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Courses Spring 2022

The following list includes graduate courses taught by faculty members of the Graduate Group and graduate courses offered by other programs and departments. Graduate students are also strongly encouraged to explore courses in other fields and disciplines that align with their scholarly interests.


ANCH 609 Biographical Approaches to Antiquity

Julia Wilker

W 1:45 - 4:45

Biographical approaches, long used and despised as a genre reducing history to the actions of a few protagonists, have gained prominence again in recent scholarship. Instead of focusing the historical analysis on the usual suspects (from emperors to canonical authors), more recent applications of biographical approaches have deliberately decentered the narrative, employed the perspective of those whose position has been marginalized, and revealed influences and patterns that otherwise would remain unnoticed. This course will explore the potential, variations, and pitfalls of approaches that focus on individuals, from biographies that follow a traditional format yet have shaped the field of ancient studies to microhistory and prosopographical studies. Using examples from the late Hellenistic to the High Imperial Period, we will discuss methodologies to reconstruct an individual life despite the general scarcity of sources, how such an approach can transform our understanding of the respective cultural, political, and social circumstances, and what insights into the broader historical processes such a focus offers or obscures. Graduate-level Latin and Greek required as pre-requisite for course.


GREK 606 Demosthenes

Jeremy McInerney

TR 12:00 - 1:30

In this semester we shall read Demosthenes, On the Crown. This speech, one of the masterpieces of Greek oratory, was delivered in 330 BC towards the end of Demosthenes' career. It has long been used as a valuable source of information on social, religious and political history, but it is also a pleasure to read for its clarity and vigour. We will read approximately five pages per week, and each Thursday there will be a short student report on a topic relating to the speech and Athenian oratory. These reports will be written up and submitted one week later as the only papers required in the class. Intermediate-level (200-level) Greek for undergraduate students is a pre-requisite for this class.


AAMW 618 Art and Architecture of Ancient Egypt

David Silverman

MW 1:45 - 3:15

This course will be an introduction to the art, architecture and minor arts that were produced during the three thousand years of ancient Egyptian history. This material will be presented in its cultural and historical contexts through illustrated lectures and will include visits to the collection of the University Museum.


CLST 698 Prospectus Workshop

Sheila Murnaghan

R 1:45 - 4:45 pm

Designed to prepare graduates in any aspect of study in the ancient world to prepare for the dissertation prospectus. Course will be centered around individual presentations and group critique of prospectus' in process, as well the fundamentals of large-project research design and presentation.


ANEL 546 Intermediate Sumerian

Stephen Tinney


Reading literary texts in the Sumerian Language from ancient Mesopotamia


GREK 541 Greek Literary History

Peter Struck

T 3:30 - 6:30

Through selected readings from both poetry and prose, we will survey the range and evolution of ancient Greek literary practice.


GREK 608 Ancient and Medieval Theories and Therapies of the Soul

Rita Copeland, Ralph Rosen

M 1:45 - 4:45

This seminar focuses on premodern conceptions of the 'soul', the force felt to animate and energize a human body for as long as it was considered alive, and to activate virtually all aspects of its behavior through time. Premodern concepts of the soul attempted to account for a person's emotions and desires, perceptions, thoughts, memory, intellect, moral behavior, and sometimes physical condition. The course will trace the various ancient theories of the soul from the Presocratics, Plato, Aristotle, Stoic thought in Greek and Latin, medical writers (Hippocratics, Hellenistic doctors, Galen), and Neoplatonists, to the medieval receptions and transformations of ancient thought, including Augustine and Boethius, Avicenna's interpretation of Aristotle and its medieval influence, and Aquinas and other later medieval ethicists. These premodern conceptions of the soul have a surprisingly long afterlife, reaching into the literary cultures and psychological movements of early modernity and beyond. Knowledge of Greek or Latin not required, but see the following: The seminar will meet for one two-hour session per week, and a separate one-hour 'breakout' session during which students who have registered for GREK 608 will meet to study a selection texts in Greek, and students who have registered for COML/ENGL will meet to discuss medieval or early modern texts relevant to their fields of study.


