Courses for Summer 2021

  • Legitimacy, Fairness, and Rhetoric in Political Trials in Athens, Rome, and Britain

    A new fully online course for freshmen. We examine political trials in Athens (treasonous generals; Socrates) and Rome (Verres, governor of Sicily; Gnaeus Calpurnius Piso, governor of Syria, alleged murderer of Germanicus), 18th century Britain (the impeachment of Warren Hastings); we also read Dershowitz’ speech from President Trump’s impeachment trial. We are concerned with constitutional authority, judicial fairness, morality, and rhetoric as we read contemporary records of trials and speeches. Questions to be examined: 1. Regarding source materials (which vary according to period): What particular Tendenz (‘bias’ or ‘spin’) do they display? 2. Regarding constitutional authority and fairness: How do the trials come about and how is the trial process related to the constitutional regime? What rules are at play? Are both (trial and regime) legitimate? What relation do the prosecutorial team and defendants have to the regime?
    CLAS 0640 S01
    Classes meet in person via Zoom at the advertised times. Students are expected to attend these online sessions.
    Primary Instructor
    Scafuro
  • War and Society: A Legacy of Ancient Greece?

    21st century society can no longer study the worlds of ancient Greece and Rome acritically. Today’s culture can be very accepting about the “culture of war” that was such a dominant aspect of the apogee of ancient Greek ‘civilization’: the 300 Spartans, the Athenian Empire, and the conquest of Persia, are all moments to which some turn in admiration. The exploitation of the martial culture today is a two-edged sword at least. This course explores the legacy of war, and violence, and its impact on our view of “civilization.” We will look at the key topics including Homer and warfare, Sparta, Persia, Athens’ Empire, Philip II and Alexander, violence in the Greek city, martial culture, exploitation, memory, and of course the 21st century legacy.
    CLAS 0650 S01
    Classes meet in person via Zoom at the advertised times. Students are expected to attend these online sessions.
    Primary Instructor
    Oliver
  • Greek Mythology

    “What of these things goes now without disaster?” -Aeschylus, Agamemnon
    This course is an introduction to Ancient Greek mythological traditions. Topics include: the Olympian gods; ‘culture heroes’ (e.g. Heracles), Homer and the Trojan Cycle of myths; mythical traditions about the families of Oedipus and Agamemnon; etc. We will conclude with an investigation of ancient mythical scholarship and skeptical views of myth in antiquity. Throughout we will be considering myth’s relationship with literature, visual culture, and religion. The class focuses on the ancient material (texts, images, monuments, rituals and traditions, etc.), with some secondary readings in mythological and cultural theory.
    CLAS 0900 S01
    Primary Instructor
    Hanink
  • Karma and Free Will: The Self in Indian Philosophy

    Examination of the great Indian epic Mahabharata and related mythology to introduce the context for the most ancient speculations of the Rgveda and the subtle teacher-student dialogues about the self contained in the Bhagavadgita and Upanishads. We will also examine the more systematic Indian philosophical texts and note their resonance in ancient and modern European conceptions of self.
    CLAS 0990 S01
    This course will be hybrid with a combination of in-person and remote instruction, and will meet synchronously whether students are in-person or remote. If in-person enrollment exceeds 19, students will be asked to attend class meetings on a rotating basis, attending only either the Tuesday or Thursday sessions in person.
    Primary Instructor
    Buchta
  • The American Presidents and the Western Tradition

    We are accustomed to engaging the American presidency as a public office best approached through the prism of government or political science, but this course studies the ways in which the presidents in thought and action are part of a larger continuum of humanistic expression in the western tradition. It is organized around five categories: memory, language, consolation, farewell, and self-reflection. Our work involves reading and viewing/listening to various materials, including videos and original documents. The words we study, both by and about presidents, will be compared to various masterworks of Greco-Roman antiquity and the western Middle Ages.
    CLAS 1120U S01
    Primary Instructor
    Pucci
  • Philosophy of Socrates

    In this class we will read and discuss various ancient portraits of Socrates (in Aristophanes' Clouds, Plato's Apology and Symposium, and Xenophon's Apology) and several Platonic dialogues representing Socrates in action discussing moral questions, including the Crito, Laches, Charmides, Lesser Hippias, Protagoras, and Gorgias. We will focus on questions about the historical Socrates (as distinct from the portraits), his avowals of ignorance, irony, methods of argument, and interest in definition, as well as the moral questions explored in the dialogues. All readings will be in English translation.
    CLAS 1750D S01
    Primary Instructor
    Gill