Prof. Thomas Hubbard -- University of Texas at Austin
Office: WAG 15
Hours: MWF 11:30-12:30
This course will combine the methods of social history and literary criticism to examine attitudes toward homosexuality in Greek and Roman culture, and the influence of the Greek ideal in later literary and artistic culture. By studying the very different social constructions placed upon homosexual activity in Greek, Roman, early Christian, Renaissance, and modern civilization, the course will contribute to the ongoing essentialist vs. constructionist debate in Gay/Lesbian Studies. To what extent was "homosexuality" recognized as such in ancient cultures? To what extent were those who practiced it considered to be apart from the mainstream of society, and to what extent is it legitimate to speak of "homophobia" in antiquity? To what extent was sexual object-choice in antiquity related to distinctions of class and education? Is it legitimate to view hostility to homosexuality as a form of class-hatred? Should the educational framework of Greek man-boy love be viewed as a form of anthropological initiation ceremony? All these questions are hotly debated in the scholarly literature and will be discussed during the course of the semester.
The foundational theoretical work for this course will be Michel Foucault's ground-breaking History of Sexuality, which analyzes sexual relations in terms of broader cultural systems of power and domination. After reading Foucault's work and that of one of his leading critics (Camille Paglia), we shall turn to a close examination of the literary, historical, and artistic evidence provided by the Greeks and Romans themselves. Students will be asked to evaluate the validity of various theoretical claims about ancient homosexuality by comparison with the actual evidence of primary texts.
This course is designed to fulfill the Substantial Writing Component requirement. Accordingly, students will be asked to write three papers (6-8 pages) on themes such as homophobia and humor, man-boy love, lesbian vs. male homoerotic poetry, the evolution of cultural concepts of "otherness." In addition to marshaling evidence from the ancient texts themselves, students will be invited to compare and contrast ancient attitudes with their own experience of modern social constructions of homosexuality.
The course grade will be based on the papers (20% each), class discussion (20%), and a final exam (20%). Students of all personal backgrounds are welcome in this course. The intention is not to proselytize, but to deal with this subject in a manner which is open-minded, sympathetic, and balanced.
This course is designed to fulfill the Substantial Writing Component requirement. Accordingly, students will be asked to write three papers (6-8 pages) on topics to be announced in class. In addition to marshalling evidence from the ancient texts themselves, students will be invited to compare and contrast ancient attitudes with their own experience of modern social constructions of homosexuality. The course grade will be based on the three papers (20% each), a final examination in essay format (20%), and class discussion, including attendance (20%). The papers will be graded on style, organization, quality of documentation and argument. Students of all personal backgrounds and viewpoints are welcome in this class; no one will be graded on their personal philosophy. The only requirement is that students have an open mind and a sense of mutual tolerance.
Feb. 28: Paper #1 due.
Mar. 28: Paper #2 due.
May 8: Paper #3 due (5:00 PM).