Courses in Hellenic Studies
FRESHMAN SEMINAR - Spring 2017
Empires of the Ancient World
There were many empires in antiquity, but the three largest and most famous (apart from Han China) will be the subject of this seminar. These are the Persian Empire founded by Cyrus the Great; the empire of Alexander the Great, who conquered the Persian Empire; and the Roman Empire, which encompassed the entire Mediterranean World. In addition to examining these particular empires as case studies, we will address some important general questions throughout the semester: What makes an empire an empire (as opposed to a hegemony or an alliance)? Do all empires necessarily follow the same trajectory of birth, growth, decay, and death? Or is it possible, through wise polices and good luck, to break out of this pattern? Is an empire always a bad thing for those who are the subjects? The rulers are usually seen as exploiters, but does empire bring negative consequences for them as well? Are some empires more benevolent than others — or is it paternalistic even to speak of a "benevolent" empire? And finally, can something useful be learned from the successes and failures (economic, social, and military) of these ancient empires that can guide today's superpowers?
Michael Flower, Seminar: 1:30 – 4:20 pm Th
UNDERGRADUATE COURSES Spring 2017
Intermediate Modern Greek
HLS 107/MOG 107
Advanced composition and oral practice aimed at developing idiomatic written and spoken style. Discussions entirely in Greek. Introduces students to contemporary Greek culture and literature through the study of works by Cavafy, Sikelianos, Seferis, Elytis, Ritsos, and Anagnostakis, among others. Readings from articles on current Greek topics.
Nikolas Kakkoufa, Class: 12:30-1:20 pm M T W Th
The World of Late Antiquity
HIS 210/HLS 210/CLA 202
This course will focus on the history of the later Roman Empire, a period which historians often refer to as "Late Antiquity." We will begin our class in pagan Rome at the start of the third century and end it in Baghdad in the ninth century: in between these two points, the Mediterranean world experienced a series of cultural and political revolutions whose reverberations can still be felt today. We will witness civil wars, barbarian invasions, the triumph of Christianity over paganism, the fall of the Western Empire, the rise of Islam, the Greco-Arabic translation movement and much more.
Jack B. Tannous, Class: 2:30 – 3:20 pm MW
Traditions, Tales, and Tunes: Slavic and East European Folklore
COM 236/SLA 236/HLS 236/ANT 383
This course explores oral traditions and oral literary genres (in English translation) of the Balkan and
East European world, both past and present, including traditions that draw from the Christian, Muslim, and Jewish East European communities. Topics include traditional rituals (life-cycle and seasonal) and the music and song associated with them, contemporary forms of traditional and popular culture, and oral traditional narrative: poetry (epic and ballad) and prose (folktale and legend). Discussion and analysis will focus on the role and meaning of Balkan and East European oral traditions as forms of expressive culture.
Margaret Beissinger, Class: 1:30 – 2:50 pm TTh
Introduction to Post-Classical Greek from the Late Antique to the Byzantine Era
CLG 240/HLS 240
This course will focus on Biblical Greek and the emergence of a 'common' Greek language (Koinê). We will read excerpts from the Septuagint (the Greek translation of the Hebrew bible), the New Testament, and a variety of texts in order to understand how Greek evolved to become the 'common tongue' of a Hellenized eastern Mediterranean world of Jews, Pagans, Christians, Romans and Greeks.
Emmanuel C. Bourbouhakis, Seminar: 3:00 – 4:20 pm TTh
Greek Tragedy from Ancient Athens to Ferguson
CLA 242/HLS 242/THR 242/HUM 242
This course will consider Greek tragedy, its ancient context, and modern responses by focusing on the three canonical Greek tragedians: Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides. We will also incorporate comparative readings from the history of drama and philosophy. Dramatic authors include Aristophanes, Seneca, Racine, Wole Soyinka, Sarah Kane, Anne Carson; philosophical authors include Plato, Aristotle, Hegel, Nietzsche. The course will conclude by considering recent activist uses of Greek tragedy, such as The Medea Project and Antigone in Ferguson.
Joshua H. Billings, Class: 3:00-4:20 pm TTh
Aristotle and His Successors
PHI 301/HLS 302
We shall study Aristotle's contributions in logic, natural philosophy, metaphysics, and ethics, with emphasis on the ongoing philosophical interest of some of his central insights. We shall compare some of Aristotle's views with those of some of his successors, Hellenistic and beyond.
