W 2-4:50, Public Affairs 2325.  Office hours:  T, W 11-12, Dodd 254C. 

Contact:  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Books in boldface are available for purchase at the bookstore (listed below as "Required Texts").  All other readings will be posted on the course website, except for Hooper, which is on reserve in the YRL.  So that we're all on the same page (literally), all students MUST use the assigned versions of Greek/Latin texts in translation.  See course style guide for full and correct bibliographical citations.


Carson, Anne, trans.  If Not, Winter (Vintage)

Nehamas, Alexander, and Paul Woodruff, trans.  Plato:  Symposium (Hackett)

Richlin, Amy, trans.  Rome and the Mysterious Orient:  Three Plays by Plautus (Berkeley)

Ruden, Sarah, trans.  Petronius:  Satyricon (Hackett)


Does sex have a history, and why does it matter?  How is it possible to know about this most elusive of human actions?  This course will work through a chronological survey of issues in ancient sexuality from Sappho to Hrotsvit, with particular attention to homoerotics, the co-implication of the ancient sex/gender system with slavery, the phallic persona, women's erotic subjectivity, the effect of Christianity on the ancient sex/gender system, and the difficult problem of pederasty and pedophilia,  Readings each week will draw on ancient sources in translation alongside modern theorists:  feminist, Foucauldian, historicist, visual, transgender.  Students will complete writing projects involving group and individual presentations on work in progress, with the goal of understanding how history is constructed from texts and images, themselves only ghosts, and how meaning is made at the point of reception. 

            Warning:  some of the course material is X-rated and some of it is disturbing; there is another capstone seminar offered in winter 2012.

From teachers and tutors I learned one lesson in particular over and over again:  look at the evidence in the original, think about it, and then, time allowing, see what other people have thought about it.

                        James Davidson, The Greeks and Greek Love, xiv

Week 1 (9/28):  Introduction:  Does sex have a history, and why would it matter?

            Do we have a sex/gender system now?  Does it differ from the system that existed in antiquity?  How could we find out?  Who cares?

Read for first class meeting:  Thomas Hubbard, "Sexuality, Greek" (in the Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Greece and Rome, 292-94); Catharine MacKinnon, "Does Sexuality Have a History?" (in Stanton, 117-36); Amy Richlin, "Sexuality in the Roman Empire" (in Potter, 327-53); "Sex, Roman" (in the Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Greece and Rome, 294-96)

            Class will end at 3:30 today due to the religious holiday.

Week 2 (10/5):  Sappho and L/lesbian sex

Read:  If Not, Winter (Sappho's poems, trans. Anne Carson); Judith Bennett, "The L-Word in Women's History" (History Matters, 108-27, 189-98); Page duBois, Sappho Is Burning, 1-30

            Interest groups set up; discussion of style guide.

Week 3 (10/12):  Plato and Greek love in classical Athens

Read:  Plato, Symposium (trans. Alexander Nehamas and Paul Woodruff); Michel Foucault, The Use of Pleasure, 187-246; James Davidson, The Greeks and Greek Love, 68-71, 135-39, 466-92, 500-02; Page duBois, Sappho Is Burning, 127-45; online debate involving Davidson, Eric Brook, Thomas Hubbard, and Beert Verstraete (start from

            Group reports.

Week 4 (10/19):  Plautus and slave sex onstage

Read:  Plautus, Persa (trans. Amy Richlin); Madeleine Henry, "The Traffic in Women" (in Greek Prostitutes in the Ancient Mediterranean, 14-33; Rome and the Mysterious Orient, 1-53

            Group reports.

Week 5 (10/26):  The Carmina Priapea and the work jokes do

Read:  Richard Hooper (trans.), The Priapus Poems [on reserve]; Amy Richlin, The Garden of Priapus, 57-80; Gershon Legman, No Laughing Matter, 7-53

            Group reports.

Week 6 (11/2):  Petronius and the world in the erotic novel

Read:  Petronius, Satyricon (trans. Sarah Ruden); David Fredrick, "Mapping Penetrability in Late Republican and Early Imperial Rome" (in The Roman Gaze, 236-64)  

            Individual reports.

Week 7 (11/9):  Plutarch and others on love and marriage

Read:  Plutarch, Advice to the Bride and Groom; sel. poems by Sulpicia the elegist, Sulpicia the satirist, and Martial; Giulia Sissa, Sex and Sensuality in the Ancient World, 15-49; Susan Treggiari, Roman Marriage,  205-28, 253, 311-16

            Individual reports.

Week 8 (11/16):  The Augustan History and the exotic transsexual

Read:  Historia Augusta, Life of Heliogabalus; Marjorie Garber, "The Chic of Araby" (in Vested Interests, 304-52); Susan Stryker, "My Words to Victor Frankenstein above the Village of Chamounix:  Performing Transgender Rage" (in Stryker and Whittle, 244-56)

            Individual reports.

