman state's attempt to create something like the rule of law throughout the Roman world. In short, we will attempt to gain a very basic sense of where law came from, what it was intended to do, how it was implemented, how it affected people's lives, and then, though only to a very small degree, what some of this law actually looked like.

CLASS-GA 2936, Aristotle's Ethics and Politics, M 4:15-6:15, Peter Simpson (at CUNY Graduate Center, Room 4422)
The Aristotelian corpus contains four writings on ethics: the well-known Nicomachean Ethics (which continues into the Politics), the lesser known Eudemian Ethics (whose authenticity is no longer seriously contested), the even lesser known Magna Moralia (whose authenticity is contested by many in general but not as much by those who have studied the work in any detail), and the short On Virtues and Vices (almost universally rejected as spurious but, oddly, with little good reason). All these works contain the same teaching more or less about virture and happiness and the like, but with significant differences of focus, and sometimes of content, that need explaining. Difference of authorship or time of composition are the favored explanations. A better but less common explanation is difference of audience. This course will start with selections from the ethical works with the aim, first of mastering Aristotelian Greek, second of determining the reasons for differences between the several works, and third, and mainly, of mastering Aristotelian moral and political thought. The course will therefore end with selections from the Politics, particularly in relation to remarks in the ethical works about political life and its contrast with philosophy and the philosophical life (where Sparta and its history -- on whose virtues Aristotle and Plato seem to have interestingly disagreed -- will play an illustrative role).

CLASS-GA 2882, Vergilian Geopoetics, W 6:30-8:30, Alessandro Barchiesi (at NYU)
The class combines close reading of selected passages in Vergil's Aeneid (in Latin) with discussion of critical issues about the role of space, place, landscape and environment in literature. We will focus on themes such as empire, discovery, memory, boundary and identity, and try to associate and compare Virgil's epic imagination with Roman ideas and material practices about space, territory and landscape.

CLASS-GA 1001, Commentaries and the Classical Tradition, M 6:30-8:30, Liv Yarrow (at CUNY Graduate Center, Room 3305)
This course will make use of theoretical, reflective scholarship on commentaries such as, R.K. Gibson and C.S. Kraus, eds., The Classical Commentary. History, Practices, Theory (Bill, 2002) and G.W. Most, ed., Commentaries - Kommentare. (Gottingen, 1999). But also offer students the opportunity to read a range of ancient commentaries on familiar texts (e.g. Asconius on Cicero, Servius on Vergil), as well as consider the literary character of authors more often culled for fragments (e.g. Tzetzes). We will explore contemporary, practical approaches to the use and creation of commentaries, especially the advent of digital editions (Brill's New Jacoby vs. The Leipzig Open Fragmentary Texts Series) and the growing trend towards collaborative, multi-author projects (Cornell's New Peter). This portion of the course will draw upon the expertise and experiences of guest speakers. Course participants will produce as their final project a commentary on a portion of a text of their own choosing, with a short introductory essay contextualizing their methodological choices. Collaborative projects will be encouraged, but not required.

CLASS-GA 3000, section 1, Greek Drama in Performance, T 4:15-6:15, Peter Meineck (at NYU)
This new course will examine in detail the available evidence for ancient Greek performances from the play's themselves, the archaeological remains of the theaters, vase painting, sculpture, inscriptions and references to drama found in ancient literature. This is intended to equip the student with the research tools necessary to place ancient Greek drama in a performative context. Selected works and fragments of Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, Aristophanes and his comic rivals will be examined. Themes to be explored may include; chorality and choral mediation; the role and reception of the theatrical mask; ritual, religion and drama; the development of the actor and Greek theatre; theoria and visuality; the cognitive life of stage properties; theatre production as political social and financial currency and issues of spectatorship. This course will also coordinate with readings in David Konstan's Euripides section.


CLASS-GA 3004, Seminar: Belief & Practice in Greek Religion, TH 2:00-4:45, Barbara Kowalzig (at NYU)
The religions of ancient Greece and Rome are often regarded as highly pragmatic: they are thought to focus on ‘practice’, that is to say on ritual activity, ceremony and performance. Religious practice and social life, it is held, are so intertwined that the question of ‘belief’ did not really matter to them. As a result, historians of these ancient religions have neglected the emotional and intellectual dimensions of ancient belief-systems. Our course challenges the artificial separation of belief from practice by examining both ancient evidence and modern theory. We will take a close look at the evidence of ancient ritual in the light of contemporary ritual theory; we will also study self-reflexive attitudes and philosophical approaches to religious practice and the divine, and follow the academic debate on belief versus practice from its beginnings to the exciting recent approaches informed by the cognitive sciences. We will discuss a wide variety of ancient evidence, ranging from literary texts such as ancient hymns, tragedy and historiography, to inscriptions and the archaeology of ancient shrines and religious imagery. Accompanied by readings from social and cultural anthropology, religious sociology, philosophy and performance studies, all ancient texts will be read in translation.


