New and highlighted Classics courses for Fall 2021

February 25, 2021

Listed below are some of the new and highlighted Fall 2021 course offerings from the Department of Classics.

Introduction to Ancient Rome (CLASS 1615)

Instructor: Michael Fontaine

Course Time: MWF 1:30-2:20

Ancient Rome was a village the size of Ithaca that grew into a world empire. In this course students will be introduced to some of its literature, art, and famous personalities in the classical period (2nd c. BCE – 2nd c. CE) and will read some of the greatest masterpieces of Latin literature. Special attention will be given to the late republic, Augustan, and Hadrianic periods, to Roman ethics, and to the rise of Christianity. No prior knowledge of the ancient world is necessary. All readings are in English.

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

Instructor: Courtney Roby

Course Time: MW 1:30-2:20

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

Introduction to the Classical World in 24 Objects (CLASS 2700)

Instructor: Annetta Alexandridis

Course Time: MW 2:45-4:00

Did the Greeks really paint their marble statues? Did the Romans make wax death masks? Should the British Museum return the Parthenon Marbles to Greece? Come and explore all these questions and more in “An Introduction to the Ancient World in 24 Objects”. Each class will focus on a single artefact, showing how it is exemplary of key trends and historical moments in Greek and Roman culture, from the temples of ancient Athens to the necropoleis of Roman Egypt and the rainy outposts of Hadrian’s Wall. In addition to the history of Greco-Roman art in antiquity, we will explore the influence of Classical art on later Western culture, paying special attention to its complex (and often problematic) political ramifications. While focusing on major monuments from Classical antiquity in class, we will also examine Cornell’s collection of plaster casts, ancient objects in the Johnson Museum, and the Greek and Roman collections in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

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

Instructor: Astrid Van Oyen

Course Time: TR 11:25-12:40

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.

Roman Law (CLASS 2806)

Instructor: Nicole Giannella

Course Time: MWF 1:30-2:20

This course presents a cultural and historical perspective on ideas of agency, responsibility, and punishment through foundational texts of western law. We will primarily focus on three main areas of law: (1) slavery and (2) family (both governed by the Roman law of persons), and (3) civil wrongs (the law of delict or culpable harm). Through an examination of the legal sources (in translation) and the study of the reasoning of the Roman jurists, this course will examine the evolution of jurisprudence: the development of the laws concerning power over slaves and women, and changes in the laws concerning penalties for crimes. No specific prior knowledge needed.

What is Classics? Towards a Critical Disciplinary History (CLASS 4803/7803)

Instructors: Mathura Umachandran and Hayden Pelliccia

Course Time: MW 2:45-4:00

Within the long roiling and much heralded ‘crises of the humanities’, Classics is experiencing a contemporary crisis of its own. These queries are not least shaped around the disciplines continuing cultural relevance and uneven enrollments, but also in its relationships with white supremacy—relationships of complicity as much as co-option. That Classics is in crisis, however, is not a new phenomenon. In this course, we trace queries and fractures of disciplinary method, scope, objects and epistemologies through the history of this thing we have come to know as “Classics”.

Students interacting with professor