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Department of Classics

Chair

  • Mark Payne

Professors

  • Clifford Ando
  • Elizabeth Asmis
  • Shadi Bartsch-Zimmer
  • Alain Bresson
  • Christopher A. Faraone
  • Jonathan M. Hall
  • Michèle Lowrie
  • Mark Payne
  • James M. Redfield
  • Peter White

Associate Professors

  • Michael I. Allen
  • Helma J. Dik
  • David G. Martinez
  • Sarah Nooter
  • Sofia Torallas-Tovar
  • David L. Wray

Assistant Professors

  • Emily Austin
  • Catherine Kearns 

Emeritus Faculty

  • Walter R. Johnson
  • D. Nicholas Rudall

Affiliated Faculty

  • Claudia Brittenham, Art History
  • Agnes Callard, Philosophy
  • Patrick (Patch) Crowley, Art History
  • Michael Dietler, Anthropology
  • Jas’ Elsner, Divinity School
  • Elizabeth Gebhard, Director of Excavations, Isthmia
  • C. Stephen Jaeger, Germanic and Medieval Studies, U of IL at Urbana-Champaign
  • Janet Johnson, Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations
  • Walter Kaegi, History
  • Demetra Kasimis, Political Sciences
  • Matthew Landauer, Political Sciences
  • Gabriel Richardson Lear, Philosophy
  • Bruce Lincoln, Divinity School
  • Boris Maslov, Comparative Literature
  • Glenn Most, Committee on Social Thought
  • Brian Muhs, Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations
  • Richard Neer, Art History
  • Martha Nussbaum, Philosophy and Law
  • Wendy Olmsted, Humanities
  • Ada Palmer, History
  • Richard Payne, Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations
  • Dennis Pardee, Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations
  • James Redfield, Committee on Social Thought
  • Kent Rigsby, Emeritus, Duke University
  • Robert Ritner, Near Eastern Languages and Civilization
  • Martha Roth, Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations
  • David Schloen, Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations
  • Laura Slatkin, Committee on Social Thought
  • Jonathan Z. Smith, Humanities
  • Jeffrey Stackert, Divinity School
  • Justin Steinberg, Romance Languages and Literatures
  • Matthew Stolper, Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations
  • Christopher Woods, Near Eastern Languages and Civilization
  • Theo van den Hout, Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations
  • John Z. Wee, Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations

The Department of Classics offers advanced study in the civilizations of the ancient Mediterranean, including literature and literary theory, history, philosophy, religion, science, art, and archaeology. The programs of the department lead to the Ph.D. degree and seek to prepare students for careers in teaching and research. They allow students to explore areas with which they are unfamiliar, as well as to strengthen their knowledge in those in which they have already developed a special interest.

The Classics faculty consists of active scholars, expert in one or more areas of classical studies. Apart from their influence through books and articles, the faculty has long been identified with the publication of Classical Philology, one of the leading journals devoted to classical antiquity. The diverse graduate student body at the University include students in a number of programs outside the Department of Classics who are also engaged in the study of the ancient world. The Oriental Institute, the Divinity School, the Committee on Social Thought, and the Departments of Art History, History, Linguistics, and Near Eastern Languages & Civilizations all have programs that focus on aspects of the classical period. The workshops supported by the Council for Advanced Studies, where graduate students, faculty, and visiting scholars present work in progress, are a further means of scholarly collaboration and training. The department currently sponsors workshops entitled Ancient Societies,  Rhetoric and Poetics, and Ancient Philosophy, which involve participants from other areas as well.

Research and Library Resources

The University of Chicago Library owns over 11 million volumes in print and electronic form. Classics has been one of the Library’s strongest collections since its founding in 1891, when the University purchased the entire stock of an antiquarian bookstore in Berlin that specialized in classical philology, archaeology, and religion. Apart from current monographs, the library receives more than seven hundred serials devoted to ancient Greece and Rome and subscribes to the full range of electronic databases useful to ancient studies. Major editions of classical texts printed from the Renaissance through the eighteenth century are available in the Special Collections Research Center, which also houses collections of Greek and Latin manuscripts.

Fellowships

Students admitted to doctoral study are typically awarded a five-year fellowship package that includes full tuition, academic year stipends, summer stipends, and medical insurance. Teaching training is a vital part of the educational experience at the University, so all fellowships include a required teaching component.  Graduate students may also apply for fellowships which aid students during the writing of Ph.D. dissertations and for travel grants that support visits to libraries, collections, and archaeological research sites in Europe and the Near East.

Teaching Opportunities

At the University of Chicago, graduate students have a variety of teaching opportunities including as independent instructors.  The Chicago Center for Teaching conducts a series of workshops and forums designed  for graduate students to build skills in lecturing, leading discussions, and focusing writing assignments. The Little Red Schoolhouse, a nationally famous writing program, prepares graduate students to teach writing to undergraduate students.

Teaching opportunities lie in four areas. The first is in classics, where students who have completed the first two years of coursework may apply to serve as course assistants alongside regular faculty in the beginning Greek and Latin and ancient civilization sequences. Experienced course assistants may apply to teach independently in the first or second year language courses. Graduate students also have a broad role in the summer Greek and Latin Institute, and in the Graham School of General Studies, for which they are encouraged to offer courses of their own design (some recent courses have been devoted to the Iliad, the Odyssey, and the Aeneid).

The second area of teaching is through the Writing Program.  The program offers three kinds of renewable teaching positions: Lectors in Academic and Professional Writing, Writing Interns in the Humanities Common Core, and Writing Tutors for the College Tutoring Program. All Writing Program instructors take a quarter-long course in the pedagogy of writing before they start teaching, and during their first quarter of teaching, they work closely with experienced writing program personnel as writing interns in the humanities and social sciences core courses of the College.

A third area of teaching is serving as the graduate assistant for the College’s ten-week Study Abroad program in Athens, which is regularly staffed by faculty from the Classics Department. The graduate assistant serves as both a course assistant and a resident assistant and as an instructor for a course entitled Readings in Attic Greek.

