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Syllabus, oral report topics, and final paper directions for

CLASSICS 300 - The Roots of Western Sexuality
Dr. J. Francis, Rollins College (Fall 1993)


Graeco-Roman Antiquity offers a "distant mirror" to our own culture and time. Much of what we see is hauntingly familiar, presenting the roots of many of our own beliefs, values, modes of thinking, and attitudes. At the same time, however, there is much that appears strange, alien, and contrary to our most treasured ideas and assumptions. Nowhere is this truer than in the realm of sexuality and sexual behavior. This course will examine the topic of ancient sexuality both for its own sake, as historical knowledge, and as it relates to our own attitudes, values, and practices, as a sort of "dialogue" between past and present.

A vast amount of work has appeared on this topic, often simply ignored by scholars in the past, within the past 15 years. Insights have come not only from the fields of Classics and History, but also from modern Literary Criticism, Philosophy, Sociology, Psychology, and most especially Feminist and Gay/Lesbian Studies. This work is so recent, that no consensus opinion has been reached on any of the issues involved. We, therefore, have the opportunity in this course not only to "apprehend" but also to "construct" knowledge. This is my intention, that we together examine both the ancient texts and other evidence, along with the interpretations various scholars have placed upon it, and employ our individual and collective thought, criticism, judgment, and experience to determine what can be known and how it can be known. This course will be conducted as a "working seminar" as far as possible.


* also on reserve in Olin Library


As stated above, this course will be conducted as a working seminar. Rigorous emphasis will be placed on reading, thinking, and speaking. You must come to each class with your reading thoughtfully prepared. Jot down notes as you read regarding significant ideas, the overall key point of the passage, and your own thoughts and criticisms - you will find this organizes your thinking and will allow you to participate readily in class discussion. Use your own ideas, views, and experience. Don't be afraid to disagree with an author, but do so thoughtfully. I fully intend to respect every shade of opinion on this subject (call me to task if I err in this regard) and require you to do the same. This topic lends itself to both strong and deeply personal opinions; feel free to express them but always in a way that respects the other members of the class.

In the course of the semester, you will be required to make one report on outside reading. These reports are noted on the class schedule and volunteers will be accepted on a first-come first- served basis. For these reports, you will present a one-page written summary of the reading to be distributed to the class, followed by a brief oral report on the significance of the reading.

The chief assignment for this course will be one paper of a minimum length of 15 pages of written text, due at the end of classes before the scheduled final exam. More information will be forthcoming. Generally, however, I would suggest your taking a particular ancient author or text that interests you and expound on how this text or author illustrates a particular aspect of Graeco-Roman sexuality, as discussed in the modern authors read for the course. Topics must be approved by me beforehand, by a date that will be specified, and at least one conference to discuss the paper as you are working on it will be required.


There will be one, final exam for this course held during the scheduled period. We will meet together, and each of you will present a brief synopsis of your final paper. The floor will then be open for questions and discussion from your fellow- students and myself. (Don't worry! This is meant to be a friendly academic chat, not a grill session. The purpose is to solidify and share the knowledge we've constructed.)


Quality of class participation, report(s), and final exam will each constitute 20% of your final grade. The final paper will constitute 40%.


Given the nature and structure of the course, attendance at each class session is expected and vital to success in the course (remember that quality of participation accounts for 20%). As this course meets twice a week, more than four absences during the semester (the equivalent of two weeks of the course) will result in the immediate failure of the entire course. I realize that crises and extenuating circumstances occur, please see me in such cases for an exception to this policy.


Below is a list of books that have been put on reserve at Olin Library for this course. All are pertinent to this course and provide further specific information and analysis on the topics we will be covering. Browse through them at your leisure to see what they contain. They will be extremely useful in researching your final paper. Outside readings for reports are taken from these books.


