WGSS 241
Sex and Gender in Ancient Greece and Rome Spring 2015
Division II Writing Skills Exploring Diversity Initiative
Cross-listed CLAS 241 / WGSS 241 / COMP 241
This is not the current course catalog

Class Details

In the ancient Mediterranean world, sexuality and gender shaped a broad range of attitudes and actions. These categories created and reinforced difference in virtually every aspect of life, from the household to the political arena. This course examines the diverse discourses and practices around sexuality and gender in the cultures of ancient Greece and Rome, while also dismantling false assumptions about the continuity of the “classical” past with our own contemporary norms and values. We will carefully analyze, contextualize, and compare a variety of texts, including selections from tragedy and comedy (Euripides, Terence), epic (Homer, Ovid) and lyric poetry (Sappho, Catullus), novels, epitaphs, and early saints’ lives, in order to gain a deeper and more complex understanding of how gender and sexuality were expressed, experienced, and regulated in Greece and Rome. Our emphasis will be on ancient texts, but selections from contemporary criticism and theory will enrich the methodological framework through which we approach those primary sources. The course fulfills the EDI requirement by providing sufficient context for students to make independent investigations of how literary and religious texts and practices engaged with political and social institutions to maintain different life courses and different systems of reckoning for the value of men’s lives, women’s lives, and the lives of individuals who didn’t fit easily into either category. Additionally, the course will promote students’ capacity to critically evaluate two past cultures that have long been important sources for intellectual and cultural traditions in the West, and which are still invoked today, sometimes misleadingly, to explain or justify positions and practices of privilege or oppression.
The Class: Format: tutorial
Limit: 10
Expected: 10
Class#: 3356
Grading: OPG
Requirements/Evaluation: five to six weekly tutorial papers, five to six responses, a midterm self-evaluation and conference with instructor, a mid-length final paper (approximately eight pages) consisting of a revision and expansion of a previously written paper
Extra Info: may not be taken on a pass/fail basis
Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preferences: majors or intended majors in Classics, WGSS, and Comparative Literature
Unit Notes: meets Division 1 requirement if registration is under CLAS or COMP; meets Division 2 requirement if registration is under WGSS
Distributions: Division II Writing Skills Exploring Diversity Initiative
Notes: This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
CLAS 241 Division I WGSS 241 Division II COMP 241 Division I

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