Finally, at the most advanced level, graduate students are eligible to teach sections of the humanities core sequence. All teaching is remunerated  proportional to the teaching responsibility and normally includes remission of tuition.

Programs of Study

The department offers Ph.D. degrees in Classical Languages and Literatures, the Ancient Mediterranean World, Ancient Greek and Roman Philosophy,  and Transformations of the Classical Tradition, as well as a joint Ph.D. in Social Thought and Classics.

Ph.D. Program in Classical Languages and Literatures

The success of any graduate program depends upon the quality and commitment of its students and faculty. The Classics Department of the University of Chicago consists of persons of diverse backgrounds and interests, active scholars who are expert in one or more areas of classical studies. Beyond the influence which members of the faculty have had individually through books and articles, the Department has also long been identified with the publication of Classical Philology, one of the world's leading journals devoted to classical antiquity.

The diversity of faculty interests is matched by the diversity among the students in the graduate programs at the University of Chicago. Students in the Department of Classics represent only one of several groups engaged in the study of the ancient world. The Oriental Institute and Divinity School, the Committees on Medieval Studies, and Social Thought, and the Departments of Art, History, and Philosophy all have programs which focus on different aspects of the classical period, and which attract students with correspondingly varied interests. Course requirements for the graduate program in Classics are sufficiently flexible that students can take advantage of the numerous opportunities offered by these other programs.

Consequently, Classics students are able to encounter a multiplicity of approaches to classical texts and modern scholarship. In addition to learning basic techniques of textual, historical, and literary criticism, they are encouraged to explore new approaches to classical literature, history, philosophy, religion, art, and archaeology. They may test their explorations by participating in interdisciplinary workshops where both students and faculty present and discuss current research. The Classics Department sponsors three workshops, the Ancient Societies Workshop, the Rhetoric and Poetics Workshop, and the Ancient Philosophy Workshop, all of which meet biweekly, and is affiliated with the Late Antique and Byzantium Workshop and the Medieval Studies Workshop. Computer facilities permit students to conduct precise analyses of texts and to communicate with scholars worldwide who share their interests. Students interested in ancient theater can acquire first-hand experience in producing and acting in classical plays as part of the University Theater Program. Archaeological field experience is available for those who are interested in the material basis of classical antiquity.

Ph.D. Program in the Ancient Mediterranean World

The Graduate Program in the Ancient Mediterranean World is designed to allow students to custom build an interdisciplinary course of study that satisfies their own intellectual interests while remaining true to the rigorous and thorough training that is expected of University of Chicago graduates.

The first two years of study towards the Ph.D. are spent engaged in coursework. In consultation with the PAMW Graduate Advisor, students will devise a program of courses that range across the Mediterranean and/or Near Eastern worlds. Students are expected to familiarize themselves with various aspects of the ancient world (literature, philosophy, history, art and archaeology, and religion) and are encouraged to explore various methodological and theoretical approaches derived from other disciplines, especially the social sciences. The centerpiece of the program in these first two years is the two-quarter Ancient Mediterranean Seminar, co-taught by two PAMW Faculty members, which is designed to introduce students to issues of historical method while studying a topic that changes annually.

At the end of the second year of study, students choose two Faculty members who will advise them as they prepare for the two Field Examinations, which are sat in the course of the third year. The Field Examinations are intended to test requisite research skills in connection with specialized topics. Students are also expected to demonstrate competence in two modern languages (normally French and German) and two ancient languages before the end of their third year.

Once the Field Examinations are completed, the student assembles a Dissertation Committee of three faculty members. The Committee will assist the student in preparing a Dissertation Proposal, which must be presented before the end of the fourth year. Students are also required to enroll in the two-quarter dissertation proposal workshop. The final Dissertation is defended before members of the Department and interested members of other Departments. The curriculum is designed so that all requirements can be fulfilled within six years.

Ph.D. Program in Ancient Greek and Roman Philosophy

The study of ancient Greek and Roman philosophy is inherently interdisciplinary.  Scholars must be able to situate philosophical texts in their broader cultural context.  They must also be alive to the way a given text engages with and contributes to its philosophical tradition.  Finally, they must be able to communicate effectively with scholars trained in either Classics or Philosophy.  Thus, a student who plans to specialize in ancient philosophy ought to receive an interdisciplinary training.  Since both Classics and Philosophy have exacting and distinct standards of disciplinary training, we decided to establish a program in which students will enroll either in the PhD program in Classics or in the PhD program in Philosophy but will be required to take certain courses in the department in which they are not enrolled.  The program is a joint program in the sense that the faculty of both departments are committed to training students in the other department in the ways specified below and in the sense that the students will develop a working relationship with each other, both through participation in seminars and in the Ancient Greek and Roman Philosophy workshop.

Students enrolled in the Ph.D. degree in the Program in Ancient Greek and Roman Philosophy in the Classics Department are required to pass a total of 18 courses, of which 16 must be passed in the first and second years. At the end of the second year, students choose two faculty members to advise them on the oral examination, which must be taken by the end of the Winter Quarter of the third year of the Program. Once the examination is completed, students assemble a dissertation committee of three members. The committee will assist the student in preparing a dissertation proposal, which must be presented to the Classics Department faculty by the end of the Autumn Quarter of the fourth year. Students are expected to attend the workshop on Ancient Greek and Roman philosophy throughout their enrolment in the Program.

Ph.D. Program in Transformations of the Classical Tradition

The PhD program in Transformations of the Classical Tradition enables students to approach the long history of classical thought and literature by following a course of study tailored to their particular interests.

The first two years of study towards the Ph.D. are spent on coursework. In consultation with the Director of Graduate Studies and the TCLT program Chair, students will devise a program of courses that focus on, but are not limited to, key texts in literature, philosophy, historiography, and political theory in either Greek or Latin, and the reception, development, and transformation of these texts in one of the modern languages. During their first two years, students must also satisfy the requirements for their second ancient and modern language.

