ἐγὼ δ᾽ ἀστοῖς ἁδὼν καὶ χθονὶ γυῖα καλύψαιμ᾽,
αἰνέων αἰνητά, μομφὰν δ᾽ ἐπισπείρων ἀλιτροῖς.
I pray to find favor with my fellow-citizens until my limbs are buried in the earth,
by praising what is praiseworthy and casting blame on wrongdoers.
Pindar, Nemean Odes 8.38–39
Course Description and Objectives
Like other Indo-European cultures, the ancient Greeks and Romans developed special poetic and rhetorical modes of praise and blame. Heroic epic, for example, and hymns praise heroes and gods in dactylic hexameter, and epinician odes praised athletes in complex meters, but iambic poets like Archilochus and Hipponax hurled such abuse that they supposedly drove men and women to suicide out of shame. Rhetoricians developed the epideictic branch of oratory, which comprehends both encomium and invective. This course will consider various poetic and rhetorical modes of praise and blame and their interactions.
This course is designated WP2, meaning that it gives two of the three required Writing Proficiency points. A five credit class bearing the WP2 designation must derive at least 30% of the course grade from academic writing that involves multiple drafts and revision with feedback. As the WP guidelines of the University Catalog note,
In writing proficiency courses, students learn the writing style and conventions of their disciplines, as well as the techniques for integrating evidence into scholarly papers.
Each discipline has its own style and conventions: English scholars follow the MLA style, historians the Chicago style, and so forth; American classicists tend to use the TAPA style, which is outlined in the course style guide. We shall spend time going over TAPA style and discussing research as we build our way from reading secondary scholarship to developing a thesis and abstract, writing a draft, presenting the draft, getting and giving feedback, and finally revising the draft.
Office Hours: Miller Hall 122D, Tuesday and Thursday from 10:00 AM to 11:00 AM and 2:00 PM to 2:30 PM.
Class Time and Location
This course meets every Tuesday and Thursday from 3:00 PM to 5:10 PM in Miller Hall 121 Bond Hall 108. The first class meeting is Thursday, September 27; the final class meeting is Thursday, December 6. We do not meet on Thanksgiving (Thursday, November 22).
Most of the readings will be online, because they are freely available. Clicking on a reading assignment in the schedule below or on the course modules page will take you to more information about the reading, including links to the reading online. The surviving fragments of the Greek iambic poets, however, can be hard to find online, so you should get a copy of the following:
Gerber, D. 1999. Greek Iambic Poetry. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
The bookstore has this for a very good price new ($23.40, several dollars less than Amazon).
University Services for Students
I am more than happy to make accommodations for students with disabilities or other special needs. So that the Disability Access Center (DAC, formerly DRS) office can ensure that your needs are being met appropriately, all requests for accommodation must be made through the MyDRS system every quarter: accommodations do not automatically roll-over into future quarters. New students should enroll with the DAC office to receive accommodations.
The Student Health Center not only provides primary care services but handles documentation of medical issues for you, making your life easier.
Phone: (360) 650-3400
In the case of a family or personal crisis or emergency, please contact the Office of Student Life. During a personal or family crisis, the office of the Office of Student Life can coordinate arrangements with all of your professors for you, making your life easier.
Phone: (360) 650-3450
Don't commit academic dishonesty. See the University's Academic Honesty Policy and Procedure and explore the University's Academic Integrity website.
Attendance and Participation (15%)
You should come to class. Your reading and your intelligent discussion of what you have read constitutes the backbone of this course.
Article and Book Reviews (15%)
From the course bibliography, pick an article, another article or chapter from an edited book, and a monograph. Review each of them. Detailed instructions are provided in each of the three assignment pages:
- Article Review
- Article or Book Chapter Review
- Monograph Review
Your report does not need to be long: you should be able to wrap it up in under 250 words. For examples of professional scholars' reviews, check out the repository of classical book reviews at Bryn Mawr: bmcr.brynmawr.edu
Research Paper (30%)
Academia expects that you develop your interests into research questions, and those questions into arguments that you both situate within the field of current scholarship and prove by reference to primary source materials.
Research differentiates a college course from a book club. In a book club, you spend perhaps a few hours reading a primary source that you discuss with friends who also have spent a negligible amount of time reading the same primary source: from this you get only a superficial exposure to what might (or might not) be a much deeper subject. Reading peer-reviewed secondary sources, which cite and build upon earlier research, gives you quick access to thousands of hours spent by many experts deeply versed in the subject. This is why universities allocate major funds to create and sustain libraries and access to online academic resources: without secondary scholarship, college would be a shallow experience.
Your paper does not need to be long—five pages is the minimum, and seven the maximum. This reflects the usual length of conference papers for professional academic conferences at which scholars first present research to gauge the opinions of their peers before working the research up into a journal article or book chapter. Like most conferences, this class will give you a hard limit of fifteen minutes for your presentation, and that translates into a five to seven page paper. You do need at least five sources cited in the body (and thus also appearing in the bibliography) of your rough and final drafts.
Follow the course style guide for formatting your paper. The Writing Proficiency guidelines stress the importance of learning different styles for different disciplines; we shall follow the TAPA style.
Steps to the paper:
- Research. The article and book review discussions will help with that.
- Abstract. The abstract presents your thesis and compares it to current scholarship on the issue. This tells me what you plan to do with your paper and whether you have done enough initial research to know what steps to take next.
- Rough Draft. I shall go through your rough draft with a fine-toothed comb. I still do this, at the same level of attention to detail, for friends from grad school. Canvas will also assign peer reviews so that you get feedback from others in the class.
- Presentation. Stand in front of the class and read what you have by this point, which will probably be a revised version of your first draft. Your peers will give feedback and ask questions after your presentation. Use that to your advantage: figure out what else you can edit.
- Final Draft. Submit your polished, final draft by the end of exam week.
Occasional Quizzes (20%)
Essay-based quizzes are scheduled throughout the quarter. Some will be more scholarly in character, while others may take the form of declamatory exercises.
Final Examination (20%)
The final examination will be essay-based.
Below you will find a tentative schedule of the course.
This syllabus is subject to change. Changes, if any, will be announced in class. Students will be held responsible for all changes.
Canvas provides feeds to which you can subscribe, to keep all your course info in your favorite calendar program like Apple's Calendar or Microsoft Outlook. For details, see the Canvas Guide on subscribing to the Calendar Feed.
The syllabus page shows a table-oriented view of the course schedule, and the basics of course grading. You can add any other comments, notes, or thoughts you have about the course structure, course policies or anything else.
To add some comments, click the "Edit" link at the top.