Courses

Winter 2023

CLASSIC 287 – Graduate Colloquium in Classical Literature

Instructor(s): Francesca Martelli

The graduate student proseminar teaches students enrolled in the Classics PhD program about some of the essential skills, methodologies and discourses required of a professional Classicist. The class is taught in 4 or 5 sessions over the course of the quarter in which it runs, and should be taken twice in the first two years of our PhD program, for 2 units on each occasion (as such, it may be imagined as a ten-week, 4-unit seminar but spread over two years). Topics may include such traditional techniques as textual criticism, meter and palaeography, as well as more recent discourses such as queer theory, critical race theory and environmental criticism.

GREEK 200B – History of Greek Literature

Instructor(s): Ella Haselswerdt

This course will consist of an intensive survey of the ancient Greek literature of the so-called ‘classical’ period, with a special focus on the rise of Attic drama and writing in prose. Our close study of the stylistic features and social contexts of particular genres and authors will be supplemented by discussion of current interpretive issues via exemplary pieces of secondary scholarship. Throughout the term, we will consider the forces that led to the creation of a valorized and self-referential literary canon during this period, and how the dynamics of inclusion and exclusion that constitute canonicity have evolved over time.

GREEK 217B – Greek Lyric Poetry: Pindar: Politics, Panhellenism and Greek Identity

Instructor(s): Kathryn Morgan

Reading Pindar’s victory odes often seems a formidable task. This is occasional poetry structured by many conventions, yet although it is generated by particular cultural contexts it aims to achieve a kind of permanence. The goal of this seminar is to explore how Pindaric epinician animates the conventions it constructs and celebrates in order to build a picture of a society and a culture that rise above the particularities of local politics and contingencies. This is of course a political project animated by the concerns of the early fifth century BCE. We will begin by making ourselves at home in the world of epinician aesthetics and convention, not to mention the often contentious scholarship that meditates upon them. We will then proceed to investigate and perhaps contest the visions of panhellenism and political structure that emerge from the odes and from the critics who work on them.

LATIN 215 – Seminar: Roman Novel

Instructor(s): Francesca Martelli

The Latin novel Metamorphoses by Apuleius is the only complete ‘novel’ in Latin to have been transmitted from antiquity, yet this is, if anything, its least remarkable legacy. Composed in the second century CE by the north African writer and intellectual Apuleius Madaurensis, it tells the story of a Greek man named Lucius who is transformed into a donkey and, as such, undergoes many travails and adventures before being transformed back into human form by the goddess Isis. The novel positions itself in the broad genre of Greek and Roman prose fiction and engages with many discourses circulating in its 2nd century milieu (Platonic philosophy, for example, in which Apuleius was well versed, as well as the cult of Isis and magic traditions). It also opens a window onto the lives of some of the everyday folk (slaves, gardeners, bandits) whose perspectives are seldom seen in this period. Above all, in filtering this world through the eyes of a mute animal, it offers a lens through which to think through the experience of living as a colonised subject in a world (and language) that were not one’s own. In this course, we will read substantial portions of the novel, and some of the traditional scholarship on it, in light of post-colonial theory, in an attempt to unpack the implications of its unique perspectives, voices and Latinity.