Students entering the program are introduced to the methodological opportunities of studying the long history of the classical tradition in a two quarter introductory seminar, co-taught by two TCLT faculty members, one of whom will be a member of the Classics faculty, and the other from one of our partner disciplines: Art History, the Committee on Social Thought, Comparative Literature, Germanic Studies, History, Philosophy, Political Science, Romance Languages & Literatures, and the Divinity School. In the third year, students progress to an oral examination in their chosen field of study, followed by the dissertation proposal workshop, and the submission of the dissertation proposal. The fourth and fifth years are devoted to dissertation writing and the curriculum is designed so that all requirements can be fulfilled within six years.

The Joint Ph.D. Program in Social Thought and Classics

The Joint Ph.D. Program in Social Thought and Classics is intended for students whose study of a particular issue or text from the ancient Greek and Roman world requires a broadly inter-disciplinary approach alongside a professional mastery of philological skills.

Those interested in pursuing this joint degree program must first be admitted in EITHER the Committee on Social Thought OR the Department of Classics and must complete at a minimum the two quarter language survey (Greek or Latin), offered by the Department of Classics, with an average grade of B or higher. Application shall then be made to the second department and, provided that the standards of admission to that department are met, students will be admitted by the Office of the Dean of Students to joint degree status. They will not, however, be considered to have transferred into the second department and their original department will remain their sole department for purposes of registration and financial aid (including dissertation fellowships). They will be assigned two faculty advisors, one whose primary appointment is in Social Thought, one whose primary appointment is in Classics. Students initially admitted to Classics will be expected to complete all requirements for the A.M. in Classical Languages and Literatures in their first year. Students initially admitted to Social Thought may complete the remaining requirements of the A.M. in Classical Languages and Literatures during the second year of study and the A.M. will be awarded at that time. Although students will fulfill the requirements for the A.M. in both Social Thought and Classical Languages and Literatures, they will receive only one Master's degree from the University.

Students admitted to the joint degree program must satisfy  all the degree requirements for the Ph.D. in Classical Languages and Literatures and all the degree requirements for the Ph.D. in Social Thought. The Social Thought language requirement of a high-level pass in a foreign language exam will be automatically met by the requirements of the Classics program. The dissertation proposal will have to be approved by both departments; the dissertation committee will usually include three professors, at least one of whom will come from each department. The committee chair should be a member either of Classics or the Committee on Social Thought, according to the enrollment of the student.

In order to ensure that the combination is genuine and rigorous, those students with joint degree status will be required to offer at least a majority of non-Classical texts on the Social Thought Fundamentals Examination. Students with joint degree status will be encouraged, in consultation with their advisors, to take courses on non-Classical subjects that will help prepare them for this examination.

Because of the difference in the way and extent to which the Classics and the Social Thought Ph.D. programs are regulated, the mode of access to joint degree status will vary, depending upon whether candidates enter into it from the one department or the other.

The Degree of Master of Arts

Students seeking a master’s degree should apply to the Master of Arts Program in the Humanities (MAPH), a three-quarter program of interdisciplinary study in a number of areas of interest to students. MAPH students take courses with students in the Ph.D. programs. Further details about the MAPH program are available at http://maph.uchicago.edu/

Application

The application process for admission and financial aid for all graduate programs in the Division of the Humanities is administered through the divisional Office of the Dean of Students. The Application for Admission and Financial Aid, with instructions, deadlines and department specific information is available online at: http://humanities.uchicago.edu/students/admissions.

Questions about admissions and aid should be directed to humanitiesadmissions@uchicago.edu or (773) 702-1552.

International students must provide evidence of English proficiency by submitting scores from either the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). (Current minimum scores, etc., are provided with the application.) For more information, please see the Office of International Affairs website at https://internationalaffairs.uchicago.edu/, or call them at (773) 702-7752.

Courses

The two quarter surveys of Greek and Latin literature, and Greek and Latin prose composition, are offered in alternate years. The courses listed below are offered regularly, normally on a three-year rotating basis. In addition, new courses are frequently introduced, especially seminars and classics courses, and these cannot be predicted very far in advance. In recent years, courses included seminars on Early Rome, Tragedy and the Tragic, A History of Rhetoric, Greek Tragedy in Africa, Juvenal, The Ancient Economy, Oral Poetries, The Poetry of Death, Security in Latin Literature, Stoics and Epicureans, and Holderlin and the Greeks.

Greek

Iambic and Elegiac Poetry.

Greek Philosophy.

Greek Tragedy.

Lyric and Epinician Poetry.

Greek Epic.

Greek Oratory.

Hellenistic and Imperial literature.

Greek Comedy.

Greek Historians.

Latin

Roman Elegy.

Roman Novel.

Virgil.

Post-Virgillian Epic

Roman Historians.

Roman Comedy.

Lucretius.

Roman Satire.

Roman Oratory.

Classics - Classics Courses

CLAS 30516. Pompeii: Life, Death, and Afterlife of a Roman City. 100 Units.

This course takes an in-depth look at the exceptional and exceptionally preserved city of Pompeii (along with others in the Bay of Naples region, including Herculaneum, Stabiae, and Oplontis) as a microcosm of the forms of Roman life in the first century. In the late summer or early autumn of AD 79, Pompeii suffered a cataclysmic event when Mount Vesuvius exploded in a terrible and spectacular fashion, spewing forth a tremendous cloud of ash over the city. While the disaster claimed the lives of tens of thousands of inhabitants in the area, the peculiar conditions of the eruption preserved the material traces of their daily lives. Students will explore the civic, commercial, and domestic spaces of Pompeii including its forum, temples and sanctuaries, cemeteries, theaters, brothels, bakeries, and especially its townhouses, the latter of which were decorated with brilliant wall paintings, floor mosaics, furniture, and lush portico gardens designed to offer rest and relaxation from the bustle of city life. Significant attention will also be paid not only to the discovery of Pompeii and its neighboring towns in the 18th century, but also its reception in the archaeological and popular imagination up to the present.

Instructor(s): P. Crowley     Terms Offered: Spring,Winter
Equivalent Course(s): ARTH 30506,CLCV 20516,ARTH 20506

CLAS 31313. Prosody and Poetic Form: An Introduction to Comparative Metrics. 100 Units.

