New and highlighted Classics courses for Fall 2020

February 25, 2020

Listed below are some of the new and highlighted Fall 2020 course offerings from the Department of Classics.

Environmental and Sustainability Sciences Colloquium (CLASS 2000/ESS 2000)

Instructor: Verity Platt/Johannes Lehmann

Course Time: F 12:20-1:10 Discussion T 2:30-4:25

The colloquium presents students with diverse approaches used to interest, educate, and motivate people to consider, address, and solve environmental and sustainability challenges. The 1-credit version consists of a series of lectures given by experts with different specialities and perspectives who are addressing a variety of environmental and sustainability problems. The 3-credit version introduces an additional 2-credit option led by a professor in the Humanities, which will explore themes related to the lectures with a greater focus on eco-criticism across different disciplines and contemporary art practices. There will be readings connected to the lectures, together with discussions and short writing assignments, all aimed at developing critical thinking skills.

The Birth of Science: Discovering the World from Antiquity to Today (CLASS 2643)

Instructor: Courtney Roby

Course Time: MW 10:10-11:00 Discussion F 10:10-11:00

What can Aristotle, Archimedes, Hippocrates and other ancient scientists teach us about science as we know it today? In this course we will study the origins of scientific thought and experiment in mathematics, biology, medicine, astronomy and more in the ancient Mediterranean, comparing them to modern approaches as well as examples from classical China, the medieval Islamic world, Mesoamerica, and Africa. We will discuss questions about the philosophy of science and its socio-historical context and engage actively with ancient problem-solving methods. No prior knowledge of antiquity (or science!) required.

Magic and Witchcraft in the Greco-Roman World (CLASS 2646)

Instructor: Caitlín Barrett

Course Time: TR 2:55-4:10 Discussions T or F 11:15-12:05

This introductory course explores the roles of amulets, love potions, curse tablets, and many other magical practices in ancient Greek and Roman societies. In this course, you will learn how to invoke the powers of Abrasax, become successful and famous, get people to fall desperately in love with you, and cast horrible curses on your enemies! We will also examine a range of ancient and modern approaches to “magic” as a concept: what exactly do we mean by “magic,” and how does it relate to other spheres of activity, like religion, science, and philosophy? When people (in ancient times or today) label the practices of others as “magic,” what are the social and political consequences of that act? As we investigate the practices that Greeks and Romans considered “magical," we will also explore what those practices can teach us about many other aspects of life in the past, such as social class, gender, religion, and ethnic and cultural identity.

This is an introductory course with no prerequisites or prior background required. All readings are in English.

Archaeology of the Roman world: Italy and the West (CLASS 2711)

Instructor: Astrid Van Oyen

Course Time: TR 11:40-12:55

With megacities, long-distance trade, and fluid identities, the Roman empire can seem uncannily close to our modern world. This course adopts a thematic approach to explore whether this is a valid parallel, based on archaeological evidence ranging from temples to farms, from wine containers to statues.
Central topics include imperialism, urbanism, economy, and social life. What was the archaeological imprint of conquest? How did goods travel around such a wide geographical expanse? What images did people in Britain have of the emperor? In investigating these questions, we will explore methodological issues, such as what archaeological evidence can tell us, how to handle and describe objects (with various museum visits!), or how to introduce protagonists other than emperors and armies in our reconstructions of the Roman world. Throughout the course, we will question whether the modern world is a productive and valid parallel for archaeological study of the Roman world.

Students interacting with professor