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Courses in Classics and Letters

Here is the current course list for Spring 2021 courses in Classics and Letters. Please refer to ClassNav or One for locations and enrollment.


CL C 1123 Gods and Heroes in Art

Davis, WEB

Gen-Ed: Art Form; Letters Category: History

Students will be introduced to stories of ancient gods, goddesses, heroes, and lovers as they have been depicted by various art forms through the ages. Examples of these art forms will include sculptures, mosaics, frescoes, and paintings. Through exposure to a variety of artistic time periods, students will craft educated opinions about artistic works, both ancient and modern.

CL C 2383 Classical Mythology

Braden, TR 3:00pm–4:15pm

Gen-ed: Western Civ.; Letters category: Literature

This course is an introduction to the world of Greek and Roman mythology. By reading both poetry and prose we will explore the traditional stories of the Greeks and Romans and how they reveal the values and beliefs of the people who told and retold them over the centuries. Through this extensive reading, students will develop both an appreciation for Classical mythology and their abilities to analyze both primary and secondary sources.

CL C 2413.995 Medical Vocabulary

Walker-Esbaugh, WEB

Prerequisite: sophomore standing. Designed to be of special use to students planning a career in the Allied Health professions. Study of the basic Greek and Latin elements of medical terminology through the analysis of select vocabularies and word lists.

CL C 2603 Rise and Fall of Rome

Braden, MWF 12:30pm-1:20pm

Gen-Ed: Western Civ; Letters Category: History

“Who is not amazed that the Romans, in just over fifty years, managed to conquer all of the inhabited world… an accomplishment that is unparalleled in the course of human history?” so the ancient historian Polybius remarked as began his monumental history of one of the world’s greatest civilizations that had recently overtaken his own. How did a small village on the banks of the Tiber river come to be the greatest power of the Mediterranean world and leave an indelible mark on western culture in its government, laws, language, literature and arts? The course will survey the rise and fall of Rome in which one finds the victories of Caesar, the advent of class warfare, the tragedies of civil war, the oratory of Cicero, the famous eruption of Vesuvius, the poetry of Vergil and Horace, the rise of Constantine and Christianity—all in the creation of the world’s first multi-ethnic and multicultural state. .

CL C 3163 Visions of Heaven/Hell (HONORS) 

Greene, VIDC MW 3:30pm-4:45pm

Gen-Ed: Western Civ; Letters Category: Literature

In this course we will read three of the major epic poems in the Western tradition: Virgil's Aeneid, Dante's Inferno, and Milton's Paradise Lost. We will examine representations of human heroism in these works, and explore how each of the three poets treats the theme of the heroic journey. Our discussions of Dante's Inferno and Milton's Paradise Lost will also address themes of hell, damnation, and salvation in those works. In addition, we will investigate the complex relationship depicted in all three poems between the individual and the divine.

CL C 3183 Hellas

Chambers, WEB

Gen-Ed: Western Civ; Letters Category: History, Literature, Philosophy, Con. Studies Cat: 1

"Hellas, the Civilization of Ancient Greece" surveys the evolution of the classical ideal beginning with the Pre-Greek Minoans and the Early Mycenaen Kings through the Age of Pericles to the rise of Macedon and Alexander the Great in the 4th Century BC. "Hellas" traces the human factor dominating western history, philosophy, literature, and political science as Greek civilization chronologically evolves. It also traces and examines the lessons of all Greek literature, art, and philosophy: responsible behavior, balance and control. Readings include HDF Kitto's The Greeks, four historical novels by Mary Renault, four Greek dramas, the Apology of Socrates from The Dialogues of Plato, and selections from Edith Hamilton's Mythology. Internet Research of specific historical topics will also be required. 

CL C 3213 Greek Art to the Death of Alexander

Stanley, WEB

Gen-Ed: Art Form; Letters Category: History

This course is a survey of the architecture, sculpture, painting, city-development, and minor arts in the Greek regions of the Mediterranean in the successive stages of their development, with analyses of dominate styles and select masterpieces and monuments.   The course begins with a consideration of the development of the Minoan culture on the Island of Crete and follows this development on through the succeeding mainland eras of the Mycenaean culture through the varied phases of Greek development on the mainland and the eastern Mediterranean areas in the centuries before the appearance of Alexander the Great. In order to help students understand the richness of the ancient Greek culture the course involves copious power point presentations with reading and writing assignments.

CL C 3233 The Roman Forum and Monuments 

Stanley, WEB

Letters Category: History

This course is about the development of the ancient city of Rome. It is a detailed study of how Rome developed from its humble beginnings, as little more than a village on the banks of the Tiber River, to the huge metropolis that represented the power of the Roman Empire.  This course examines each phase of the physical development of the city as reflected in the excavations of the architectural remains of the Roman Forum (the central part of the city).  The course will include an assessment of the topography of Rome, the individuals, historical events, and the purposes that led to the construction of the buildings that survive today in the ruins of the famed Roman Forum.  The study of what ruins represented offers insight into the significance of the Roman urban development and to the greatness of the ancient city and the people who inhabited the city, some of whom played critical roles in guiding the destiny of Rome.

