The Antiquity of Others (PHI4247.01)

Catherine McKeen

For us moderns, the statue of the elite male is emblematic of Greek and Roman antiquity. You may know this figure- able-bodied, athletic, impassive, and marble white. The figure represents societies shaped by unequal power relations which privileged men and masculinity, as well as the centering of elite male whiteness in historical narratives about Greek and Roman antiquity. In this course, we’ll look beyond this figure. We will explore social identity in the context of Mediterranean antiquity, from the perspective of marginalized social identities. Our guiding questions are: (1) How are race, ethnicity, class, gender, and sexuality conceptualized and deployed in Greek and Roman antiquity? (2) How does a consideration of marginalized social identities complicate our understanding of Classical antiquity? What counter-hegemonic possibilities do ancient sources offer? (3) How can contemporary scholars come to terms with Classical studies’ long entanglement with white supremacy and colonialism?

Likely readings include: Plays by Sophocles (Antigone), Euripides (Medea and Bacchae), Aristophanes (Lysistrata, Assemblywomen), philosophical works by Plato (Symposium, Menexenus) and Aristotle (Politics, biology), Roman narrative poetry (Ovid’s Metamorphosis), and critical readings in Greek and Roman antiquity. All readings will be in English or English translation.

Learning Outcomes:
• Develop skills in close reading, textual analysis, and critical readings of source texts
• Deepen and complicate understanding of Greek and Roman antiquity, and the historical narratives about these periods
• Develop your ideas in writing using appropriate evidence and support

Delivery Method: Fully in-person
Prerequisites: One course in philosophy and/or a course in history or on Mediterranean antiquity, and permission of the instructor (email:
Course Level: 4000-level
Credits: 4
W 2:10PM - 5:50PM (Full-term)
Maximum Enrollment: 18
Course Frequency: One time only

Categories: 4000 , All courses , Four Credit , Fully In-Person , Philosophy