Benjamin C. Morison, Class: 10 – 10:50 am T Th
The Formation of Christian Art
ART 316/HLS 316/CLA 213
Art in late antiquity has often been characterized as an art in decline, but this judgment is relative, relying on standards formulated for art of other periods. Challenging this assumption, we will examine the distinct and powerful transformations within the visual culture of the period between the third and sixth centuries AD. This period witnesses the mutation of the institutions of the Roman Empire into those of the Christian Byzantine Empire. The fundamental change in religious identity that was the basis for this development directly impacted the art from that era that will be the focus of this course.
Charlie Barber, Class: 1:30 – 2:50 pm MW
Topics in Ancient History: Religions in the Roman Empire
CLA 327/HIS327/HLS 327/REL 307
The course addresses a pivotal period of cultural and religious change in Mediterranean history and takes the form of an interdisciplinary journey among several religious communities living in the Roman Empire from the time of Augustus to the rise of Christianity. We will make use of the artistic, archeological and documentary record to learn about pagan sanctuaries, ancient synagogues and the earliest house churches used by Christians; and we will read ancient texts in order to understand the lives of the most influential historical players in the religious field, including the prophet Mani, Emperor Constantine and Julian 'the Apostate.'
Alberto Rigolio, Seminar: 1:30 – 4:20pm Th
From Eros to Sin: Augustine’s Transfiguration of Plato
REL 397/HUM 397/HLS 397
We will be attending to what is arguably the most influential translation in western culture of philosophy into a theological idiom. Where Plato speaks of eros and ignorance, Augustine speaks of grace and sin. There would seem to be a world of difference between the incarnate divinity of Augustine's affection and Plato's impersonal Form of the Good. And yet Augustine will say this of his distance from Plato and his heirs: "There are none who come nearer to us than the Platonists." This seminar will take the measure of this nearness and explore the nature and limits of secularization within a spiritually ambitious tradition of philosophy.
James R. Wetzel, Seminar: 1:30 – 4:20pm W
Modern Greek for Classicists, Byzantinists, Archaeologists, and Art Historians
HLS 400/MOG 400/CLA 400
This course is for students who have a solid knowledge of ancient or medieval Greek and want to study Modern Greek as a foreign language and the evolution of the Greek language, from ancient to modern. Students will learn to respond to basic communicative situations, when traveling to Greece for study or research. The course will stress language acquisition proficiency and literacy, and will also lead students to re-approach their knowledge of Greek (including changes in grammatical and syntactical use). Focus on contemporary Greek culture, as well as a wide range of readings, from Homer to the present.
Nikolas Kakkoufa, Class: 11:00 am – 12:20 pm TTh
Attic Vase-Painting: Style, Subject and Social Context
ART 412/CLA 412/HLS 412
Attic black-figure and red-figure vases constitute the largest surviving body of ancient Greek pictorial imagery. Diverse in shape, style, and subject, they provide an important but imperfect window on Athenian society. This class explores a range of issues in Attic vase-painting, with particular emphasis on red-figure pottery, ca. 530-460 B.C. The class will meet in The Art Museum, and will make full use of the exhibition, The Berlin Painter and his World. Students will handle and learn from actual vases in a context of guided discussions and shared insights, and produce a final research paper on an agreed topic.
J. Michael Padgett, Seminar: 1:30 – 4:20 pm M
Mediterranean Contingencies: Byzantium and its Medieval Others
COM 429/HLS 429/MED 429
Well before other Medieval societies (both Christian and Muslim), Byzantium was already flourishing in the 4th century. This self-proclaimed “New Rome” faced unprecedented opportunities and challenges: first growing into an immense Mediterranean political empire and later shrinking politically while retaining an exceptional cultural influence. Topics we will consider include: definitions of Byzantium over its 1,100-year evolution; its historical and cultural links with the medieval and Renaissance West; the intricacies of ethnicity and race, and their literary expression in such authors/texts as Chrétien de Troyes’ Cligés, Boccaccio’s Decameron, Martorell’s Tirant, and Byzantine romance.