CL C 3510 States in Crisis in Roman Lit

S. Huskey, WEB

Letters Category: History or Literature; Con. Studies Cat: 1

The framers of the Constitution looked to the Roman Republic as a model for a form of government that could withstand the vagaries of time. This course examines how Roman writers responded to the many crises of the first century BCE that led to the collapse of their government and the beginning of the Imperial Age, as well as how later writers looked back on the Republic. History, drama, poetry, political speeches, and letters will be our window onto the crises of this pivotal period and how the thinkers of the day responded to them.

CL C 3323 Religion of the Pharaohs 

Schroeder, VIDC TR 3:00pm-4:15pm

Gen-Ed: IVd NWC, Letters Category: History

The past century has witnessed a fascination with all things ancient Egyptian. From the earliest version of the film, “The Mummy” to the traveling art exhibit of the treasures of Tutankhamen’s tomb (twice!) to the millennium party at the pyramids, the previous hundred years was marked by an obsession with ancient Egyptian religion and culture. This course will examine the religious beliefs and practices of ancient Egyptians and the portrayal of ancient Egypt in popular culture. Specific topics to be studied include: Egyptian royal and social history; Egyptian language and literature; mythology and cosmology; death and the afterlife; temple rituals and architecture; pyramids, tombs and other burial architecture; the intersection of religion with ethnicity, gender, social class, and political power; narratives of the Hebrew Exodus; colonialism and the modern “discovery” of ancient Egypt; and ancient Egypt in film and popular culture. 

CL C 3613 Classical Influence on Modern Literature

R. Huskey, VIDC TR 11:00am-12:15pm

Gen-Ed: Western Civ.; Letters Category: Literature 

One of the most basic and universal aspects of being human is laughter and comedy.  This course is a survey of various types of comedy (e.g., physical comedy; satire; puns and language games; mistaken identity; and stand-up) as they arise in literature from antiquity through the middle ages and into the 21st Century.  Students will experience the serious hilarity of Catullus, Juvenal, Aristophanes, Plautus, Shakespeare, the Muppets, George Carlin, Joan Rivers, and Tina Fey.

CL C 4503 Classics Capstone 

Watson, MWF 09:30am-10:20am

Letters Category: History, Literature, Philosophy

This class is intended to be the culmination of the curriculum in Classics. In addition to reviewing and reflecting upon what you have learned already, you will have the opportunity to identify a particular interest of yours in the field of Classics, develop a research project, and pursue it over the course of the semester, with individual feedback from the instructor and group check-ins and updates on your progress. You will also have an opportunity to learn more about other areas of research and scholarship in Classical studies in general and the various career paths available to you after graduation.


GRK 1115 Beginning Greek

Davis, M-F 9:30am-10:20am

When choosing a secondary language to study, students often make their decisions based on two criteria: the path of least resistance and the false assumption that fluency will be accomplished in 3 semesters. Instead of investing over 13 hours of course credit into classes that provide little future benefit, enroll in a language that creates a more logical student and a more marketable job candidate.

In the first semester, students will be introduced to the fundamentals of the classical Greek language. At the same time, students will learn vocabulary essential for modern technical vocations and many of the core concepts of western civilization. After gaining the ability to translate works ranging from Homer to the New Testament by the third semesters, students quickly realize that one of the primary benefits of learning classical Greek is an increased proficiency in English. Even after one semester of Greek, students see a remarkable improvement in English composition and gain an expansive vocabulary from Greek derivatives. Learning Greek requires effort (as does learning any foreign language); however, the final result will provide lasting benefits in a student’s future courses and help to set a graduate apart in a competitive job market.

GRK 2213 Homer 

Greene, VIDC TR 12:30pm-1:20pm

The main focus of this class will be reading selections of Homer’s Iliad in Greek. In addition to studying the Homeric dialect and familiarizing ourselves with the peculiarities of his language, we will explore the tradition of Homeric studies and the multitude of uses to which these foundational texts of Western Civilization have been put, historical, artistic, educational, and literary. 


LAT 1115 Beginning Latin

Walker-Esbaugh, sec. 001 VIDC MTWRF 11:00am-11:50am/ Hansen, sec. 002 MTWRF 2:15pm-3:05pm

Introductory study of the vocabulary and grammar of the Latin language, with practice in the reading of sentences and connected prose from selected Latin authors

LAT 1215 Beginning Latin Cont.

Walker-Esbaugh, sec. 001 VIDC MTWRF 12:30pm-1:20pm/ Hansen, sec. 002 MTWRF 3:45pm-4:35pm/ Davis, sec. 003 MTWRF 2:00pm-2:50pm

Prerequisite: 1115, or the equivalent, with a grade of C or better.

Introductory study of the vocabulary and grammar of the Latin language, with practice in the reading of sentences and connected prose from selected Latin authors.