At the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World (15 E. 84th St.)
N.B. Instructor permission required for all courses.

ISAW-GA 3007, Late Antique Documents, M 9:00am – 12:00pm, Roger Bagnall
The seminar will examine a series of papyrus archives from late antique Egypt and Palestine, mostly in Greek but with some documents partly or entirely in Latin, Coptic, and Arabic. The archives will range from villages to cities, private to public, and secular to monastic. Readings will be mostly of primary documents but also some modern discussions of the archives. The central focuses will be on the formation of what we call archives, their potential for historical study, and their limitations. A reading knowledge of Greek and either French or German is required.


ISAW-GA 3013, Greek and Roman Portraiture, M 2:00pm – 5:00pm, Hallie Franks
This course will engage with critical issues that surround the study of ancient portraiture traditions in the Greek and Roman worlds. Some of the questions we will address over the course of the semester include: How do modern assumptions about the function and genre of portraiture, and its relationship to the subject, impact approaches to ancient material? How do we develop a vocabulary for the different potential relationships between subject and visual product? How do we think about intent, and what kinds of material provide context for interpretation? How do portraits serve in public or private roles in different ways? How can we use traditions of portraiture to think about ancient concepts of and expressions of various identities? This course deals primarily with classical material, but it also involves critical engagement with and analysis of the visual and the processes of contextualization.


ISAW-GA 3020-002, The Body in the Ancient World, W 9:00am – 12:00pm, Claire Bubb
This seminar will consider ancient understanding of and attitudes towards the human body. Our primary goal will be to trace the shifting conceptions of human physiology from Egyptian medical papyri to the Arabic tradition, with a heavy focus on the Greeks and Romans. How did cultures with strong taboos around the body form theories about the organs hidden within it? How did the ancients grapple with the brain, the nervous system, and the interrelationship of the soul and the body? How did the concept of the humors develop and what were the rival theories? How close did the Greeks come to understanding blood and the circulatory system and why did they miss its circular nature? Why did Galen’s physiology come to dominate Western thought for centuries after his death, and how did the Arabic authors responsible for much of its transmission receive and respond to his theories? In order to understand the cultural context behind the development and evolution of these theories, we will also briefly consider religious, literary, and artistic treatment of the body, including burial customs, the centrality of the body to early Christianity, and the fascination with the body revealed across literary genres, particularly rhetoric and the novels.


At the Institute of Fine Arts (1 E. 78th St.)
N.B. Instructor permission required for all courses.

City of Rome: Republic to Empire (Seminar), TH 3:00PM – 5:00PM, Katherine Welch
At the height of its power, the Roman Empire spanned the entire geographical area from Scotland to Syria, from the Black Sea to Spain and Morocco. Beginning as a small-town backwater and grimly efficient “war machine,” the city of Rome grew – under various eastern and western cultural influences -- into a beautifully refined, culturally sophisticated metropolis. The city was not unlike New York City today in that it was a mosaic of ethnic presences. Remarkably, the city of Rome maintained its hegemony over its subject territories (the “Empire”) for a nearly one thousand years. How and why was this feat actually achieved? These are the questions our course will address.

We focus on the capital city of Rome itself in terms of visual culture, its topography, architecture, marble and bronze sculpture and wall painting, utilizing the full range of evidence available to us. The peculiarly attractive but also often fraught, relationship between the “mother city (Rome) and its “subject” peoples (East and West) will be address at length. The ancient Roman sources tell us that Rome was constantly “improving” upon its authoritative artistic culture models (especially Greek art and architecture). We shall evaluate this ancient Roman point of view. For example, is “bigger,” really “better”?

The course requires each student to conduct one oral presentation of approximately one hour’s duration. After which, all other students in the class will provide helpful and constructive
comments, questions, and criticism. Out of this exercise, will come – in consultation with Prof. Welch in Office Hours, a final paper for each student of about 20-25 pages, depending in length upon the subject chosen by the student. Students must have the permission of the instructor before registering for this course.



Please note that the first day of classes at CUNY is August 28; at NYU September 2; and at Fordham September 3.

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