Presence in Place: The Greek Dramatic Imagination Winter 2023

Class Details

Classical Greek tragedy was a genre physically bounded by the space of the theater of Dionysus in Athens, yet famously capacious in its representation of other cities, shrines, and peoples. To experience a play like Ion or the Eumenides, in the theatrical audience or as a reader, is to be imaginatively transported to another place. Whether the play takes its audience to the Areopagus in Athens, the sacred shrines at Delphi, or even further away to Thebes or Corinth or the plain outside the fallen walls of Troy, it enables them (and us) to inhabit in our imagination spaces already laden with literary, religious, political and also personal, experiential significance. Greek tragedy invites us to consider the benefits and costs of travel undertaken as pilgrimage, tourism, and adventure, but also as the consequence of war, profiteering, or natural disaster. In turn, this course asks students to consider how “taking in the sights” of ancient and modern Greece can expand our understanding of Greek literature, art, and culture. The transformative potential of travel for good and ill, whether undertaken willingly or by force, is a central consideration. The course will include foundational reading in Greek tragedy and the scholarly literature that surrounds it, focusing on how the fifth-century Athenian stage functioned as a site for negotiating the role of place in constituting collective and individual identity. The tragic corpus will give us a common set of primary sources to consider as we prepare to explore relevant sites. The core work of the course will in occur in Greece, as we visit sites such as the Athenian Acropolis, the theater and sanctuary at Epidaurus, and the Temple of Aphaia on the island of Aegina, and reflect upon their history, representation, and significance. Each student will be responsible for offering a polished “site report,” researched on-campus and delivered in Greece.
The Class: Format: travel
Limit: 12
Expected: NA
Class#: 1030
Grading: pass/fail only
Requirements/Evaluation: Final project or presentation.
Prerequisites: Statement of interest outlining any relevant background or experience (coursework, fieldwork, language study), brief interviews with instructors.
Enrollment Preferences: Enrollment preference will be given to Classics majors and intending Classics majors, and to those with demonstrated interest in the ancient world who have not previously travelled abroad.
Materials/Lab Fee: $40 in required books/supplies
Attributes: EXPE Experiential Education Courses
TRVL Winter Study Travel Course

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