This class offers (i) an overview of major European systems of versification, with particular attention to their historical development, and (ii) an introduction to the theory of meter. In addition to analyzing the formal properties of verse, we will inquire into their relevance for the articulation of poetic genres and, more broadly, the history of literary (and sub-literary) systems. There will be some emphasis on Graeco-Roman quantitative metrics, its afterlife, and the evolution of Germanic and Slavic syllabo-tonic verse. No prerequisites, but a working knowledge of one European language besides English is strongly recommended.

Instructor(s): Boris Maslov     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): CMLT 32303,CLCV 21313,SLAV 22303,SLAV 32303,ENGL 22310,ENGL 32303,GRMN 22314,GRMN 32314,CMLT 22303

CLAS 31517. Minoan Art, Modern Myths, and Problems of Prehistory. 100 Units.

This course will provide an introduction to the art of the Bronze Age culture of Minoan Crete, with an emphasis on the Palatial Period (ca. 1900–1450 BCE). We will cover both well-known works and recent archaeological finds, including those from outside of Crete that have altered our view of Minoan art in recent years. At the same time, we will investigate how our knowledge of this civilization and its art has been shaped by the mentalities of those who have excavated its remains and collected and displayed its art. We will look closely at archaeological reports, restorations, forgeries, and concepts of style and iconography to reveal how archaeological remains are transformed into historical narratives. While focused on the Minoans, the course is designed to build the analytical skills necessary for engaging with the art of prehistoric cultures and other ancient cultures heavily shaped by modern imaginaries.

Instructor(s): S. Estrin     Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): ARTH 30510,CLCV 21517,ARTH 20510

CLAS 31617. The Return of Homer: The Iliad and Odyssey in Contemporary English Language Fiction and Poetry. 100 Units.

The course will examine the extraordinary flowering of English language novels and poems based on the Homeric epics in the past quarter century. We will ask how different contemporary poets and prose writers have interpreted Homer's works and try to understand the appeal of this ancient poetry for modern authors, readers, and publishers. The reading will include such works as Margaret Atwood, The Penelopiad; Byrne Fone, War Stories: A Novel of the Trojan War; Christopher Logue, An Account of Homer's Iliad; David Malouf, Ransom; Zachary Mason, The Lost Books of the Odyssey; Madeline Miller, The Sone of Achilles; Alice Oswald, Memorial: A Version of Homer's Iliad; Lisa Peterson, An Iliad; Kate Quinn, et al., A Song of War; and Derek Walcott, Omeros. English translations of such foreign-language works as Alessandro Baricco's An Iliad and Ismail Kadare's The Fijile on H. may also be considered if students wish.

Instructor(s): Glenn Most     Terms Offered: Winter. course taught winter 2018
Prerequisite(s): There is no language requirement, but students are expected to have refreshed their familiarity with the Iliad and Odyssey in translation before the course begins.
Equivalent Course(s): SCTH 31614

CLAS 31717. Sophocles, Ajax. 100 Units.

A close literary and philological analysis of one of the most remarkable and perplexing of all Greek tragedies. We will consider the play's portrayal of the nature and limits of one form of male heroism against the background of earlier poetry and contemporary history; and we will attempt constantly for elate philological and literary approaches to one another in order to understand better not only Sophocles' play but also the strengths and limitations of the ways in which scholars try to come closer to it.

Instructor(s): Glenn Most     Terms Offered: Winter. course taught winter 2018
Prerequisite(s): Either an adequate knowledge of ancient Greek or the consent of the instructor is required; students should have refreshed their familiarity with the Iliad and Odyssey. Open to undergrads.
Equivalent Course(s): CLCV 21717,SCTH 31613

CLAS 32117. Fate and Duty: European Tragedy from Aeschylus to Brecht. 100 Units.

This class will explore the development of European drama from Attic tragedy and comedy and their reception in Ancient Rome and French Neoclassicism to the transformation of dramatic form in 18-20th c. European literatures. The focus will be on the evolution of plot, characterization, time-and-space of dramatic action, ethical notions (free will, guilt, conscience), as well as on representations of affect. All readings in English. No prerequisites.

Instructor(s): Staff     Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): CMLT 32402,GRMN 22402,CLCV 22117,REES 22402,CMLT 22402

CLAS 33315. History of Skepticism, Pre-Socratic Greece to Enlightenment. 100 Units.

Doubt has been a fundamental tool from the foundations of Western philosophy, used by radicals and orthodox thinkers, skeptics and system-builders, theologians and scientists. Philosophical skepticism and its evolving palette of intellectual tools shaped the ancient philosophical schools of Greece and Rome, the solidification of early Christian doctrine, the scholastic debates of the later Middle Ages, the neoclassical explosions of the Renaissance, the "new philosophy" of the seventeenth century, the radical projects of the Enlightenment, and the advent of the modern scientific method. This course reviews the history of systematic philosophical doubt, focusing on primary source readings from Sextus Empiricus and Cicero to William of Ockham and the Averroist controversies, to Montaigne, Descartes, Bacon, and Diderot. Undergraduate writing assignments focus on polishing advanced writing ability through short assignments targeting concision, critical thinking, and journalistic writing skills with creative elements. Enrolled graduate students will be invited to additional graduate-only discussions and have supplementary assignments, including secondary source and historiographical readings and self-designed customized research papers. Both undergraduates and graduate students from outside the Department of History are welcome.

Instructor(s): A. Palmer      Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): CLCV 23315

CLAS 33616. Homer's Odyssey: Estrangement and Homecoming. 100 Units.

One of the two foundational epics of so-called Western Culture, the Odyssey features a wily hero whose journeys are extraordinary and whose longing for home is unbounded. The Odyssey offers a complex meditation on brotherhood, bestiality, sexuality, kinship, and power; it is the great epic of cross-cultural encounter, in all its seductive and violent aspects, as well as the great poem of marriage. An adventure in nostos (homecoming), the Odyssey shows us the pleasures and dangers of voyaging among strangers. Constantly exploring the boundaries between the civilized and the savage, the poem offers as well as a political critique of many ancient institutions, not least the family patriarchy, hospitality customs, and the band-of-brothers so central to epic ideology. And as a masterwork of narrative art, the Odyssey asks us to consider the relation of fiction to "truth." We will explore these and other matters in the Odyssey, and may make a concluding foray into contemporary re-workings of Odyssean themes and characters.

