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CLAS 328 A: Sex, Gender, And Representation In Greek And Roman Literature

Greek vase detail
Meeting Time: 
MWF 11:30am - 12:20pm
SMI 407
Joint Sections: 
CLAS 328 B
Stephen Hinds 2021 portrait photo
Stephen E. Hinds

Syllabus Description:

Classics 328 A and B    Winter 2022

Sex, Gender and Representation in Greek and Roman Literature

Prof. Stephen Hinds, Dept. of Classics 

3 credits; MWF 11:30-12:20; Smith 407

328A: SLN 12534      328B:  SLN 12535

Counts for the following GE requirements:  VLPA/I&S, DIV

Method of instruction:  in-person


Update 12-31-21:   In line with the university-wide decision to switch most courses temporarily to remote instruction for the first week of classes in Winter Quarter, our first class meetings at 11:30 am on Monday January 3 and Wednesday January 5 will be on Zoom:  please use this Zoom link to join these opening sessions:

I am sending the full version of this Zoom link (with its technical data) to the class email list too.

There will be no class meeting on Friday January 7:  I have an academic commitment at the annual convention of the Society of Classical Studies (taking place online, but in real time). 

Unless new information changes this, the class will meet in person from week 2 onwards, starting Monday January 10, in line with the current university plan to return most things to normal on that date. 


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 civilization in the Mediterranean and beyond 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, Euripides, 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.

Note that Clas 328A and B are two enrollment categories within the same class: no difference otherwise.


Required Reading Texts (all to be available in Univ. Bookstore)

(1) R. Fitzgerald, tr., Homer:  The Odyssey

(2) P. Turner, tr., Longus:  Daphnis and Chloe

(3) P. Bing & R. Cohen, tr., Games of Venus

(4) A.D. Melville, tr., and E.J. Kenney, intr., Ovid:  Metamorphoses 


Catalog Description: 
Affirmation and inversion of gender roles in Greek and Roman literature, myths of male and female heroism; marginalization of female consciousness; interaction of gender, status, and sexual preference in love poetry. Readings from epic, drama, historiography, romance, and lyric.
GE Requirements: 
Diversity (DIV)
Social Sciences (SSc)
Arts and Humanities (A&H)
Last updated: 
October 15, 2021 - 10:34am