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Other Classics 320: Women in Classical Antiquity resources available in Diotima

SYLLABUS - CLASSICS 320 (cross-listed as WMST 320)
Fall 1995 - UMCP
Instructor: Lillian Doherty
Office: 2407D Marie Mount Hall
Phone: 405-2022 (You may leave messages for me at this number, or at 405-2013)
Office hours: Mon., Wed. and Fri., 1:00 - 2:00; other times by appointment

1. Elaine Fantham, Helene Foley, Natalie Kampen, Sarah Pomeroy, and H. Alan Shapiro, Women in the Classical World. Referred to in syllabus as "Fantham."
2. Thelma Sargent, translator, The Homeric Hymns
3. Jane Snyder, The Woman and the Lyre. Referred to in syllabus as "Snyder."
4. You must also purchase a packet of photocopied materials (supplementary readings) at College Copy Center, 4511 Knox Rd., College Park (a block off Route 1, behind the 'Vous). Referred to in syllabus as "packet."


The people registered for this course will have many reasons for being here. This syllabus is designed to give you a clear idea of what I, the teacher, expect the course to accomplish. But in order to be a success for you, it will also require your "input" in the form of careful thought, hard work, and cooperation with other students. I pledge to do my best to help you learn, from me, from others, and on your own; but I will not simply present information for you to "give back" on tests. We will do individual and collaborative research on topics which you will help to select; then we will share the results of this research with one another. If you stay in the coursewhich is still your decision to makeplease stay because you want to be a part of this joint effort.
I recognize that most of you do not have extensive backgrounds in the topics to be covered by the course. Thus it will be my task to introduce you to the material, and to guide you in locating and analyzing sources of evidence. But all of you have backgrounds or interests in some areas related to the course; it will be your task to identify these areas, and to make connections between your previous knowledge and the new knowledge you plan to acquire this semester. All of us (myself included) will work on honing our critical skills: 1) the ability to grasp the ideas and viewpoints presented in various forms of writing and other media, 2) the ability to evaluate and compare these ideas and viewpoints, and 3) the ability to formulate and present (orally and in writing) ideas and viewpoints of our own on the issues involved. Few if any of you plan to become professional "classicists" like myself; but all of you, in the course of your lives, will be called on to make decisions on complex issues and to communicate your ideas to others. Some of these issues are sure to involve the relationships between women and men, or between different groups of women. Thus the skills to be developed in this course, and the subject matter on which we will focus, should be relevant to all of our lives.
Critical skills are best developed in discussion and in essays. The course will thus emphasize discussion, in small groups or among the class as a whole, though some lectures will be necessary for background. Writing assignments will be designed to help you develop both your analytical skills and the clarity of your writing. Each student will be encouraged to exchange rough drafts of papers with a "writing partner" or with members of a study group before submitting the final versions. This semester, the assignments are designed to take advantage of museum exhibits in the area, especially the "Pandora's Box" exhibit at the Walters Art Gallery in Baltimore. Students will visit this and at least one other exhibit, and write their own reviews or critiques; for the final project, groups of students will produce "catalogs" for imaginary exhibits they design themselves. In addition, one 6-8 page critique of a modern article will be required. To encourage you to keep up with the reading (which is essential to the course and amounts to 20-30 pages per class), there will be occasional in-class writing assignments and two scheduled quizzes.

The final grade will be weighted as follows:
Class participation (including attendance, group work, and final group project): 30%
Two reviews of exhibits (15% each): 30%
One 6-8 page critique: 20%
Quizzes and in-class papers: 20%

I think it is important to be aware that the study of women's lives in the past has come about largely because of the modern women's movement--the efforts of women to "raise consciousness" ( = make ourselves aware) of inequities in the relations between women and men, and to work toward elimination of those inequities. I hope to foster an atmosphere in which students will be free to speak their minds; I pledge never to assign grades on the basis of opinions. (Grades will be based on how well you argue for your positions and support them with evidence.) But I will also be honest about my own views. I am very much in favor of equality between the sexes, and believe it is important to learn what we can about women's experiences in the past if we wish to improve their opportunities in the future. For Americans, whose culture is largely derived from the Western (European) tradition, it is especially important to understand the Greek and Roman attitudes toward women that helped to shape this tradition.


Please be sure to do each assignment before the class at which it will be discussed; make a habit of bringing the relevant text(s) to class, so we can refer to them. Please also let me know as soon as possible if you will be absent for religious observance on Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, or other holidays; if necessary, I will arrange make ups of the material to be covered in classes you need to miss.

Sept. 6 - First class meeting. Read syllabus carefully!
8 - Rationale for the course; discussion. Read handout and bring it to class.

Sept. 11 - Evaluating evidence for women's lives in the ancient world. Slide lecture.
Read Fantham pp. 5-12 and excerpts from Winkler and Barber (in packet).
13 - Evaluating evidence - discussion in small groups. Handout.
15 - Groups report back to the class; 2-3 page paper due.

