2022-2023 Academic Catalog 
    Jun 16, 2024  
2022-2023 Academic Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

ARTH 219 - Special Topics in Ancient Art

Introduces specific topics and approaches in the study of ancient art. The course develops the student’s research, oral presentations, and writing skills through intense study that is not possible in a survey course. While the seminar is designed for majors, qualified students from other disciplines are welcome.

Sping 2023 Topic: Who Am I? Social Identity in Ancient Greek Art
The ancient Greek world was a diverse place, full of people with complex social identities based on many intersecting aspects of how they represented themselves and how others saw them. Yet, what is identity? Why do we have categories like male, female, child, adult, citizen, and slave? And how did ancient Greek artists represent aspects of identity in depictions of the human form? This course is concerned with what we can learn about the lives of varied members of society from representations in ancient art. We will use visual culture as a jumping off point to explore issues such as conceptions of childhood and old age in the ancient world, changing notions of gender and sexuality, `elite’ and `non-elite’ culture, slaves, and the visual creation of the `other’ in Greek. Examples will be drawn from a variety of contexts, including public monuments, religious architecture, private houses, and more local and vernacular styles across the Greek world. Materially, we will examine representations of the human (and divine!) form in bronze and marble sculpture, wall paintings, mosaics, vase paintings, and small portable objects.


FALL 2022 TOPIC: ANCIENT MONUMENTS, MODERN POLITICS - In 1934, the Italian fascist dictator Benito Mussolini tore down houses in a poor neighborhood in Rome to expose the Circus Maximus, an enormous ancient chariot-racing venue. He also rerouted roads and leveled other residences, all to highlight the city’s ancient past and style himself after Rome’s first emperor, Augustus. Mussolini was neither the first nor the last leader to use ancient monuments to further political goals. This raises an important question: who owns the past? In this class, we will explore the ways in which state actors and political leaders have used and abused ancient monuments and narratives about the past in building modern national identities in the Mediterranean. Case studies will include the Nazi appropriation of the Greek past, ISIS and the destruction of Palmyra, Masada and nation-building in Israel, ancient Athenian manipulation of earlier monuments, competing ‘Roman’ pasts in France, and the complexities of cultural heritage in North Africa after French colonization. Ultimately, this course is concerned with the vital role of the past in the present.


May be repeated for credit




Anticipated Terms Offered: Offered periodically