Marina Brownlee, Seminar: 1:30 – 4:20pm W
GRADUATE COURSES Spring 2017
The Philosophy of Aristotle: Geometry and the Posterior Analytics
PHI 501/CLA 519/HLS 508
A presentation of the Aristotelian theory of science in Posterior Analytics and its application to the geometry of Aristotle's time.
Benjamin C. Morison, Seminar: 10:00 am 12:50 pm M
Medieval Musical Style and Notation
MUS 504/HLS 540
Examines musical notation along paleographic, semiotic, and aesthetic lines, and addresses theoretical and practical problems of transcription. Focuses on earliest notations of the Christian east and west and later, the emergence of rhythmic notation.
Jamie L. Reuland, Seminar: 1:30 - 4:20 pm Th
Problems in Greek Literature: Forms of Fiction in the Imperial Period: Achilles Tactius in Context
CLA 514/HLS 518
A study of the Greek novel against the background of various modes of fictional representation current in the Imperial period. Achilles Tatius is the key text through which we explore the complex interactions between the novel, rhetorical declamations, the theatrical genres of mime and pantomime and the visual arts, in search of ancient conceptions of the novel and of fiction as artistic, social and cultural phenomena. We also look at other Greek and Roman novels and at Second Sophistic authors such as Lucian and Philostratus. Secondary readings include Bakhtin, Elsner, Morgan, Pavel, Reardon, Schaeffer, Whitmarsh, and Zeitlin.
Ruth H. Webb, Seminar: 1:30 – 4:20pm Th
Problems in Byzantine History: Byzantium in the 10th Century: The Age of Reconquest
HIS 542/HLS 542/MED 542
The De thematibus, a mid-tenth-century historical-geographical gazeteer of the eastern Roman/Byzantine empire ascribed to the emperor Constantine VII, remains a somewhat under-investigated text both in terms of language, its historical and geographical information, and its structure. In this seminar we will commence a complete translation of this important text into English and a detailed section by section commentary. We will compare Byzantine geographical writings with that of contemporary Arab writers and discuss the sources and the historical and cultural-historical importance of the genre and the texts individually.
John F. Haldon, Seminar: 1:30 – 4:20 pm W
Problems in Ancient History: Introduction to Ancient and Medieval Numismatics
CLA 548/HLS 548
A seminar covering the basic methodology of numismatics, including die, hoard and archaeological analysis as well as a survey of pre-modern coinages. The Western coinage tradition is covered, from its origins in the Greco-Persian world through classical and Hellenistic Greek coinage, Roman imperial and provincial issues, Parthian and Sasanian issues, the coinage of Byzantium, the Islamic world, and medieval and renaissance Europe. Student’s research and report on problems involving coinages related to their own areas of specialization. Open to undergraduates by permission of the instructor.
Alan Stahl, Seminar: 1:30 – 4:20 pm W
Methods in Byzantine Literature and Philology
CLA 598/MED 598//HLS 598
This course emphasizes proficiency in post-Classical and Medieval Greek language through close readings and translations of literature. In addition to surveying the principal genres of literature and the questions surrounding them, it also introduces Ph.D. students to the instrumenta studiorum of Late Antique and Byzantine philology, such as palaeography, codicology, text editing, databases and bibliography.
Emmanuel C. Bourbouhakis, Seminar: TBA
COURSES OF INTEREST Spring 2017
Seminar in Medieval Art: “Influence” and Innovation
ART 537/MED 500
The course explores the vexed concept of "influence" in medieval art through case studies involving exchange between Eastern/Western Christian, Jewish, Pagan, and Islamic traditions. The seminar proceeds as a research workshop: each unit requires students to prepare a research agenda, present initial findings, and contribute to the course bibliography. In lieu of a single paper, students may compile a portfolio of short critical essays with a general introduction/conclusion. Readings balance historical and contemporary approaches to exceptionally complex monuments, along with theoretical texts drawn both from art history and other fields.
Beatrice E. Kitzinger, Seminar: 1:30 – 4:20pm Th
From Pandora to Psychopathy: Evil from Antiquity to the Present
CLA 255/PHI 255/CHV 255
This lecture course examines past and present explanations of the existence of evil. The focus does not lie on natural evils (such as earthquakes or epidemics) but on the problem of moral evil. Lectures and precepts are devoted to the critical evaluation of the numerous theories that purport to explain and understand human wickedness. The course is highly interdisciplinary, drawing upon a broad tradition of reflection about evil, in philosophy, literature, the world religions, and modern psychology, and gives students the opportunity actively to engage with one of the most relevant and acute questions in the humanities.