Instructor(s): Laura Slatkin     Terms Offered: Spring. Will be taught Spring 2017. This course will be taught the first five weeks of the quarter (March 27 thru April 26, 2017)
Prerequisite(s): Although no knowledge of Greek is required for this course, there will be assignment options for those who wish to do reading in Greek.
Note(s): Please note this course will be taught the first five weeks of the quarter (March 27, 2017 thru April 26, 2017.
Equivalent Course(s): FNDL 21223,SCTH 31223

CLAS 34017. The Spartan Divergence. 100 Units.

Sparta was a Greek city, but of what type? The ancient tradition, or at least the larger part of it, paints the portrait of an ideal city-state. The city was supposed to be stable and moderately prosperous. Its citizens were allegedly models of virtue. For many centuries the city did not experience revolutions and its army was invincible on the battlefield. This success was attributed to its perfect institutions. Following the track opened by Ollier's Spartan Mirage, modern scholarship has scrupulously and successfully deconstructed this image of an ideal city. But what do we find if we go beyond the looking glass? Was Sparta really a city "like all the others"? This class will show that we must go deeper into our evidence in order to make sense of the extraordinary success followed by the brutal collapse of this very special city-state.

Instructor(s): A. Bresson     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): HIST 20307,HIST 30307,CLAS 24017

CLAS 35017. Peripheries of the Greek World. 100 Units.

What happens when we consider the cultures, histories, and politics of the ancient Greek world from outside its Aegean ecumene? From Homeric ethnographies to Hellenistic expansion, the borders and peripheries of Greek life became rich spaces for both imagining and constructing Greek identity and civilization through interactions with myriad “others”: barbarians, allies, kings, and monsters. And in recent decades, interdisciplinary research has examined what life was like on these peripheries, at the intersections of Greek colonization, trade, religion, and the state. In this course we examine the concept of peripheries (and cores) and question the methodologies that historians and archaeologists use to consider the dynamic spaces around the edges of the Aegean Sea: colonial settlements, sites of pilgrimage, industrial districts, and exotic fringes, among others. Using textual and material evidence, and taking a broad approach by exploring case studies from Iberia to India, we consider the practices through which diverse peripheries became intertwined with Greek culture (or not).

Instructor(s): C. Kearns     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): CLCV 25017

CLAS 35417. Censorship from the Inquisition to the Present. 100 Units.

Collaborative research seminar on the history of censorship and information control, with a focus on the history of books and information technologies. The class will meet in Special Collections, and students will work with the professor to prepare an exhibit, The History of Censorship, to be held in the Special Collections exhibit space in the spring. Students will work with rare books and archival materials, design exhibit cases, write exhibit labels, and contribute to the exhibit catalog. Half the course will focus on censorship in early modern Europe, including the Inquisition, the spread of the printing press, and clandestine literature in the Renaissance and Enlightenment. Special focus on the effects of censorship on classical literature, both newly rediscovered works like Lucretius and lost books of Plato, and authors like Pliny the Elder and Seneca who had been available in the Middle Ages but became newly controversial in the Renaissance. The other half of the course will look at modern and contemporary censorship issues, from wartime censorship, to the censorship of comic books, to digital-rights management, to free speech on our own campus. Students may choose whether to focus their own research and exhibit cases on classical, early modern, modern, or contemporary censorship.  This course is part of the College Course Cluster, The Renaissance.

Instructor(s): A. Palmer & S. McManus     Terms Offered: Autumn
Prerequisite(s): Admission by consent of instructor
Equivalent Course(s): CLCV 25417,HIST 35421,HIPS 25421,CHSS 35421,KNOW 21403,KNOW 31403,RLST 22121,HREL 34309,SIGN 26010,HIST 25421

CLAS 35808. Roman Law. 100 Units.

The course will treat several problems arising in the historical development of Roman law: the history of procedure; the rise and accommodation of multiple sources of law, including the emperor; the dispersal of the Roman community from the environs of Rome to the wider Mediterranean world; and developments in the law of persons. We will discuss problems like the relationship between religion and law from the archaic city to the Christian empire, and between the law of Rome and the legal systems of its subject communities.

Instructor(s): C. Ando     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): HIST 21004,HIST 31004,SIGN 26017,CLCV 25808

CLAS 36017. Gods and God in Imperial Asia Minor (1–300 CE) 100 Units.

Roman Asia Minor in the Imperial period provides an extraordinary case of religious plurality and creativity. Pagans, Jews, Christians, even already Christian heretics, interacted in the same space. The frontiers between Jewish and Christian communities were, at least at the beginning, more fluid than was long thought. But even the frontiers between paganism and Judaism or Christianity were certainly not as rigid as was later imagined. This does not mean, however, that there were no tensions between the various groups. This class will examine the various aspects of this religious diversity as well as the social and political factors that may explain the religious equilibrium prevailing at that time in Asia Minor.

Equivalent Course(s): CLCV 26017,HIST 20308,HIST 30308

CLAS 36517. Ancient Greek Aesthetics. 100 Units.

The ancient Greek philosophical tradition contains an enormously rich and influential body of reflection on the practice of poetry.  We will focus our attention on Plato and Aristotle, but will also spend some time with Longinus and Plotinus.  Topics will include: the analysis of poetry in terms of mimesis and image; poetry-making as an exercise of craft, divine inspiration, or some other sort of knowledge; the emotional effect on the audience; the role of poetry in forming moral character and, more broadly, its place in society; the relation between poetry, rhetoric, and philosophy; aesthetic values of beauty, wonder, truth, and grace. (A) (IV)

Instructor(s): G. Richardson-Lear     Terms Offered: Winter
Note(s): Undergrads enroll in sections 01 & 02. Graduates enroll in section 03.
Equivalent Course(s): PHIL 29911,CLCV 26517,SCTH 39911,PHIL 39911

CLAS 38517. History of Skepticism. 100 Units.

