Courses for Spring 2022 | Classics | Brown University

  • Revolutionary Classics (or, the classical origins of your Brown education)

    When Brown University was founded in 1764 the curriculum was based on classical texts. In early America, the classics of Greek and Roman antiquity – read in the original Greek and Latin – were the foundation of a gentleman’s education. This course will explore early ideas and structures of higher learning in America from the springboard of those classical texts. We will read a sizable portion of Brown’s earliest curriculum (in English translation), but just as importantly we will seek to set that curriculum in the context of early American intellectual history, from roughly the Colonial to the Antebellum Period.

    Primary Instructor
    Hanink
  • The World of Byzantium

    In this course we shall explore the world of Byzantium from the founding of New Rome to Ottoman times. Caught between the East and West, the culture of Byzantium inherited the ancient worlds of Greece, Rome, and Jerusalem, nurturing many a modern ideology, conflict, and identity. We explore Byzantium through its history, texts, and art. Surveys of representative periods in Byzantine history will accompany topical investigation of themes including: the foundation and history of Constantinople itself, Iconoclasm, the Crusades, medieval Christianity and Islam, Byzantine court life, concepts of gender, self, and sexuality, book culture and revivals of learning, the development of Byzantine architecture, the Palaiologan "Renaissance," and the continued influence of and attitudes towards the Byzantine inheritance in both Western and Eastern Europe after 1453.

    Primary Instructor
    MacDougall
  • The Bhagavad Gītā

    This course will study and discuss the teachings of the Bhagavad Gītā in the context of its literary, theological, and philosophical origins in ancient India. We will read the text itself (in English, not Sanskrit), parts of the epic Mahābhārata in which the Gītā is situated, and collateral texts, such as Upanisads, Indian myths, Buddhist sermons, or even modern novels, that may shed light on why and how this text has exercised such far-reaching influence across the ages, inside India and beyond.

    Primary Instructor
    Buchta
  • Greek Mythology

    “What of these things goes now without disaster?”
    -Aeschylus, Agamemnon

    This course is an introduction to Ancient Greek mythological traditions. Topics include: the Olympian gods; ‘culture heroes’ (e.g. Heracles), Homer and the Trojan Cycle of myths; mythical traditions about the families of Oedipus and Agamemnon; etc. We will conclude with an investigation of ancient mythical scholarship and skeptical views of myth in antiquity. Throughout we will be considering myth’s relationship with literature, visual culture, and religion. The class focuses on the ancient material (texts, images, monuments, rituals and traditions, etc.), with some secondary readings in mythological and cultural theory.

    Primary Instructor
    Kidd
  • Ghost, Apparitions and the Supernatural in Greece and Rome

    Have you heard of haunted houses? Have you seen a ghost? Do dead people visit us? Do witches really exist? What is the Supernatural? If you have ever wondered about these things, you are in good company, since the ancient Greeks and Romans did too. In this course, we will examine various ancient sources that speak of or illustrate such phenomena, and consider how they experienced them, reacted to them, or attempted to explain them away. We will also compare them to modern accounts, highlighting similarities and differences. All readings in English; open to all undergraduates.

    Primary Instructor
    Nieto Hernandez
  • The Classical World in Film (MGRK 1010)

  • The American Presidents and the Western Tradition

    We are accustomed to engaging the American presidency as a public office best approached through the prism of government or political science, but this course studies the ways in which the presidents in thought and action are part of a larger continuum of humanistic expression in the western tradition. It is organized around five categories: memory, language, consolation, farewell, and self-reflection. Our work involves reading and viewing/listening to various materials, including videos and original documents. The words we study, both by and about presidents, will be compared to various masterworks of Greco-Roman antiquity and the western Middle Ages.

    Primary Instructor
    Pucci
  • Aristotle

    A close study of Aristotle's major works: his method, natural philosophy, psychology, metaphysics, with main emphasis on his ethics. Readings from original sources (in translation) and some contemporary secondary material. The class will combine lectures and discussion and is a writing course.

    Primary Instructor
    Gill
  • The Fall of Empires and Rise of Kings: Greek History 478 to 323 BC

    The Greek world was transformed in less than 200 years. The rise and fall of Empires (Athens and Persia) and metamorphosis of Macedon into a supreme power under Philip II and Alexander the Great provide the headlines. The course covers an iconic period of history, and explores life-changing events that affected the people of the eastern Mediterranean and the topics that allow us to understand aspects of life and culture of the peoples of the eastern Mediterranean. and through these transformations, offers insights into the common pressures that communities confronted. No prior knowledge of ancient history is required.

    Primary Instructor
    Hanink
  • The Persian Empire and Achaemenid Culture

    CLAS1230 explores the Persian Empire (6th to 4th centuries BCE), its beginnings, development, historiography. We will incorporate Achaemenid culture, and its reception, in a broad spatial and temporal context. The course approaches the ancient world from the perspective of 'the Other'. Taking a Perso-centric view, the course incorporates the multi-disciplinary fields associated with Achaemenid studies since the 1980s. Primary source documents, maps, and readings, will be assembled to provide students with visual, material, and written evidence from the regions of the Persian Empire. Central to this course will be our own engagement with difference/different cultures, and their presentation(s). The majority of the materials will be delivered via the Canvas site. No prior knowledge of antiquity is assumed.