Christian Wildberg, Class: 10:00 – 10:50 am MW
Citizenships Ancient and Modern
CLA 310/CHV 314/AAS 311/POL 310
Recent developments in the United States and throughout the world have exposed fault lines in how communities design and regulate forms of citizenship. But current debates over the assignment, withholding, or deprivation of citizen status have a long and violent history. In this course we will attempt to map a history of citizenship from the ancient Mediterranean world to the 21st century. Questions to be tackled include: who/what is a citizen? (How) are exclusion and marginalization wired into the historical legacies and present-day practices of citizenship?
Dan-El Padilla Peralta, Class: 11:00 – 11:50 pm TTh
Problems in Greek History: Classical and Hellenistic Inscriptions
Greek inscriptions provide especially valuable information on the political life, institutions and social structures of Greek society. The aim of the course is to give an introduction to the use of epigraphic documents in historical research. The sessions are devoted to the analysis of particular aspects of Greek society (e. g. relationships between city and country, king and city, Greeks and non-Greeks) on the basis of inscriptions from the Classical and Hellenistic periods.
Marc Domingo Gygax, Seminar: 6:00 – 8:50 pm T
Plato’s Legacy in the Middle-Ages
MED 336/CLA 337
A survey of the most important Neoplatonic philosophers and Christian writers of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages influenced by Neoplatonism, up to the late 13th century; the emphasis is very much on the reception of Plato's dialogue Timaeus, more specifically on the creation of the world.
Daniela E. Mairhofer, Class: 1:00 – 12:20 pm MW
Gendered Fictions of Translation
COM 307/GSS 325/TRA 307
Translation is a marginalized literary activity; the work of female translators, and of international female writers, is underrepresented in the current publishing market. At the same time, fictive representations of translators, and particularly female translators, abound. This course examines the gendered politics of invisibility that informs popular discourse surrounding translation. We will read primarily works of fiction by women, translated by women, and/or about a female translator. The course thus enacts its own politics of selection, upending gendered statistics regarding whose work we read, and how.
Karen R. Emmerich, Seminar 1:30 – 4:20 pm M
Intellectual History of Europe Since 1880
HIS 424/ECS 424
This course is an introduction to Modern Intellectual History. It will examine the period from 1870-1960 focusing on several main trends and key figures. Late nineteenth century authors like Nietzsche, Weber, and Freud will be examined against the backdrop of the classical social theories of Marx and Mill. The era of totalitarianism after World War I will be examined with particular attention to Communism, Nazism (Carl Schmitt), and the debates over humanism and existentialism. The course will conclude with discussions of thinkers during the Cold War including, Raphael Lemkin, Jean-Paul Sartre, and Hannah Arendt.
Anson G. Rabinbach, Seminar: 1:30 – 4:20 pm M
European Politics and Society in the 20th Century
EPS 300/POL 384
The course aims to cover the critical developments of twentieth-century Europe and the consolidation of democracy in European countries. It will deal with the legacy of the two world wars, Nazism, Stalinism, the Cold War, the legacy of colonialism and decolonization, the birth and development of the European Community, the development of the welfare state, the problems confronting the European Union (immigration, enlargement, political institutions, military role, and the single currency), and the varieties of democratic institutions in Europe.
Ezra N. Suleiman, Juliane Tomann, Seminar: 11:00 – 12:20 pm TTh
Archaic and Classical Greece
CLA 216/HIS 216
The social, political, and cultural history of ancient Greece from ca.750 B.C. through the time of the Peloponnesian War (404 B.C.). Special attention is paid to the emergence of the distinctively Greek form of political organization, the city state, and to democracy, imperialism, social practices, and cultural developments. Emphasis is placed on study of the ancient sources, methods of source analysis, and historical reasoning.
