Fall 2015 -
Undergraduate Course Description
Discipline and Number
10:00 AM - 11:15 AM
|Ancient Greek Thought
Description of Course:
In this undergraduate course we will be studying the great texts of the fifth-century Greek Enlightenment. Our approach will be philosophical -- as we attempt to read Greek tragedy, Greek history, and Greek rhetoric through the lens of philosophical hermeneutics. In the simplest of terms, my hope is to introduce undergraduate students to the language, thought, and culture of the ancient world.
By reading literary and philosophical texts with care, we will learn to think about language in a radically different way. But our focus will not merely be formal or structural. Rather, we will explore the tensions/aporias that haunt the Greek world, tensions between nature and culture (physis and nomos), between justice and power, between ethics and political expediency. My hope here is to rethink the relationship between philosophy and tragedy by situating texts within their historical context and reading historical context against the tensions within the texts. Ultimately, our aim is to read texts slowly and with care---noticing how alterations, inflections, repetitions and interrogations can change the very meaning of a work for both characters and/or readers/audience.
Since I believe an undergraduate education is rooted in an understanding of the classical world, my aims are to situate our readings philosophically in terms of problems of human identity that persist into our own epoch: justice--ethics--language--truth--violence--deception--self-denial--hope--and our own inability to properly confront the uncanny dimensions of human existence.
Aeschylus, Oresteia (Agamemnon-Choepheroi-Eumenides)
Sophocles, Oedipus Rex
Thucydides, The History of the Peloponnesian War
Course Requirements/Evaluation Criteria:
Students will be expected to write three five-page essays,one short proposal and one in-class Protokoll delivered orally to the whole class.