Sep 8  -  Introductions (mutual)

- Approaches, Issues, Orientations 13 - J. Henderson, "Greek Attitudes Towards Sex," in Civilization of the Ancient Mediterranean, vol. 2, pp. 1249-63, in Olin reference - Ref DE59 .C55 1988; GV: Introduction, pp. 1-19. 15 - Foucault 2, pp. 15-32; GV: Archilochus, pp. 53-5; Mimnermos, pp. 69-70; Epigrams, pp. 187-88.
20 - Foucault 2, pp. 35-62, 78-93; GV: Anacreon, pp. 87-92; Theognis, #1231, 1271, 1283, 1317, 1319, 1323, 1337, 1357, 1377, 1381, 1386. 22 - Foucault 3, pp. 4, 17-36.
- Classical Athens: Man's Country or Gentleman's Club? 27 - Aristophanes, Lysistrata. *** report: B. Zweig, "The Mute Nude Female Characters in Aristophanes' Plays," P&R, pp. 73-89. 29 - MARRIAGE: Foucault 2, pp. 143-84.
Oct 4 - MARRIAGE: Richlin, Introduction, pp. xi-xxi; Keuls, pp. 98-128. *** report: Pomeroy, pp. 79-92. - Greek Women: Mute or Silenced? 6 - Keuls, pp. 1-14, 33-64. *** report: Pomeroy, pp. 1-31.
11 - Keuls, pp. 204-228; GV: Sappho, pp. 71-81. *** reports: Pomeroy, pp. 32-56. Pomeroy, pp. 57-78. 13 - FEMALE PROSTITUTION: Keuls, pp. 153-203; GV: Machon, pp. 179-181, Pindar #122; R. Sutton, "Pornography and Persuasion on Attic Pottery," in P&R, pp. 3-35.
- The Good Wife and the Wicked Witch? 18 - Euripides, Alcestis. *** report: Pomeroy, pp. 93-119. 20 - Euripides, Medea. *** report: Keuls, pp. 329-348.
- What if they take over? 25 - Aristophanes, Congresswomen (Ecclesiasuzae). - Greek Homosexuality: Boys will be boys? 27 - Dover, pp. 1-39. *** reports: Halperin, One Hundred Years, pp. 1-12. Winkler, Constraints of Desire, pp. 45-70.
Nov 1 - Dover, pp. 49-124; GV: Ibycus, pp. 83-86; Theognis, pp. 93-109; Callimachus, pp. 135-39; Misc. Lyric, #873, 900-901. 3 - Foucault 2, pp. 187-225. *** report: H. Shapiro, "Eros in Love: Pederasty and Pornography in Greece," in P&R, pp. 53-72.
- From Homoeroticism to Philosophy 8 - Plato, Symposium. 10 - Dover, pp. 153-70; Foucault 2, pp. 229-46. *** report: Halperin, One Hundred Years, pp. 113-151.
- Farewell to sunny Greece, with one problem 15 - Euripides, Hippolytus. - A New World? 17 - ROME: Foucault 3, pp. 39-68, 81-95. *** report: M. Meyerwitz, "The Domestication of Desire: Ovid's Parva Tabella and the Theater of Love," in P&R, pp. 131-157.
22 - GV: Meleager, pp. 189-93; Catullus, read in this order #5, 7, 2, 3, 72, 70, 86, 87, 83, 37, 75, 76, 92, 85, 107, 109, 11 (the Lesbia poems), then #6, 42, 48, 99. *** report: Catullus' life and career. 24 - GV: Horace, pp. 225-31; Ovid, pp. 263-75. *** report: Ovid's life and career.
29 - THE BIRTH OF ROMANCE: Foucault 3, pp. 189-210, 228-32; GV: Anacreon #417 (p.92) & Theognis #1249, 1267. Archilochus #23 (p.56) & Theognis #1238. Theognis #1283, 1323 & Catullus #8. Tibullus 1.4 & 1.8. Callimachus 42 (p.137) & the Grenfell Papyrus. Catullus #45. Dec 1 - THE BODY: Foucault 3, pp. 99-144
6 - THE "NEW" MARRIAGE: Foucault 3, pp. 72-80, 147-85. 8 - LATE ANTIQUITY & CHRISTIANITY: Foucault 3, pp. 235-40.
13 - FINAL EXAM: Monday, 2-4 PM.