Before we ask what is true or false, we must ask how we can know what is true or false. This course examines the vital role doubt and philosophical skepticism have played in the Western intellectual tradition, from pre-Socratic Greece through the Enlightenment, with a focus on how Criteria of Truth—what kinds of arguments are considered legitimate sources of certainty—have changed over time. The course will examine dialog between skeptical and dogmatic thinkers, and how many of the most fertile systems in the history of philosophy have been hybrid systems which divided the world into things which can be known, and things which cannot. The course will touch on the history of atheism, heresy and free thought, on fideism and skeptical religion, and will examine how the Scientific Method is itself a form of philosophical skepticism. Primary source readings will include Plato, Sextus Empiricus, Lucretius, Ockham, Pierre Bayle, Montaigne, Descartes, Francis Bacon, Hobbes, Voltaire, Diderot, and others.

Instructor(s): A. Palmer     Terms Offered: Winter
Note(s): No prerequisites; first-year students welcome.
Equivalent Course(s): HIST 39516,CLCV 28517,HIPS 29516,CHSS 39516,KNOW 21406,KNOW 31406,RLST 22123,HREL 39516,SIGN 26011,HIST 29516

CLAS 42813. Conceptual History and Greek Literature. 100 Units.

 In this seminar, we will approach conceptual history (a.k.a. Begriffsgeschichte) as a resource for philologically-informed study of cultural interaction, continuity, and change. We will begin by developing a theoretical background in historical semantics, conceptual history, Metaphorologie, and history of ideas (focusing on the work of Nietzsche, Spitzer, Koselleck, Blumenberg, and Hadot); the second part of the quarter will be dedicated to historical and theoretical problems in the study of concepts in literary texts and across cultures. Reading knowledge of two (or more) foreign languages is a strong desideratum. As a final project, seminar participants will be expected to choose a particular concept and trace its history and uses in literary texts, ideally in more than one language.

Instructor(s): Boris Maslov     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): SLAV 42802,CMLT 42802

CLAS 46616. Reason and Religion. 100 Units.

The quarrel between reason and faith has a long history.  The birth of Christianity was in the crucible of rationality.  The ancient Greeks privileged this human capacity above all others, finding in reason the quality wherein man was closest to the gods, while the early Christians found this viewpoint antithetical to religious humility.  As religion and its place in society have evolved throughout history, so have the standing of, and philosophical justification for, non-belief on rational grounds.  This course will examine the intellectual and cultural history of arguments against religion in Western thought from antiquity to the present.  Along the way, of course, we will also examine the assumptions bound up in the binary terms "religion" and "reason."

Instructor(s): Shadi Bartsch and Robert Richards     Terms Offered: Winter
Prerequisite(s): Consent required: Email sbartsch@uchicago.edu a few sentences describing your background and what you hope to get out of this seminar.
Equivalent Course(s): DVPR 46616,KNOW 40201,CHSS 40201,HIST 66606,PHIL 43011

CLAS 48017. Phaedras Compared: Adaptation, Gender, Tragic Form. 100 Units.

This seminar places Racine’s French neoclassical tragedy Phaedra within a wide-ranging series of adaptations of the ancient myth, from its Greek and Latin sources (Euripides, Seneca, Ovid) to twentieth-century and contemporary translations and stage adaptations (Ted Hughes, Sarah Kane), read along with a series of theoretical and critical texts. Particular attention will be paid to critical paradigms and approaches in the evolving fields of classical reception studies, theater and performance studies, and gender studies. Reading knowledge of French strongly preferred.

Instructor(s): D. Wray & L. Norman     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): CDIN 48017,FREN 48017,TAPS 48017,CMLT 48017,GNSE 48017

Classics - Greek Courses

GREK 31216. Greek Philosophy. 100 Units.

The Phaedrus is one of the most fascinating and compelling of Plato’s dialogues. Beginning with a playful treatment of the theme of erotic passion, it continues with a consideration of the nature of inspiration, love, and knowledge. The centerpiece is one the the most famous of the Platonic myths, the moving description of the charioteer and its allegory of the vision, fall, and incarnation of the soul. We will read the entire dialogue, with special attention the language and style, with a particular focus on religious and theological ideas.

Terms Offered: Spring. Not offered 2017-18
Equivalent Course(s): GREK 21216

GREK 31300. Tragedy. 100 Units.

This course is an introduction to Aeschylean drama, seen through the special problems posed by one play, Prometheus Bound. Lectures and discussions are concerned with the play, the development and early form of Attic drama, and philosophical material. Modern Aeschylean scholars are also read and discussed.

Instructor(s): E. Asmis     Terms Offered: Autumn. Not offered 2017-18
Prerequisite(s): GREK 20300 or equivalent
Equivalent Course(s): BIBL 31300,GREK 21300

GREK 31700. Lyric and Epinician Poetry. 100 Units.

This course will examine instances of Greek lyric genres throughout the archaic and classical periods, focusing on the structure, themes and sounds of the poetry and investigating their performative and historical contexts. Readings will include Alcman, Sappho, Alcaeus, Anacreon, Ibycus, Alcaeus, Simonides, Bacchylides, Pindar and Timotheus. In Greek.

Instructor(s): Staff     Terms Offered: Autumn. Will be offered 2018-19.
Prerequisite(s): GREK 20300 or equivalent
Equivalent Course(s): GREK 21700

GREK 31800. Greek Epic. 100 Units.

This course is a reading of Book 3 of the Argonautica of Apollonius of Rhodes. We consider character, story world, and the presence of the poet as we endeavor to understand what has become of epic poetry in the hands of its Hellenistic inheritors.

Terms Offered: Spring. Will be offered 2018-19.
Prerequisite(s): Two years or more of Greek.
Equivalent Course(s): GREK 21800

GREK 31900. Greek Oratory. 100 Units.

