CLAS 233
Animals in Ancient Literature Spring 2025
Division I

Class Details

Humans are animals, but we tend to view animals as the ultimate other. They delight and terrify us, providing infinite vehicles for the imagination: ways of being other than human and other than civilized, ways of confronting that which seems inhuman in ourselves. In this class, we will read a selection of ancient texts that approach animals in different ways: as inverted humans, as predators, as prey, as agents of the gods, as laborers, as friends, and as a revelation of the ugly truth about our own “human” nature. Primary source readings will be paired with modern scholarly works from classics, comparative literature, and animal studies. We will think about why ancient authors used images of animals in such diverse ways and about our own relationships with animals in modern life, enriching our study with field trips. This is a seminar and will be conducted through discussion and writing workshops, with little to no lecture.
The Class: Format: seminar
Limit: 25
Expected: 15
Class#: 3846
Grading: no pass/fail option, yes fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: weekly reading responses; several short writing assignments; a final paper of 10-15 pages in two drafts; active participation in seminar discussion
Prerequisites: None
Enrollment Preferences: Classics majors, then COMP and ENVI majors; senior majors have priority, followed by juniors, sophomores, and first-year students
Distributions: Division I

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