Marc Domingo Gygax, Class: 3:30 – 4:20 pm MW
Between Resistance and Collaboration:
The Second World War in Europe
In the broader context of conflict between fascism, communism, and liberal democracy, we shall examine various patterns and methods of occupation, collaboration, and resistance during World War II in Western and Eastern Europe. The Holocaust of European Jewry and the technology of terror will be discussed. We will try to ascertain how elites and different social strata were affected by the impact of war and occupation. Students will be asked to read historical studies as well as personal narratives by eyewitnesses and participants.
Jan T. Gross, Lecture: 10:00 – 10:50 am TTh
Art and Music in the Middle-Ages
MUS 432/MED 432/ART 433
In the liturgical and courtly culture of the Middle-Ages, music and the visual arts were inseparable. To examine art and music together is the aim of this course, integrating these two fields of study as they were integrated in their historical context. Working through case studies from the ninth through the fifteenth centuries--including the mystic plays of Hildegard of Bingen, the scurrilous satire of the Roman de Fauvel, and Jan van Eyck's Ghent altarpiece--we focus on rich sites of intersection between art and music. Final and midterm projects creative and collaborative in nature.
Jamie L. Reuland, Beatrice E. Kitzinger, Seminar: 1:30 – 4:20 pm T
The Christians in the Middle East
This course is about the Christians in the Middle from the appearance of Christianity until including the Arab Spring. In light of the recent developments in Iraq and Syria, this course's aim is to discuss (and overcome) the idea of endangered minorities by especially focusing on their cultural, political and social contributions throughout the centuries, and on how contemporary Christians have looked at their own history, their identity(ties) and presence in the region. Besides, the course will also explore current Muslim discourses on Christians and the modalities of religious coexistence.
Anna Hager, Seminar: 1:30 – 4:20 pm M
The Late Ottoman Empire
This course focuses on the Westernization movement, Ottoman administrative reforms, Young Ottoman, Young Turk, and ethnic-nationalist movements. In addition great diplomatic crises of 19th and 20th century and the emergence of modern Turkey will be examined.
Mehmed Sükrü Hanioglu, Seminar: 9:00 – 11:50 am F
Paleography and Doplomatic Documents
An introduction to Ottoman paleography and diplomatics. The documents will be in divani and rika scripts.
Mehmed Sükrü Hanioglu, Seminar: 1:30 – 4:20 pm F
Comparative Ethnic Conflict
This course introduces students to the study of ethnic conflict. We will examine different theories of ethnically-based identification and mobilization; cover different types of ethnic conflict such as riots, genocide, hate crime and war; and study past and present cases of ethic conflict around the world.
Deniz Aksoy, Course: 10:00 – 10:50 am MW
The New Testament and Christian Origins
To trace the origins of Christianity from its beginnings as a movement within ancient Judaism to its gradual transformation and emergence as an independent religious movement in the Roman Empire and beyond. To read the New Testament with a critical eye, i.e., as a collection of documents illustrating differing emphases and stages in the growth of early Christianity.
John G. Gager, Class: 11:00 – 11:50 am MW
Studies in Greco-Roman Religions:
Late Antique Jewish Texts and Material Culture in Christian Context
The fifth through eighth centuries saw the emergence of a variety of forms of literature outside the rabbinic corpus among Jews in Palestine & Babylonia. At the same time, Jewish communities in Palestine & elsewhere commissioned a significant body of mosaics & other ritual & decorative objects for their synagogues. We consider both texts & material evidence to develop a more variegated picture of Jews & Judaism in late antiquity, with units on the liturgical poetry (piyyut) & mosaic art of the synagogue, apocalyptic literature & hekhalot texts, & the narrative midrash Pirqei Rabbi Eliezer, in their larger, primarily Christian, context.
Ra’anan S. Abusch and Martha Himmelfarb, Seminar: 1:30 – 4:20 pm W
Radical Poetics, Radical Translation
COM 402/TRA 402
This course invites students to consider not just what poems mean but how they mean, and how that, how, complicates, challenges, obscures, enlivens, or collides with the task of translation. We will look at forms of poetry that challenge the limits of the translatable, as well as radical translation methods that expand our notion of what translation is. Examples include poems written in made-up languages; unstable texts; homophonic and visual translation; erasure poetics; and multilingual poems. Exploring the places where poetry and translation meet (or diverge), we will put traditional concepts of originality and derivation to the test.
Karen R. Emmerich, Seminar: 1:30 – 4:20 pm T
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