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CLAS 1110

Tyranny, Democracy, and Empire: Classical Cultures

Fall 2019

3 hours; 3 credits

 

 

Class Meetings: Tuesdays and Thursdays, 11:00 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.

Location: Boylan Hall 3411

Instructor: Mary Jean McNamara

Email: mmcnamara@bcmail.cuny.edu

Office: Boylan 2408

Office Hours: Tuesdays, 9:45 a.m.-10:45 a.m., and by appointment

 

 

Course Description

 

Introductory study of ancient cultures through close reading of a variety of texts; most sections

will focus on Greece and Rome, but some may explore other classical traditions such as those of

England, France, and the United States. Attention to such questions as literary genre, material

and performance contexts, gender, political institutions, religion, philosophy, models of culture

and the creation of a classical tradition. Practice in close reading and communication by means

of critical writing, class discussion and other methods, such as collaborative group work. (Not

open to students who have completed Core Studies 1, 1.1, 1.2, or CORC 1110.)  Prerequisite:

None.

 

This course fulfills the World Cultures and Global Issues requirement of the Flexible Common

Core of the CUNY Pathways General Education Requirements.

 

In this course, students will engage with some of the major works in Western literature that

portray the tension between the ruled and the rulers. This relationship between the people and the

king, queen, emperor, sovereign, or president is one that dominates Western political and cultural

history. Over the course of the semester, students will read and analyze Greek tragedy and epic

poetry along with works from the early Renaissance up to the modern era. The selection of

readings is organized around the theme of the individual’s ability to exercise free will under a

tyranny, democracy, or empire. The focus of the reading and writing assignments will be on the

interaction between the ruled and the rulers and the ways in which these interactions bolster or

challenge hierarchy.

 

 

Course Objectives

 

  • to identify basic terms of literary analysis relevant to the texts read in class
  • to identify traditions and practices specific to ancient cultures and describe how they

influence later authors including Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and John Stuart Mill

  • to write interpretive prose which is clear and cogent
  • to make articulate contributions to classroom discussion of texts

 

 

Optional Texts (Selections from these texts will be made available to all registered students on the course website. Students are not required to purchase these texts.)

 

Hamilton, Alexander. “Federalist No. 70” in The Federalist Papers: A Collection of Essays

Written in Favour of the New Constitution. Coventry House Publishing, (2015). ISBN-10:

0692528318; ISBN-13: 978-0692528310.

 

Hobbes, Thomas. Leviathan. Introduction by C. B. MacPherson. Published by Penguin Classics,

(1982). ISBN-10: 0140431950; ISBN-13: 978-0140431957.

 

Homer, The Iliad. Translated by Robert Fagles with Introduction by Bernard Knox. Published by

Penguin Classics, (1998). ISBN-10: 0140275363; ISBN-13: 978-0140275360.

 

Locke, John. Second Treatise of Government. Edited by C. B MacPherson. Published by Hackett

Classics, (1980). ISBN-10: 0915144860; ISBN-13: 978-0915144860.

 

Madison, James. “Federalist No. 10” in The Federalist Papers: A Collection of Essays Written in

Favour of the New Constitution. Coventry House Publishing, (2015). ISBN-10: 0692528318;

ISBN-13: 978-0692528310.

 

Mill, John Stuart. ‘On Liberty’ and Other Writings. Edited with an Introduction by Stefan Collini.

Published by Cambridge Texts in the History of Political Thought, (1989). ISBN-10:

0521379172; ISBN-13: 978-0521379175.

 

Rousseau, Jean-Jacques. The Social Contract and Other Later Political Writings. Edited by Victor Gourevitch. Published by Cambridge Texts in the History of Political Thought, (1997). ISBN-10: 0521413826; ISBN-13: 978-0521413824.

 

Sophocles, The Three Theban Plays: Antigone; Oedipus the King; Oedipus at Colonus.

Translated by Robert Fagles with Introduction by Bernard Knox. Published by Penguin Classics,

(1984, Reprint 2000). ISBN-10: 0140444254; ISBN-13: 978-0140444254.

 

Course Requirements

Attendance and active participation in class discussions constitutes 20% of your course grade.

Each student may elect to miss up to three classes per semester. Attendance is taken at the

 

beginning of the class period. Late arrivals will be marked as “late” 5 minutes after class has

started. Three late arrivals count as one missed class.

 

Assignments  

Your primary responsibility in this class is to read the material assigned for that particular day. In

addition, there are four quizzes and a final exam.

Email and Communication Policies

Please check your Brooklyn College email once a day. I will be sending you information

regarding the readings, assignments, and announcements via email, Blackboard and the course

website.

 

Grading Policy  

Your grade is based on the following formula:

Attendance and class participation: 20%

Quiz average:  50%

Final exam: 30%

 

Classroom Guidelines

This class requires participation. The use of cell phones and other electronic devices for purposes

other than accessing and recording information relevant to the class will not be permitted.

 

Quizzes

You will have four quizzes over the course of the semester. The questions will be based on the reading and classroom discussions. The quiz will be given at the beginning of the class and will take no more than 20 minutes. I will provide a study guide in advance of each quiz. No make-up quizzes will be given unless documentation of an extenuating circumstance is provided.

 

Final Exam

The final exam is cumulative. There will be multiple choice, fill-in-the-blank, identification, and

short essay questions. I will provide a study guide and will arrange an optional review session

before the exam.

