Sexuality and Gender in the Ancient World (CLA3020)
|Staff||Professor Rebecca Langlands - Convenor|
Dr Sebastian Matzner - Lecturer
|Pre-requisites||The successful completion of at least 90 credits at level 2, of which at least 30 must be in Classics and Ancient History|
|Duration of Module||Term 1: 11 weeks; Term 2: 11 weeks;|
To examine in detail a wide range of texts and images which provide us with evidence about sexual practices, beliefs and ideologies in the ancient world – from erotica on pots to legal texts, from religious rituals to sex manuals. To explore the way interpretation of this ancient “evidence” has continued to change over the past two hundred years, as it is shaped by the evolving beliefs, prejudices, anxieties and fantasies of the modern world. To consider modern debates about, and theoretical approaches to, sexuality and gender and how these relate to the ancient material.
ILO: Module-specific skills
- 1. Demonstrate a detailed knowledge of a wide range of sources relating to sex, sexuality and gender, and evaluate and discuss their significance.
- 2. Identify and explain the various theoretical approaches to gender and sexuality in the ancient world, and demonstrate awareness of the subjects central themes and issues
- 3. Demonstrate awareness of the extent to which interpretations of ancient material relating to the themes of sex and gender are shaped by changing modern concerns
- 4. Demonstrate a good knowledge of the history and variety of scholarship on sexuality and gender in antiquity and an understanding of how this scholarship can inform your own interpretation of the sources
ILO: Discipline-specific skills
- 5. Identify, appreciate and engage with different theoretical approaches to ancient sources.
- 6. Demonstrate sophisticated critical and analytical skills which can be applied to the analysis of material from any culture.
- 7. Demonstrate appreciation of the issues involved in using ancient texts and images as historical source material and relate sources to their socio-historical context.
ILO: Personal and key skills
- 8. Through research for seminars, essays and conference presentations, demonstrate advanced independent and group study skills in research, critical analysis, and presentation of findings.
- 9. Through writing essays, delivering conference presentation and preparing for seminars, demonstrate advanced ability to select and organise relevant material to produce an argument.
- 10. Through written assignments, informal seminar presentations and discussion, and assessed conference presentation demonstrate advanced ability to present a strong, coherent argument in both oral and written forms.
- 11. Through participation in module conference and presentation of conference presentation demonstrate an advanced level of communication skills, including confidence and clarity in public speaking.
- 12. Through submission and development of conference abstract and conference journal demonstrate enhanced ability to reflect on your own work, to respond constructively to feedback, and to implement suggestions and improve work on the basis of feedback
- 13. Through sitting the final examination, demonstrate advanced skills in knowledge recall and management and in the development, organization, and expression of ideas under pressure of time
Term 1: Seminars 1-3 Introductory sessions - modern debates and ancient materials; Seminars 4-10: student-led seminars, each focusing on a different Ancient Greek source in roughly chronological order from the Homeric Hymns to Aristotle and Xenophon 11. Essay feedback and conclusions.
Term 2: Student-led seminars covering material from ancient Rome, from foundation myths to the Greek imperial writers Plutarch and Lucian. During this term we will also stage the day-long Sexuality and Gender Module Conference, where all students will present their assessed presentations on a topic of their choosing related to the over-arching themes of the module (subject to approval of the lecturer). The final session will cover essay feedback and exam preparation.
Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)
|Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activities||Guided independent study||Placement / study abroad|
Details of learning activities and teaching methods
|Category||Hours of study time||Description|
|Scheduled learning and teaching activities||44||Seminars (1 x 2 hours per week)|
|Guided independent study||256||Independent study|
Summative assessment (% of credit)
|Coursework||Written exams||Practical exams|
Details of summative assessment
|Form of assessment||% of credit||Size of the assessment (eg length / duration)||ILOs assessed||Feedback method|
|Essay 1||20||3000 words||1-10||Mark, written comments, general feedback in seminar, individual feedback from lecturer|
|Essay 2||20||3000 words||1-10||Mark, written comments, general feedback in seminar, individual feedback from lecturer|
|Oral presentation||10||20 minute presentation with 10 minutes of questions||1-12||Mark and written comments on feedback sheet, comments and questions from lecturer and peers|
|Exam||50||3 hours||1-7, 9, 10, 13||Mark and written comments|
Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)
|Original form of assessment||Form of re-assessment||ILOs re-assessed||Timescale for re-assessment|
|Essay||Essay||1-10||August ref/def period|
|Exam||Exam||1-7, 9, 10, 13||August ref /def period|
Re-assessment is not available for oral presentations.
Indicative learning resources - Basic reading
Useful course textbook (purchase recommended): Skinner, M.B. Sexuality in Greek and Roman Culture, 2005.
A wide selection of set texts is available on ELE.
To buy: Plato, Symposium (Trans. Chris Gill, Penguin), Ovid The Erotic Poems (Trans. Peter Green, Penguin).
Indicative further reading:
Anna Clark, Desire: a history of European sexuality. (Routledge, 2008)
John R. Clarke, Looking at Lovemaking: constructions of sexuality in Roman Art 100BC – AD 250 (California 1998)
James Davidson, Courtesans and Fishcakes: the consuming passions of classical Athens (1997)
David Halperin, How to do the history of homosexuality. (Chicago, 2002)
Laura McLure (ed.), (2002) Sexuality and gender in the classical world readings and sources. Oxford Blackwell
Thomas K. Hubbard (ed.), Homosexuality in Greece and Rome. A Sourcebook of Basic Documents. University of California Press, 2003
Marguerite Johnson and Terry Ryan, Sexuality in Greek and Roman society and literature: a sourcebook (Routledge, 2005).
Module has an active ELE page?
Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources
The module has an ELE page; much of the source material and secondary reading is available here in electronic form.
Available as distance learning?
Last revision date
Key words search
Classics, Sexuality, Gender, Ancient World