Week 9 (11/23):  Jerome's captive slave-wife, or, how pederasty got lost

Read:  Paul (Romans 1), Philo (Abraham 135-41; Special Laws 3.26-42, 51-63; 4.84-94), Jerome (Epistulae 70.2), and John Cassian (Conl. 13.5.3-4); Stephen Moore, God's Beauty Parlor, 133-72, 253-68; John W. Martens, "'Do Not Sexually Abuse Children':  The Language of Early Christian Sexual Ethics" (in Horn and Phenix, 227-54)

Week 10 (11/30):  Hrotsvit and the specularized martyrs

Read:  Hrotsvit, Sapientia; Gillian Clark, "Bodies and Blood" (in Montserrat, 99-115); Sue-Ellen Case, "Re-Viewing Hrotsvit," Theatre Journal 35 (1983): 533-42. []

Term paper due.


1.  All students are expected to show collegiality:  listen seriously, comment constructively, share time considerately.  These are key components of your discussion grade.

2.  All students are encouraged to bring questions to the instructor:  office Dodd 254C, e-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .  The best ways to reach me are by e-mail or by leaving a note in my mailbox in the department office.  Office hours this fall will be T, W 11-12, or by appointment -- please feel free to see me after class to set one up.

3.  Grades will be determined as follows:

            Discussion                                          20%

            Group report                                      10%

            Individual report                                 20%

               (including abstract)

            Paper                                                   50%

- Discussion:  Discussion will be graded.  Students are expected to do the reading, following the study guide,  and to show they have done so by vigorous participation in discussion, always bearing in mind #1 above.  Please always come to class with a set of (at least) three questions or key points in the reading, so you will be ready to contribute.  Students will be given feedback after the first discussion, and again around midterm.  Good contributions to discussion will be based specifically in the reading.  Your discussion grade will be affected by absence from class (see #9 below).

- Group report:  Students will be matched with one or two other students with similar research interests; groups will report on how the current reading relates to their area of interest.  This is a warm-up exercise for the individual reports; feedback will be aimed at helping students improve.

            Students will choose (week 2) from the following general areas as a focus for the course and a basis for the term paper:  women desiring men; women desiring women; Greek pederasty; Roman pederasty; kinaidoi; cinaedi; men desiring women (other than wives); prostitution; sex and the law; rape; sex in early Christianity; sex in rabbinic Judaism; slave sex; hate speech and invective; sex and Orientalism.

- Individual reports on papers in progress will be delivered by week 8.  Students will present an abstract to the instructor at this time, and present a problem to the class for discussion.  Abstracts will be graded for style and content, to give students a sense of the level expected for the paper.

- Papers:  Students will hand in a 15- to 20-page term paper at the last class meeting.  See style guide for full description.  A revised abstract must accompany the paper.

4.  Students representing UCLA in extra-curricular activities must submit their schedules to the instructor in the first week of class and work out a plan for the timely submission of all work.  You will, in general, be expected to hand in assigned work early rather than late.  I do not expect to arrange makeup exercises or paper extensions for students due to extra-curricular activities; I will be happy to discuss this with your adviser or coach.  Students who must miss many classes due to away games will not be able to pass the course.

5.  Students registered with OSD must let me know early in the quarter, so that the required arrangements may be made in a timely manner.

6.  Papers are due in class on November 30, and ARE NOT TO BE HANDED IN OUTSIDE CLASS.  If you are really stuck you can submit your paper to me by email, which will give me a secure time of delivery, but you MUST then give me a hard copy -- the responsibility for printing out your work and putting it in my hand is yours, not mine.  Please make sure the hard copy you give me is identical with what you have emailed in to make the deadline.  Papers will be docked 1/3 grade (i.e., from B+ to B, and so on) for every day they are late.  No papers will be accepted after December 2, and this is 50% of your grade.

            You can hand me in a draft of a paper for comment and markup, but I really need at least ten days to do this; please do not give me a paper draft on Monday that you will need back on Tuesday to hand in on Wednesday.  I cannot accept drafts by email.

Papers will be given a split grade for content and style.  Please use the style guide provided on the course website; please note that following the directions in the style guide will really help your style grade.   ALL PAPERS MUST CARRY THE COVER SHEET FROM THE STYLE GUIDE, SIGNED BY YOU, TO RECEIVE CREDIT.

7.  Books:  I expect you to acquire the specific resources required and to print the electronic resources for class.  People working from different translations create confusion for themselves and others. 

8.  Electronic devices:  Please make sure your phone is turned off during class.  Electronic devices (laptops, tablets) are to be used only in connection with work ongoing in the classroom.  Other use constitutes poor use of discussion time, and will affect your discussion grade.

9.  Absences:  Students may miss one class meeting without its affecting their course grade.  Each absence after the first missed class will cause the discussion component of the student's grade to drop by 10%.

10.  Everything on this syllabus is subject to change.  All changes will be confirmed by the instructor in writing.