Instructors: Dr. Kostas Kapparis and Dr. Jennifer Rea
Course Goals: This course will investigate the ways in which ancient authors use the power dynamics behind Roman and Greek conceptions of gender and sexuality to make statements about how sexual mores and customs were perceived in antiquity and how this perception influences our modern understanding of male and female roles. In particular, through a systematic study of how the subjects of literature, politics, law, religion and medicine conceptualized and defined the terms masculine and feminine, this course will investigate how ancient Greek and Roman cultures engaged in a discourse on sex and gender roles in their societies. Comparisons with the past and practices in other societies will serve as reference points in order to allow the modern student to re-evaluate his/her own perceptions and views of these matters.
McClure, Laura (ed.) Sexuality and Gender in the Ancient World.
Brantenberg, Gerd Egalia’s Daughters: A Satire of the Sexes.
Selections from: Homer’s Iliad, Vergil’s Aeneid, Sophocles’ Antigone, Plato’s Symposium, Aristophanes’ Thesmophoriazousai, Sappho (selected poems), Aeschines’ Against Timarchos, Cicero’s Pro Caelio and Kostas Tachtsis’ The Third Wedding.
Three In-class Examinations
Two In-class "Minute" Papers
(This syllabus is a work in progress and is subject to some changes before the start of the semester)
1. Sex and Gender within Cultural and Social Rites of Passage
Female initiation into adult life
Male initiation into adult life
Reinforcing gender roles
2. Men Conforming to the Stereotype
Constraints on male behavior
Legal duties and obligations for men
Greek kyrios and Roman paterfamilias
3. Women Conforming to the Stereotype
Childbirth and motherhood
Women and Religion
4. Transgressing the Gender Lines: Manly Women, Girly Men
Amazons in Greek Myth
Women in Greek Tragedy
Widows in Athenian Law
Shaving and Abstaining from the Gym
Suetonius and feminine trends of Roman emperors
5. Breaking the Rules: Courtesans and Adulterers
The adulteress in Greece and Rome
The ‘obedient’ wife of Isomachos
The ‘good’ courtesan of New Comedy
6. Classical and Contemporary Views on Sex and Gender
Redefining sex roles
Finding the female voice
Gender as an inclusive category