"With Isocrates, Greek artistic prose reached its technical perfection," says L. R. Palmer in The Greek Language. Yet Isocrates has not found nearly so prominent a place in the university curriculum as have Demosthenes and Lysias. This course will attempt to give the great orator his due. We will start with his speech on Helen, comparing it with Gorgias' famous Encomium. We will also read the ad Demonicum, which became something of a handbook in later Hellenistic and Roman-period schools, and the Panegyricus. We will consider carefully Isocratean language and diction, and why it has merited such sustained praise among connoisseurs of Greek prose style, ancient and modern. We will also emphasize the centrality of Isocrates' contribution to Greek paideia.

Terms Offered: Spring. Will be offered 2018-19.
Prerequisite(s): Two years or more of Greek.
Equivalent Course(s): GREK 21900

GREK 32300. Greek Tragedy: Hellenistic/Imperial Literature. 100 Units.

This course features selections from the poetry and/or prose of the Hellenistic and Imperial periods. This year we will read selections from Hellenistic poetry, with a particular focus on the Hymns of Callimachus.

Instructor(s): D. Wray     Terms Offered: Spring
Prerequisite(s): GREK 20300 or equivalent
Equivalent Course(s): GREK 22300

GREK 32317. Hellenistic/Imperial Literature. 100 Units.

This course features selections from the poetry and/or prose of the Hellenistic and Imperial periods. This year we will read selections from Hellenistic poetry, with a particular focus on the Hymns of Callimachus.

Instructor(s): D. Wray     Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): GREK 22317

GREK 32417. Greek Comedy. 100 Units.

We will read in Greek Menander’s Dyskolos, with an eye to understanding “New Comedy” and its robust afterlife in Renaissance Europe and modern sitcoms. We will also devote some time to reading and assessing fragments from Menander’s contemporaries. Coursework will include translation as well as secondary readings.

Instructor(s): E. Austin.      Terms Offered: Autumn
Prerequisite(s): GREK 20300 or equivalent
Note(s): Topic: Menander's
Equivalent Course(s): FNDL 22417,GREK 22417

GREK 32515. Greek Historians: Thucydides. 100 Units.

In this course we will read book 1 of Thucydides, his description of the run-up to the Peloponnesian War, in Greek. We will pay attention to Thucydides' style and approach to historiography, sinking our teeth into this difficult but endlessly fascinating text. 

Instructor(s): H. Dik.     Terms Offered: Autumn,Spring
Prerequisite(s): At least two years of Greek.
Equivalent Course(s): FNDL 22517,GREK 22515

GREK 32700. Survey of Greek Literature I. 100 Units.

We will cover Greek poetry, including drama, from Homer to Callimachus. Classes will be concerned chiefly with genre, style, meter, and literary tropes with some discussion of the scholarly history on these texts. There will be some close study of passages chosen to exemplify problems of interpretation or to display the major themes in each poet’s work.

Instructor(s): S. Nooter     Terms Offered: Winter

GREK 32800. Survey of Greek Literature II. 100 Units.

A study of the creation of the canonical Greek prose style in the 5th and 4th centuries. Rapid reading and translation exercises.

Instructor(s): H. Dik     Terms Offered: Offered 2015-2016

GREK 34400. Greek Prose Composition. 100 Units.

The goal of this course is to write accurate sentences and paragraphs in classical Attic Greek.  We are not concerned here with stylistic imitation, but rather to write Attic prose clearly and correctly.  The most obvious benefits of this exercise will be thorough review of basic morphology and syntax as well as  fine-tuning one's grasp of the more subtle nuances of the Greek language.  Another important benefit is cultivating Attic prose as a kind of linguistic standard or canon by which we are able to better understand  other Greek styles of writing and types of diction.  The vantage point of a standard  allows us to analyze and understand other styles on their own terms and merits, whether Herodotos, Epic, New Testament, etc.

Instructor(s): D. Martinez     Terms Offered: Autumn
Prerequisite(s): Consent of instructor

GREK 35000. Mastering Greek. 100 Units.

Mastering Greek is an intensive Greek language course for pre-professional Hellenists. Do you find yourself fudging accents sometimes? Wondering about the use of infinitives versus participles? Pondering the future less vivid? Is there a past contrary-to-fact in Greek? (No.) This course will review your Attic Greek from the level of the word to the short paragraph, leaving matters of style to Prose Composition (Winter). Recommended for advanced undergraduates and graduate students, especially those who aspire to teach Greek. Assignments will include extensive written homework in Attic Greek, analytic exercises, and regular quizzes in order to advance to strong, active mastery of the language.

Terms Offered: Autumn. Will be offered 2019-20.
Equivalent Course(s): GREK 25000

GREK 35117. Philo of Alexandria. 100 Units.

In this course we will read the Greek text of Philo's de opificio mundi, with other brief excerpts here and there in the Philonic corpus. Our aim will be to use this treatise to elucidate the thought and character of one of the most prolific theological writers of the first century. We will seek to understand Philo as a Greek author and the nature and origins of his style, Philo as a proponent of Platonism, and Philo as a Jew in the context of Alexandrian Judaism. We will also examine his use of the allegorical method as an exegetical tool, and its implications for pagan, Jewish and early Christian approaches to sacred texts.

Instructor(s): David Martinez     Terms Offered: Autumn
Prerequisite(s): At least two years of Greek.
Equivalent Course(s): GREK 25117,BIBL 44003

GREK 40617. Sem: Epictetus/Aurelius. 100 Units.

Both Epictetus' Discourses and Marcus Aurelius' Meditations have been philosophical best sellers ever since antiquity. Both humanize ancient Stoicism. In this seminar, we will look closely at the Greek text to investigate each author's unique response to Stoic doctrine. The focus of the seminar will on the creativity of each author in reshaping Stoic doctrine. We will also look at the reception of these authors in the Renaissance and later.  Prerequisite: the equivalent of two years of Ancient Greek.

Instructor(s): E. Asmis.     Terms Offered: Spring

GREK 40917. Reading Thucydides. 100 Units.

An exploration of the text in translation, or, if possible, in Greek.

