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Fall 2023

  • Growing Up in Ancient Greece and Rome (50:510:380)

How do we write the history of childhood and adolescence in the ancient world? This course examines a variety of possible answers to this question through the case studies of ancient Greece and Rome, from the Classical period in Greece down to the rise of Christianity in the Roman empire, following a structure along the life-course, from birth to marriage. Throughout the class and in the final project, students will assess the applicability of modern theoretical approaches to ageing, childhood and youth, drawn from disciplines such as cultural anthropology and performance studies, alongside previous social, political and cultural approaches in the field of ancient history. Students will encounter the early stages of the ancient life-course through various media, from portraits of youths and the material culture of childhood (e.g. dolls, games) to comedies, graffiti, tombstones, and biographical texts. Equal emphasis will therefore be placed on analysis of the ancient textual sources, as well as material culture from archaeological contexts, including the use of local and online museum collections in an artefact-as-history digital assignment. Classes will revolve around short lectures, where needed, and weekly discussion of thematic topics, such as demography and premature death, gendered notions of childhood and youth, coming-of-age rites, intergenerational conflict, the historical development of a youthful aesthetic, and the differences between elite and non-elite experiences of growing up, among others. Even as we compare two ancient societies—Greece and Rome—we will also look to how changes at large within these societies might be reflected in, or even be the result of, changes in the experience of growing up within them.

  • Gender in History and Theory (56:512:523) – Graduate Seminar

The history of gender has come a long way since it first emerged as women’s history in the mid-twentieth century alongside the Second Wave Feminist movements of the 1960s and 1970s. From women’s history to the new frontier of transgender history, this course traces the development of gender as a category of historical study, and how its direction was shaped by certain theoretical and methodological debates both within and outside the discipline of history. After initially examining the gendered nature of historical practice itself, in the first half of the course we will explore the emergence of women’s history— from ancient history to US history—and how this eventually transformed into gender history, including feminist histories, the history of masculinity, as well as the introduction of deconstructionist and performance theories, and the critiques of these new perspectives. The second half of the course will then examine specific intersections between gender history and other categories of history, including race, labor and technology, the body, sexuality, health, colonialism, as well as both regionally specific and global histories. Students will complete in-depth readings (monographs and/or articles) for each weekly topic, actively contribute to class discussion, co-facilitate one discussion, and write both book reviews and a short methodological review essay relevant to their own research interests.

Spring 2024 – Sabbatical