Classics 328A Spring 2018
Sex, Gender and Representation in Greek and Roman Literature
Prof. Stephen Hinds
3 credits; MWF 12:30-1:20
(Fulfils VLPA/I&S, DIV)
What kinds of stories did ancient Greeks and Romans tell about human interpersonal experience? This course will explore the worlds of myth, fiction and poetic self-representation through which Greek and Roman writers and readers push the envelope of everyday life and explore larger worlds of identity, desire and the imagination.
Presupposing no prior study of what we know as classical antiquity, the course will offer the opportunity to explore a formative period of Western civilization through consideration of some of its most characteristic texts and ideas, and to measure them in terms of the perspectives and expectations which we as readers bring to them from our increasingly diverse and interconnected 21st century societies.
To be studied, via Homer, Sappho, Plato, Ovid and others: the affirmation and inversion in literature of culturally agreed gender roles; myths of male and female identity and self-fashioning; the marginalization and reclamation of female consciousness; and the ‘rules of engagement’ in ancient love poems and narratives of sexual encounter, in which gender, status, sexual identity and sexual preference are all bound up together ... and often problematized.
Midterm and final exams. No term paper, but the final will include extended essay questions on topics assigned ahead of time.