CLAS 3381

From Homer to Hollywood04_lr

This course integrates literature and film as an introduction to ancient Greek literature and culture. With one or two exceptions, these films do not adapt particular works of Greek literature, but make use of important themes developed in antiquity, shed light on complex structures embedded in the literature, or otherwise translate and allude in meaningful ways to the texts that we will discuss in connection with the films. As students you will be asked to read several works of Greek literature, watch films and discuss them in class, and post regularly to an on-line discussion board; in so doing you will learn to analyze imagery, trace metaphors and themes, and interpret crucial scenes and passages in the context of a work as a whole.

*This course counts for the Creative Arts/Visual and Performing Arts Core*

There is no background in Classical literature or mythology required for this class, but it certainly won’t hurt you to have some.

University of Houston, Spring 2018 Syllabus

Professor: Casey Dué Hackney (e-mail: cdue-hackney@uh.edu). Office hours: 10am-12pm Mondays or by appointment, Agnes Arnold Hall room 601.

Expectations: This course is being taught as a hybrid (this concept will be discussed further on the first day of class), and important components of the course are delivered through Blackboard. You should log in to Blackboard regularly to post essays, watch film clips, and check for announcements. Many weeks you must post an essay that week’s on-line discussion (7 postings total). Many weeks you are also required to watch a film outside of class.

It is expected that students will acquire all required reading and obtain or borrow all films well in advance of the date assigned. The assigned films are all available at the Language Acquisition Center (2nd floor, Agnes Arnold Hall). They can also be found on Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, iTunes or You Tube (not all are available in all places). Many of the assigned readings may be obtained for free on-line. Failure to obtain assigned readings or films in advance will not excuse late work.

Prerequisites: There are no prerequisites for this course. If you have never taken a Classics course, however, or if you have never read any Greek literature before, you will need to put in extra effort in order to succeed in this class. In the early weeks, it will be essential for you to devote a significant amount of time to reading (and rereading!) the Iliad and Odyssey. This course is best suited to those with some experience in Classics or reading Classical literature or those with experience studying film who like literature as well.

Required Reading:

The Iliad of Homer, in any translation. I recommended the translation of Stanley Lombardo (1997, ISBN: 0872203522), available at the UH bookstore. A free electronic translation is available here.

The Odyssey of Homer, in any translation. I recommended the translation of Stanley Lombardo (2000, ISBN: 0872204847), available at the UH bookstore. A free electronic translation is available here.

Components of Course Grade: Essays (7 total, posted on Blackboard) 100%

Schedule of Readings, Lectures, and Discussions
* NOTE: All reading assignments must be completed in advance of the day to which they are assigned.

Week 1 (1/17): Introduction to the course and the Homeric Iliad

Week 2 (1/24): Iliad (cont.)
ASSIGNMENT: Read Iliad books 1, 6 (I encourage you to read 2–5 if you have time!)

Week 3 (1/31): Iliad 9 and Blade Runner
ASSIGNMENT: Read Iliad book 9; Watch Blade Runner
Additional assignment: Post to the discussion board for this week on Blackboard by Sunday at midnight.

Week 4 (2/7): Iliad 16-18
ASSIGNMENT: Read Iliad books 16-18

Week 5 (2/14): Iliad 19 and Restrepo
ASSIGNMENT: Read Iliad book 19; watch Restrepo
Additional assignment: Post to the discussion board for this week on Blackboard by Sunday at midnight.

Week 6 (2/21): Iliad 22 and 24
ASSIGNMENT: Read Iliad books 22 and 24

Week 7 (2/28): Learning Lessons from the Trojan War
ASSIGNMENT: Watch Troy (Director’s Cut)
Additional assignment: Post to the discussion board for this week on Blackboard by Sunday at midnight.

Week 8 (3/7): “And then the Amazons came…”
ASSIGNMENT: Read TBA, Get started reading the Odyssey; Watch Wonder Woman

Week 9 SPRING BREAK

Week 10 (3/21): Introduction to the Odyssey
ASSIGNMENT: Read Odyssey 1–4

Week 11 (3/28): Odyssey (cont.)
ASSIGNMENT: Read Odyssey 5–8; Watch Kubo and the Two Strings
Additional assignment: Post to the discussion board for this week on Blackboard by Sunday at midnight.

Week 12 (4/4): Odyssey (cont.)
ASSIGNMENT: Read Odyssey 9–12; Watch Spirited Away
Additional assignment: Post to the discussion board for this week on Blackboard by Sunday at midnight.

Week 13 (4/11): Odyssey (cont.)
ASSIGNMENT: Read Odyssey 13-18

Week 14 (4/18): Odyssey (cont.)
ASSIGNMENT: Read Odyssey 19-24; Watch Chunhyang
Additional assignment: Post to the discussion board for this week on Blackboard by Sunday at midnight.

Week 15 (4/25): O Brother Where Art Thou?
ASSIGNMENT: Watch O Brother Where Art Thou?
Additional assignment: Post to the discussion board for this week on Blackboard by Sunday at midnight.

Core Curriculum Learning Outcomes: In this course students will enhance their critical thinking and communications skills by reading several works of Greek literature, watching films and discussing them in class, and posting regularly to an on-line discussion board; in so doing they will learn to analyze imagery, trace metaphors and themes, and interpret crucial scenes and passages in the context of a work as a whole. By studying ancient Greek literature and demonstrating their understanding of its themes through various writing assignments students will develop intercultural competence. In the area of teamwork, on the weekly discussion boards students will be required to read and consider each other’s interpretations of ancient texts and modern films and to respond to one another.

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