Instructor(s): James Redfield     Terms Offered: Spring. course taught spring 2018
Prerequisite(s): Open to undergrads by consent only
Equivalent Course(s): SCTH 31927

GREK 43900. Greek Hymns. 100 Units.

No description available.

Instructor(s): C. Faraone     Terms Offered: Spring

Classics - Latin Courses

LATN 31200. Roman Novel. 100 Units.

We shall read from various Latin texts that participate in the tradition of the Ancient novel.

Instructor(s): C. Ando     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): LATN 21200

LATN 31300. Vergil. 100 Units.

This course will survey the main interpretive issues surrounding Vergil's Aeneid through a selection of readings from books 1–12. You will also be required to read the entire epic in English translation. Class time will be given to translation of the Latin, discussion of the secondary readings, and attention to the epic’s larger themes and meanings in the literary and cultural context of Augustan Rome.

Instructor(s): Staff     Terms Offered: Autumn. Offered 2019-20.
Equivalent Course(s): FNDL 25201,LATN 21300

LATN 31700. Post-Virgilian Epic. 100 Units.

In this class we will read the Achilleid of Statius. We will focus on the poetics of the prequel, and the themes of maternity, boyhood, and the role of the nonhuman in the education of the young Achilles. We will also look at some accounts of the affective appeal of Homer’s Achilles, and ask what the Achilleid is trying to bring out about him.

Terms Offered: Autumn. Will be offered 2018-19.
Prerequisite(s): LATN 20300 or equivalent
Equivalent Course(s): LATN 21700

LATN 31800. Roman Historian. 100 Units.

Primary readings are drawn from the later books of the Annals, especially book 11, in which Tacitus describes the reign of Claudius and early reign of Nero. Parallel accounts and secondary readings are used to help bring out the methods of selecting and ordering data and the stylistic effects that typify a Tacitean narrative.

Terms Offered: Winter. Will be offered 2018-19.
Prerequisite(s): LATN 20300 or equivalent
Equivalent Course(s): LATN 21800

LATN 31900. Roman Comedy. 100 Units.

Plautus' Pseudolus is read in Latin, along with secondary readings that explain the social context and the theatrical conventions of Roman comedy. Class meetings are devoted less to translation than to study of the language, plot construction, and stage techniques at work in the Pseudolus.

Terms Offered: Spring. Will be offered 2018-19.
Prerequisite(s): LATN 20300 or equivalent
Equivalent Course(s): LATN 21900

LATN 32100. Lucretius. 100 Units.

We will read selections of Lucretius' magisterial account of a universe composed of atoms. The focus of our inquiry is: how did Lucretius convert a seemingly dry philosophical doctrine about the physical composition of the universe into a gripping message of personal salvation? The selections include Lucretius' vision of an infinite universe, of heaven, and of the hell that humans have created for themselves on earth.

Instructor(s): M. Lowrie     Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): FNDL 24212,LATN 22100

LATN 32200. Roman Satire. 100 Units.

The object of this course is to study the emergence of satire as a Roman literary genre with a recognized subject matter and style. Readings include Horace Satires 1.1, 4, 6, and 10 and 2.1, 5 and 7; Persius 1 and 5; and Juvenal 1 and 3.

Instructor(s): S. Bartsch-Zimmer     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): LATN 22200

LATN 32300. Roman Oratory. 100 Units.

Two of Cicero's speeches for the defense in the criminal courts of Rome receive a close reading in Latin and in English. The speeches are in turn considered in relation to Cicero's rhetorical theory as set out in the De Oratore and in relation to the role of the criminal courts in Late Republican Rome.

Instructor(s): P. White     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): LATN 22300

LATN 34400. Latin Prose Composition. 100 Units.

This course is a practical introduction to the styles of classical Latin prose. After a brief and systematic review of Latin syntax, we combine regular exercises in composition with readings from a variety of prose stylists. Our goal is to increase the students' awareness of the classical artists' skill and also their own command of Latin idiom and sentence structure.

Terms Offered: Autumn. Not offered 2017-18
Prerequisite(s): Undergraduates consent of instructor

LATN 40917. Vergilian Receptions. 100 Units.

This seminar offers a series of case-studies in the reception of Vergil’s Aeneid.  We will start with the ancient commentators, then move on to Macrobius, Fulgentius, and the medieval allegorists, Dante’s Inferno, the Aeneid and Christianity, the Aeneid in the New World, the poem’s treatment before and after WWI, the Aeneid in the hands of the Italian Fascists, and finally, contemporary trends in interpretation.  We will also address reception theory, the figure of Dido through time, and, if there is time, the Aeneid in art.  Where possible, readings will be in Latin.

Instructor(s): S. Bartsch-Zimmer

LATN 47017. Sem: Einhard. 100 Units.

Einhard’s Life of Charlemagne combined Ciceronian rhetorical theory, the modeling of Suetonius, and personal reminiscences to create one of the best-sellers of the Middle Ages.  That work has a situational logic and stylistic place among Einhard’s other activities and literate creations, including letters, epigraphy, theological reflection, and hagiographical narrative.  We shall consider the inspirations, styles, and goals of the courtier, biographer, and pious lay retiree, who stands emblematically as both a “typical” and nonpareil figure of the Carolingian Renaissance. 

Instructor(s): M. Allen     Terms Offered: Winter

LATN 47717. Augustine Confessions. 100 Units.

This seminar is based an in-depth reading of the Confessions, with use of the Latin text. Topics to be covered will be determined by consensus during the first week, but they may include the genesis of the work in relation to Augustine’s life and literary oeuvre (e.g. vis-à-vis the partly contemporary De Doctrina and De Trinitate); its structure (including the relationship between books I-X and XI-XIII) and narrative technique; its meditative versus dialogical character; Augustine’s representation of the self and his method of Biblical exegesis; Manichean and Neoplatonic influences; and ancient (Pelagius) and postmodern readings of the Confessions (Lyotard, Marion).  Once-weekly meetings will consist of discussions, lectures, and reports. 

Instructor(s): W. Otten and P. White     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): HCHR 47717,THEO 47717,HIST 64301