Click here for Spring Semester Syllabus
(Click here for schedule of readings)
This course offers an unbiased forum for you to delve into (and grapple with) some of the texts that have captured the Western imagination for up to 3000 years—and, in so doing, to forge your own intellectual identity as an educated person living in a Western culture. This will only work if you (a) READ all the assigned texts attentively and on time, and (b) show up to every class session alert, enthusiastic, and ready to collaborate with your classmates in taking the text apart and inspecting it from numerous angles in order to figure out how it "works."
To help you stay motivated, class participation and preparation will account for 40% of your grade (see below); to meet minimum requirements, you should plan on speaking at least once in every class.
To help you prepare for our in-class discussion, you must visit the class webpage at http://humanities.psydeshow.org before each class session, peruse any material I have placed here for your benefit, and contribute to the online discussion. On your first visit to the website, when you click "Go To Discussion," you will be prompted to supply your name and a password. Enter your name as you would like it to appear above your message, and a password that you can easily remember. On future visits, this name and password will give you access to the discussion. Only members of this class will have access, so that your ideas are not available to the larger Web community.
Your online discussion contribution (ODC) should suggest or develop a thought-provoking line of inquiry concerning a theme, motif or passage you feel would merit our collective consideration in class. Be sure to submit your ODC no later than midnight before each class. Your contribution must be specific, and explicitly linked to a particular passage or passages in the text, which you should refer to in your ODC. Vague contributions with no textual backup will not be accepted.
To read more detailed guidelines for ODCs, click here.
Papers and Exams
In addition to the ODCs, you will be required to submit three papers of about 1000 words (4 double-spaced pages) each, and to sit a midterm and a final exam (see schedule for dates).
Your final grade will be calculated as follows:
A maximum of 3 unexcused absences is permitted. Absences will be excused only in cases of genuine need and with advance notification. Lateness is almost always avoidable, so please do your best to avoid it.
All work submitted must be your own, and must be produced exclusively for this course. Plagiarism is easier to detect than you may imagine, and carries gruesome penalties. I strongly suggest that you acquaint yourself with the definitions and consequences of plagiarism described in your school bulletin in order to avoid inadvertent transgression.
Tue. 11: Iliad, 13-18
Tue. 18: Rosh HaShanah—NO CLASS
Tue. 25: Odyssey, 1-8
Tue. 9 Herodotus, I:1-140 (pp.3-58);
II:1-5 (pp.86-88), 35-51 (pp.98-105),
Tue. 16: Oresteia (complete)
Tue. 23: Bacchae
Tue. 30: Thucydides, pp. 35-87, 124-164
Thu. 1: Thucydides, pp 194-245, 382-388,
400-408, 414-429, 447-449, 465-470, 525-537
Tue. 6: University holiday
Tue. 13: Symposium
Tue. 21: Genesis
Tue. 27: Exodus
MON. 10: Papers due at noon, to my mailbox in 708 Hamilton
FRI. 14: FINAL EXAM, 12.30-3.30 P.M. (location tba)
tr. Lattimore (University of Chicago)
Diana Hacker, The Bedford Handbook for Writers. This
is the required text for Logic and Rhetoric, so you will be obliged
to acquire it sometime this year in any case. The comments I make concerning
the mechanics of your papers will be based on, and keyed to, the guidelines
set forth in this book, so it will behoove you to acquaint yourself
to some extent with its contents before beginning to write. (Besides,
as writing manuals go, this one is pretty clear and easy to use.)
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Go to the Literature Humanities Homepage at Columbia