 

Course Schedule (subject to change at instructor’s discretion)

 

WEEK 1 (Aug 27 and 29) Introduction to Homer and ancient Greek epic

Reading: Homer, the Iliad, Introduction and Book 1, First reading – Introduction to Iliad,

Iliad-bks-1-2

 

WEEK 2 (Sep 3 and 5) Leaders at War

Reading: Homer, the Iliad, Book 2

NO CLASS ON THURSDAY, CLASSES FOLLOW A MONDAY SCHEDULE

 

WEEK 3 (Sep 10 and 12) Debate and Violence

Reading: Homer, the Iliad, Books 9 and 18, Book-9; Iliad book 18

Thursday, Sept. 12: 1st Quiz on the Iliad, Books 1 and 2

 

WEEK 4 (Sep 17 and 19) Death of a Trojan Hero

Reading: Homer, the Iliad, Book 22, Iliad book 22

 

WEEK 5 (Sep 24 and 26) War’s End

Reading: Homer, the Iliad, Book 24, Iliad book 24

 

WEEK 6 (Oct 1 and 3) Rule of Law

Reading: Sophocles, Antigone, Antigone by Sophocles, Fitzgerald-Murray translation

NO CLASS ON TUESDAY, 10/1, COLLEGE CLOSED

Thursday, Oct 3: 2nd Quiz on The Iliad, Books 9, 18, 22, and 24

 

WEEK 7 (Oct 8 and 10) Sophocles, Antigone: Democracy or Tyranny?

NO CLASS ON TUESDAY, 10/8, COLLEGE CLOSED

 

WEEK 8 (Oct 15 and 17) Introduction to Thomas Hobbes: Human Nature

Reading: Hobbes, Leviathan, Introduction and Book 1, Chapter 4 on Nature, “The Leviathan” by Thomas Hobbes

 

WEEK 9 (Oct 22 and 24) The Constitution of the Sovereign and Personal Liberty

Reading: Hobbes, Leviathan, Book 2 Chapters 18, 19, 20, and 21, “The Leviathan” by Thomas Hobbes

 

WEEK 10 (Oct 29 and 31) Introduction to John Locke: Political Society

Reading: Locke, Second Treatise on Civil Government, Chapters 1-3

Thursday, Oct 31: 3rd Quiz on Leviathan

 

WEEK 11 (Nov 5 and 7) Freedom and Private Property

Reading: Locke, Second Treatise on Civil Government, Chapters 4-8

 

WEEK 12 (Nov 12 and 14) The Social Contract

Reading: Rousseau, The Social Contract, Book 1, Chapters 1-5

 

WEEK 13 (Nov 19 and 21) Punishment and Pardon

Reading:  Rousseau, The Social Contract, Book 1, Chapters 6-10

 

WEEK 14 (Nov 26 and 28) Personal Liberty

Reading:  John Stuart Mill, Introduction to ‘On Liberty’ and Other Writings by Stefan

Collini and Chapters 1 and 2 of ‘On Liberty.’

NO CLASS ON THURSDAY, 11/28, COLLEGE CLOSED

 

WEEK 15 (Dec 5 and 7) Individual Happiness and Free Will

Reading:  John Stuart Mill, Chapters 3, 4, and 5 of ‘On Liberty’

Tuesday, Dec. 3: 4th Quiz on Locke and Rousseau

 

WEEK 16 (Dec 12 and 14) Democracy

Reading: James Madison ‘Federalist No. 10’ and Alexander Hamilton ‘Federalist No. 70’

 

FINAL EXAM: TUESDAY, DEC. 17, 10:30-12:30

 

Important Dates to Remember:

 

Monday, Sept. 2:  Last day to add a class for the Fall 2019 term

Monday, Sept. 2:  Last day to drop a class for 75% tuition refund

Thursday, Sept. 5: Last day to submit a Pass/Fail elective application online for Fall 2019

Monday, Sept. 9:  Last day to drop a class for a 50% tuition refund

Monday, Sept. 16:  Last day to drop a class for a 25% tuition refund

Tuesday, Nov. 5:  Last day to withdraw from a course with a grade of “W”

Tuesday, Dec. 17: Final Exam, 10:30-12:30 in Boylan 3411

 

 

Academic Integrity

The following excerpt is taken from Brooklyn College’s Undergraduate Bulletin:

 

“The faculty and administration of Brooklyn College support an environment free from cheating

and plagiarism. Each student is responsible for being aware of what constitutes cheating and

plagiarism and for avoiding both. The complete text of the CUNY Academic Integrity Policy and

the Brooklyn College procedure for policy implementation can be found at

www.brooklyn.cuny.edu/bc/policies. If a faculty member suspects a violation of academic

integrity and, upon investigation, confirms that violation, or if the student admits the violation,

the faculty member must report the violation.”

 

Accommodations

The following excerpt is taken from Brooklyn College’s Undergraduate Bulletin:

 

“In order to receive disability-related academic accommodations students must first be registered

with the Center for Student Disability Services. Students who have a documented disability or

suspect they may have a disability are invited to set up an appointment with the Director of the

Center for Student Disability Services, Ms. Valerie Stewart-Lovell at (718) 951-5538. If you have

already registered with the Center for Student Disability Services, please provide your professor

with the course accommodation form and discuss your specific accommodations with him/her”.

(Please refer to page 66 in the Undergraduate Bulletin for more information on disability-related

academic accommodations, http://www.brooklyn.cuny.edu/web/off_registrar/2017-2018_Undergraduate_Bulletin.pdf).

 

 

Observation of Religious Duties

The following excerpt is taken from Brooklyn College’s Undergraduate Bulletin:

 

“The New York State Education Law provides that no student shall be expelled or refused

admission to an institution of higher education because he or she is unable to attend classes or

participate in examinations or study or work requirements on any particular day or days because of religious beliefs.” (For more information on Brooklyn College’s policy of religious

observance, please refer to page 66 in the Undergraduate Bulletin, http://

www.brooklyn.cuny.edu/web/off_registrar/2017-2018_Undergraduate_Bulletin.pdf).

 

 

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