Sept. 18 - "Women's culture." Read excerpt from Jill Dubisch, "Gender, Kinship and
Religion" (in packet); be sure to bring the reading to class.
20 - Ideology as contested rather than monolithic. Read Anna Meigs, "Multiple
Gender Ideologies and Statuses" (in packet); bring reading to class.
22 - Women's history on display. Read B. Melosh and C. Simmons, "Exhibiting
Women's History" (in packet); bring reading to class.

Sept. 25 - Differences among women. Read excerpts from Mary Romero, Maid
in the U.S.A.; Bonnie Thornton Dill, Across the Boundaries of Race
and Class; and Fantham pp. 50-53.
27 - Historical background: women in ancient Egypt. Slide lecture.
Read pp. 40-58 of Barbara Lesko, "Women of Egypt and the Ancient
Near East" (in packet).
29 - Women in ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia: textual evidence. Read pp. 59 74 of Lesko article, plus handout.


Oct. 2 - The Minoans; slide lecture. Read excerpt by Ehrenberg, in packet, and study handout on Minoan seal impressions.
4 - Evidence for Minoan religious practices in Thera. Read excerpts by Marinatos (in packet).
6 - No class. Work on first exhibit review.

Oct. 9 - First exhibit review due. Discussion of relations between Minoans and Mycenaeans (slide lecture).
11 - Comparison and critique of differing interpretations. Small group exercise. Read and bring to class articles by Rohrlich-Leavitt and Castleden (in packet).
13- General class discussion of comparison and critique of articles by Rohrlich-Leavitt and Castleden. Be sure to bring both to class.

Oct. 16 - Quiz (20 min.) on the Bronze Age. After quiz I will give an introduction to the new unit on Archaic Greece.

Oct. 18 - Visual evidence for the Archaic age. Slide lecture. Read Fantham ch. 1.
20 - Women and goddesses. Read the Homeric Hymn to Aphrodite (in Sargent's translation of the Homeric Hymns) and bring book to class.

Oct. 23 - Demeter. Read, and bring to class, the Homeric Hymn to Demeter.
25 - Archaic expressions of misogyny. Re-read descriptions of the creation of Pandora (Fantham pp. 40-42) and Semonides' poem on women (Fantham pp. 42-43) and bring book to class.
27 - Introduction to the poetry of Sappho. Read Snyder ch. 1 and bring to class.

Oct. 30 - Comparison of translations: read versions of Sappho poems in handout and compare with Snyder's versions. Exchange first drafts of article critique with writing partner (be sure to keep a hard copy for yourself). Be sure to
choose a partner who is writing on a different article from the one you chose.
Nov. 1 - The poetry of Sappho, continued. Return first draft of article critique to your writing partner with feedback.


Nov. 3 - Individual Athenian women: Neaera and the lover of Eratosthenes. Re read "On the Murder of Eratosthenes" (handout from beginning of semester), read "Against Neaera" (new handout), and bring to class. NOTE: The exhibit, "Pandora's Box," opens at the Walters Gallery on Nov. 5.

Nov. 6 - Article critique due. Visual images of women in 5th c. Athens: slide lecture. Read Fantham ch. 3, pp. 68-96.
8 - Legal status of Athenian women. Read rest of Fantham ch. 3, pp. 96-124.
10 - Legal status of Athenian women, cont'd. Read "Against a Stepmother" (handout).

Nov. 13 - Form groups and begin planning "imaginary exhibits." Use reserve books
in Hornbake Library for ideas, background, and reproductions.
15 - Women in Athenian tragedy. Re-read Fantham pp. 68-74 and read Euripides' Hippolytus (handout); bring play to class.
17 - Women in tragedy and the "real" women of Athens; discussion.

Nov. 20 - Sparta: contrasting roles for women. Read Fantham ch. 2.
22 - Quiz (20 min.) on Archaic & Classical Greece, followed by introduction to the Hellenistic age. Read Fantham ch. 5.
24 - No class; Thanksgiving holiday.


Nov. 27 - Groups turn in 1-2 page descriptions of "imaginary exhibits," explaining both content and unifying concepts. Discussion of Hellenistic women poets. Read Snyder ch. 3.
29 - The identity and significance of Cleopatra. Read article by Shelley Haley
(in packet).
Dec. 1 - Individual women of the late Republic: the wives of Antony. Read Fantham ch. 9.

Dec. 4 - Review of "Pandora's Box" due. Images of Roman women: slide lecture. Read Fantham pp. 211-215 and ch. 7.
6 - Roman women writers. Read Snyder ch. 5 and compare translations of Sulpicia's poems in handout with those in Snyder (pp. 130-134). Read
poems of Propertius (handout) and compare with those of Sulpicia.

Dec. 8 - Lecture on legal status of Roman women. No reading assignment; work on
research projects.

Dec. 11 - Concluding discussion. Read Snyder pp. 152-56 and editorial from the Washington Times (handout).

CATALOGS of "imaginary exhibits" DUE at the time scheduled for final exam: Sat., Dec. 16, 10:30 A.M. Instead of a final exam, we will view sample panels from the "imaginary exibits" and share a celebratory lunch (I'll provide the food).

Other Classics 320 Resources:

Assignment sheets and Project/Paper Guidelines Miscellaneous Resources