LATN 608 The Black Aeneid

Joseph Farrell

T 1:45 - 4:45 

This research seminar will bring the insights of critical race theory to bear on Vergil's Aeneid. Its general objective will be to assess how these insights reinforce and/or complicate existing ideas about the poem and its reception. We will frame our work in terms of three major questions: (1) To what extent are ancient conceptions of blackness thematized in the poem? (2) What insights can be gained by studying the poem with reference to modern conceptions of Blackness? (3) How has race figured in assessments of and responses to the Aeneid by scholars, writers, and artists? To answer these questions we will organize our work under three research rubrics, each of them based on a secondary character whom the poem figures explicitly or implicitly as black. These are: The Black Hero (Memnon); The Black Suitor (Iarbas); The Black Poet (Iopas). Students will work in groups to address these and other topics with a view to understanding the potential significance of such features in the poem as a whole and in its reception. The goal of the course will be to produce publishable research as well as materials to facilitate teaching the Aeneid with appropriate attention to issues of race in the poem, in classical studies, and in ancient and modern society. Each student will write a paper reporting on their own research, or a part of it, during the seminar and will contribute to one of several collaborative papers that will be assessed for eventual submission to an appropriate peer-reviewed journal. Graduate-level Latin is a pre-requisite for this course.


AAMW 512 Petrography of Cultural Materials

Marie-Claude Boileau

W 10:15 - 1:15

Introduction to thin-section petrography of stone and ceramic archaeological materials. Using polarized light microscopy, the first half of this course will cover the basics of mineralogy and the petrography of igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary rocks. The second half will focus on the petrographic description of ceramic materials, mainly pottery, with emphasis on the interpretation of provenance and technology. As part of this course, students will characterize and analyze archaeological samples from various collections. Prior knowledge of geology is not required.


AAMW 572 Geophysical Prospection for Archaeology

Jason Hermann 

W 1:45 - 4:45

Near-surface geophysical prospection methods are now widely used in archaeology as they allow archaeologists to rapidly map broad areas, minimize or avoid destructive excavation, and perceive physical dimensions of archaeological features that are outside of the range of human perception. This course will cover the theory of geophysical sensors commonly used in archaeological investigations and the methods for collecting, processing, and interpreting geophysical data from archaeological contexts. We will review the physical properties of common archaeological and paleoenvironmental targets, the processes that led to their deposition and formation, and how human activity is reflected in anomalies recorded through geophysical survey through lectures, readings, and discussion. Students will gain experience collecting data in the field with various sensors at archaeological sites in the region. A large proportion of the course will be computer-based as students work with data from geophysical sensors, focusing on the fundamentals of data processing, data fusion, and interpretation. Some familiarity with GIS is recommended.


NELC 641 Iraq: Ancient Cities and Empires

Richard Zettler

W 1:45 -4:45

This course consists of an analytical survey of civilization in the ancient Mesopotamia from prehistoric periods to the middle centuries of the first millennium B.C. A strong focus is placed on Mesopotamia (Iraq, eastern Syria) proper, but it occasionally covers its adjacent regions, including Anatolia (Turkey), north-central Syria, and the Levantine coast. As we chronologically examine the origin and development of civilization in the region, various social, political, economic, and ideological topics will be explored, including subsistence, cosmology, writing, trade, technology, war, private life, burial custom, and empire. Based on both archaeological and historical evidence, these topics will be examined from archaeological, anthropological, historical and art historical perspectives. Students will be exposed to a variety of theoretical approaches and types of relevant evidence, including settlement survey data, excavated architectural remains and artifacts, and written documents. The course aims to provide students with a strong foundation for further study in Near Eastern civilization.


NELC 658 Women in Ancient Egypt

Jennifer Houser Wegner

TR 10:15 - 11:45

This class will examine the many roles played by women in ancient Egypt. From goddesses and queens, to wives and mothers, women were a visible presence in ancient Egypt. We will study the lives of famous ancient Egyptian women such as Hatshepsut, Nefertiti and Cleopatra. More independent than many of their contemporaries in neighboring areas, Egyptian women enjoyed greater freedoms in matters of economy and law. By examining the evidence left to us in the literature (including literary texts and non-literary texts such as legal documents, administrative texts and letters), the art, and the archaeological record, we will come away with a better understanding of the position of women in this ancient culture.