    Primary Instructor
    Oliver
  • Death in the West

    This course explores the history of western attitudes toward death from their origins in the ancient Near East and classical antiquity through the medieval and early modern periods to the modern era. The aim is to trace the evolution of western deathways against the backdrop of an anthropologically and sociologically informed understanding of this universal human experience. Among the issues to be considered are the needs of both individuals and society in proper treatment of the dead; in what ways funerary customs reflect broader cultural and historical developments; and what the implications are of
    recent and contemporary trends in western funerary practices.

    Primary Instructor
    Bodel
  • "The Battle of the Books": The Quarrel between the Ancients and the Moderns

    This class examines a key period in the reception of ancient Greek and Roman literature and culture: the intellectual debates of European scholars and thinkers, in the late 17th and early 18th centuries, over whether the “modern” learning of an “enlightened” age was superior to, or instead dependent on and inferior to, the knowledge of the great “ancient” Greco-Roman poets, historians, philosophers, artists, and scientists. Sir Isaac Newton famously sided with the “ancients” when he stated, “If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” We will read arguments by primary participants in the debate (including Perrault, Boileau, Temple, and Bentley), plus Swift’s satirical masterpiece, “The Battle of the Books.” We will also read and compare for ourselves selections from some of the chief ancient and modern “combatants.” All readings are in English.

    Primary Instructor
    Debrohun
  • Special Topics

    Section numbers vary by instructor. Please check Banner for the correct section number and CRN to use when registering for this course.

    Primary Instructor
    Buchta
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research

    Primary Instructor
    Amanatidou
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research

    Primary Instructor
    Reed
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research

    Primary Instructor
    Cherry
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research

    Primary Instructor
    Debrohun
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research

    Primary Instructor
    Bodel
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research

    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research

    Primary Instructor
    Nieto Hernandez
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research

    Primary Instructor
    Gill
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research

    Primary Instructor
    Fitzgerald
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research

    Primary Instructor
    Haynes
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research

    Primary Instructor
    Scafuro
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research

    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research

    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research

    Primary Instructor
    Pucci
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
  • Conference: Especially for Honors Students

    Section numbers vary by instructor. Please check banner for the correct section number and CRN to use when registering for this course.

    Primary Instructor
    Amanatidou
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research

    Primary Instructor
    Reed
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research

    Primary Instructor
    Gill
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research

    Primary Instructor
    Debrohun
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research

    Primary Instructor
    Laird
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research

    Primary Instructor
    Kidd
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research

    Primary Instructor
    Hanink
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research

    Primary Instructor
    Oliver
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research

    Primary Instructor
    Nieto Hernandez
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research

    Primary Instructor
    Pucci
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research

    Primary Instructor
    Fitzgerald
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research

    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research

    Primary Instructor
    Scafuro
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research

    Primary Instructor
    Bodel
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research

    Primary Instructor
    Haynes
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research

    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research

    Primary Instructor
    Buchta
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
  • Topics in Roman Republican History

    This seminar will examine some of the major controversies in Roman Republican history, with possible excurses to the archaic and triumviral periods. The focus will be on political and cultural history, and on questions of method and theory. Topics will be partially dictated by student interest. Assessment include student presentations and leading discussions, writing an abstract for a term paper, and a term paper.

    Advanced undergraduates may enroll with permission from the instructor.

    Primary Instructor
    Russell
  • Medeas in America

    A witch. A daughter. A pawn. A mother. A heroine. A wife. An exile.

    Medeas in America draws on contemporary American texts that engage myths about Medea in order to analyze the spatial, racialized, gendered, sexualized and psychological aspects of contemporary society.. Texts will include but are not limited to news stories and court cases about infanticide, novels (e.g. Morrison's Beloved), and dramas (e.g. Moraga's The Hungry Woman). Students will also be introduced to a variety of approaches (e.g. critical legal studies, feminist materialisms, theories of race and ethnicity, psychoanalysis, performance studies).

    Primary Instructor
    Eccleston
  • Preliminary Examination Preparation

    For graduate students who have met the tuition requirement and are paying the registration fee to continue active enrollment while preparing for a preliminary examination.

    Schedule Code
    E: Graduate Thesis Prep
  • Reading and Research

    Section numbers vary by instructor. Please check Banner for the correct section number and CRN to use when registering for this course. Instructor permission required.

    Primary Instructor
    Oliver
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research

    Primary Instructor
    Bodel
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research

    Primary Instructor
    Cherry
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research

    Primary Instructor
    Reed
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research

    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research

    Primary Instructor
    Pucci
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research

    Primary Instructor
    Fitzgerald
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research

    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research

    Primary Instructor
    Debrohun
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research

    Primary Instructor
    Nieto Hernandez
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research

    Primary Instructor
    Haynes
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research

    Primary Instructor
    Scafuro
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
  • Thesis Preparation

    For graduate students who have met the residency requirement and are continuing research on a full time basis.

    Schedule Code
    E: Graduate Thesis Prep