Course Descriptions

Classical Studies Courses

CLAS 201: Ancient Greece: Life, Thought, Arts

In this course, students gain an understanding of the ancient Greek world, in which so many modern Western humanistic values and ideas found their earliest expression. In particular, we study the story as it is presented by the ancient Greeks themselves鈥攊n their literature, written history, philosophy, art, and artifacts. As a prerequisite course for the 91社区 Program in Greece (during which students study actual artifacts of the ancient world on site in Greece), this course is interdisciplinary by design, both in what is studied and how it is studied. We, for instance, identify and discuss the importance of various areas on the city plans of ancient Greek polei, learn about the role of women in ancient Sparta vs. their role in ancient Athens, engage in deep literary analysis of Homer's epic poems, and learn the techniques, shapes, and uses appropriate to different Greek vases from the Bronze Age to the Classical period. Prerequisite: Sophomore standing (This course satisfies Humanities.)

CLAS 202: Greek Civ: Bronze Age to Byzantium

The classroom for this course is Greece itself. Students will travel to a variety of archeological sites, museums, and other important and beautiful places across Greece, including several Greek Islands, studying the history, art, and society of Greece from the Bronze Age (roughly 3000-1200 BCE), through the Classical Age (480-300 BCE) to the rise and fall of the Byzantine Empire (330-1453 CE). Study sites may include the palace of Knossos on Crete (by legend, the home of the Minotaur), Agamemnon's palace at Mycenae, the Athenian Acropolis and Agora, or the Hagios Demetrios, where the the Patron Saint of Thessaloniki was martyred. Prerequisite: CLAS 201 or consent of the instructor. (This course satisfies Humanities and Global Perspective.)

CLAS 210: Greek History

This course uses ancient evidence to explore the issues that emerged in the course of early Greek history: the nature of interactions between Greeks and other ancient cultures and societies of the Mediterranean, Near East, and North Africa; political developments in Greek city-states (especially Athens and Sparta); religious movements, beliefs, and practices; advances in philosophical thought and rational inquiry; the tensions between local identities and a common Greek identity; gender and sexuality; freedom and slavery in Greek politics and society; the diffusion of Hellenistic culture throughout the Mediterranean world; and the expansion of Alexander the Great's empire. The course scrutinizes and reassesses modern interpretations of the ancient Greek past and its legacy. It better equips students to evaluate claims about ancient history and what the ancient Greeks might mean for us now. Students work extensively with primary documents in translation. No prerequisites. (This course satisfies Global Perspective and Writing Intensive.)
cross listed: HIST 210

CLAS 211: Roman History

This course examines the history of Italy and the Mediterranean world during the thousand-plus years of Roman rule. We begin with Rome's establishment as a small city-state, as recorded in both legend and archaeological evidence. We chart Rome's political development and imperial expansion under the republic, study the career of Augustus and the revolution by which he transformed Rome into an empire, and conclude with that empire's fragmentation into the Byzantine, Latin Christian, and Islamic worlds. The topics studied will include: key political institutions and leaders; war, imperialism, and their consequences, including slavery and social unrest; the work of authors such as Cicero, Vergil, Seneca, and Marcus Aurelius; the varied Roman religious scene and the rise of Christianity and Islam; Roman social history, including class, marriage, and slavery. Students will work extensively with primary documents in translation. (This course satisfies Humanities and Global Perspective.)
cross listed: HIST 204

CLAS 228: Food Studies/Foodways of Greece

CLAS 228: Introduction to Food Studies and Foodways of Greece. Everybody eats, and every culture has developed cultural patterns and social norms around the production, preparation, and consumption of food and drink (foodways). This course offers an introduction to Food Studies, the cultural analysis of food and foodways. Students consider the models and methods of studying food, including the major anthropological, folkloristic, and sociological approaches. Since this course is taught in Athens as part of the 91社区 in Greece program, it takes Greek food and foodways as the major case study. During the course, students focus on the relationship of food to their areas of interest, such as agritourism, environmental concerns, politics, or religion. Prerequisites: No prerequisites. Corequisites: This course in taught in Athens. Participation in the 91社区 in Greece Program is required. (This course satisfies Experiential Learning and Global Perspective.)

CLAS 250: Classical Rhetorical Tradition

This course is an historical survey of theorizing about the role of public discourse in human affairs from ancient Greece and Rome. We consider how the functions and nature of public discourse is understood, whether its skillful use can be taught, and the relationship between public argument and reaching social consensus about issues of truth and ethics. We will apply these ancient concepts to contemporary ideas in order to explore how concepts from different periods in time can aid us in evaluating contemporary persuasive messages in public life. (This course satisfies Humanities.)
cross listed: COMM 250

CLAS 262: History of Social Thought

This course will examine some of the classical sources of social thought both in the East and the West. Texts by Plato, Aristotle, St. Augustine, Aquinas, Alfarabi, Confucius, authors of the Vedas, Machiavelli, Hobbes, and Rousseau will be examined for the seeds of questions that were later to grow into the thicket of sociological problematics. Extensive weekly readings of original sources will be the basis of class discussions. No prerequisites. (This course satisfies Social Science.)
cross listed: SOAN 262, PHIL 262

CLAS 275: Greek Greats

Students will read canonical works at the core of classical Greek civilization and situate the imaginative appropriation of this rich literature in a cultural context that is both historical and contemporary. Students read Homer's epic Iliad (selections) and Odyssey (in its entirety), three plays each by the tragedians Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides, two works of the satirical Aristophanes, and examples of lyric poetry ranging from Archaic to Hellenistic times. Immersion in primary sources provides ample historical perspectives as well as critical approaches to issues of our time. The course involves lectures but is principally a seminar. Ancient Greek drama and theater will be investigated utilizing film and interactive Web-based media and sources. Prerequisites: sophomore standing and a 91社区 literature course, or permission of the instructor.

CLAS 280: Cultivating Ancient Worlds

This course is a multi- and interdisciplinary undertaking, highlighting our two primary means of engaging the cultures of antiquity: the primary texts of literature and collections of artifacts in museums. Civilizations treated: Mesopotamia (Sumerian, Akkadian, Assyrian, Babylonian), Egypt, Persia, Greece, and China. Texts include everything from formulaic phrases, ritual incantation, epigraphy, and diplomatic reports to lyric poetry, philosophic dialogues, and vast epic narrative. We will read and discuss texts, and visit major collections in Chicago. Prerequisite: sophomore standing.

CLAS 290: Ancient Greek聽Philosophy

The 20th century聽philosopher, Alfred North Whitehead, once commented that all of Western聽philosophy has been merely a series of footnotes to Plato. What did he mean by this? As I see it, he meant that there are no questions or concerns in Western聽philosophy that were not at least anticipated in the Platonic dialogues. But Plato had formative influences in Socrates and the pre-Socratic聽philosophers. And his most famous pupil, Aristotle, criticized his views almost immediately. We explore in some depth the origins of Western聽philosophy in the ancient Greeks, particularly Plato and Aristotle. (This course satisfies Humanities and Writing Intensive.)
cross listed: PHIL 290

CLAS 302: Greek and Roman Religion