LAT 2113 Intermediate Latin Prose

Braden, MWF 11:00am-11:50am

This course focuses on improving reading proficiency with continuous Latin prose passages. We will begin with Cornelius Nepos’ account of the Athenian Miltiades and then continue through selections of Livy, Cicero, and Caesar. There will be reviews of grammatical forms and constructions throughout the semester to reinforce essential knowledge and skills. By the end of the semester students should be able to demonstrate increased fluency in reading Latin texts, distinguish and explain various grammatical constructions, and better appreciate Latin literature.

LAT 2113 Intermediate Latin Prose

S. Huskey, VIDC MWF 2:00pm-2:50pm

The goal of this course is to increase students’ proficiency in reading Latin, with a view to appreciating the literary artistry accomplished by the ancient Romans. We’ll accomplish that goal by reading and discussing a variety of prose texts by Nepos, Cicero, Caesar, Sallust, and Livy. Students in this section will use online tools to produce a detailed commentary on these texts. This class may be repeated, with a change of reading material, for a maximum of six hours credit.  

LAT 2213 Ovid

Hansen, MWF 12:30pm-1:20pm

This course builds on the knowledge developed in the first two semesters of Latin and focuses on improving reading proficiency with continuous poetry passages written by Ovid, a masterful poet whose work spanned and often merged multiple genres.  Using selections from Ovid’s Metamorphoses and Amores, students will develop deeper understanding of not just Latin grammar and vocabulary, but also classical culture and the historical context of Ovid’s life and work.

LAT 3113 Advanced Latin Prose: Natural Histories of Pliny the Elder 

Chambers, TR 9:00am-10:15am

Gaius Plinius Secundus (AD 23-79) best known today as Pliny the Elder  was a wealthy nobleman of equestrian rank who maintained an extremely active public career, ultimately becoming commander of the Roman fleet in Misenum, the port city for the Roman navy in the Western Mediterranean. It was here in the Bay of Naples that he met his death in the eruption of Vesuvius in AD 79; an event immortalized by Pliny the Younger in correspondence with Tacitus the historian.

His Natural Histories dedicated to the Emperor Titus in 77 AD represents a survey of the knowledge of the natural world as seen by an educated Roman of the 1st century.  The broad topics of the original work include cosmology and astronomy, geography, biology, zoology, botany, medicine, and finally metals, minerals and precious stones. From among these I have chosen excerpts for translation that I found entertaining, enlightening and revealing of Roman thought, character, philosophy and even prejudice.

In addition to translating, a short report (in English) that explores and/or elucidates on one of the topics for translation is required.    

LAT 4970 Neronian Literature: The Gruesome and the Grotesque

Watson, MWF 11:00am-11:50am

Neronian literature has the power to fascinate and to terrify. As we embark on the semester, we will explore the other-worldly misadventures in the Satyrica of Petronius—an enigmatic and fragmentary work that continues to prompt debate and speculation to this day. We will eavesdrop on the ribald conversations at the extravagant dinner of the filthy-rich Trimalchio and accompany the protagonist as he is seemingly on an Odyssean adventure to cure his impotence.  But come to class hungry, since in the second half of the course, we will settle down for another momentous meal at a table set by Nero’s very own tutor, Seneca. We will read (and perhaps perform parts of) his Thyestes, a bloody account of the continuing curse on the House of Atreus. In addition to improving their skills in Latin language and literary exegesis, successful students will better appreciate the history, artistry, and exuberance of the Neronian Age. Additional readings (in English) will come from Suetonius and Tacitus as they chronicle the life of Nero, the last of the Julio-Claudian emperors, at whose command both Petronius and Seneca would meet their death. 


LTRS 2103 Introduction to Constitutional Studies

Jordan Jones, MW 7:30pm-8:45pm

Gen-Ed: WC, Letters categories: History or Phil.; Constitutional Studies Area: 1, 2, 3, or 4

This course serves as a broad introduction to the theory and history of constitutional governance.  The student who completes the course will acquire, first, a conceptual vocabulary that enables her or him to think critically about the nature of constitutional problems.  The student will learn what liberty, justice, natural law, natural rights, civil rights, legitimacy, monarchy, democracy, majoritarianism, classical liberalism, republicanism, executive power, legislative power, judicial power, and judicial review mean.  Secondly, the student will acquire a framework of core knowledge about the history of constitutionalism.  This includes the classical roots of constitutional thought, the contribution of the English common law tradition, the origins and structure of the U.S. Constitution, and the development of American constitutionalism during the civil war and civil rights movement.  Finally, the student will leave the course with a deeper sense of the constitutional basis of contemporary political controversies..

LTRS 2970 Intro. to Digital Humanities 

Schroeder, VIDC TR 1:00pm-2:15pm

Letters categories: History or Philosophy

*Course # is expected to change from 2970 to 2033 mid-semester. Gen Ed approval is pending along with course #

In the very course of being human, we often turn to literature, the arts, religion, philosophy, and history as we seek meaning, beauty, and connection in our lives. Increasingly, we have also turned to technology. How might we use computers and digital media to make new discoveries in the arts and the humanities? How might we use digital methods to communicate or share our explorations of what it means to be human? What do human factors such as race and gender have to do with tech? Can digital media and computational research help solve problems of social inequities, or do they mostly exacerbate them? We will explore these questions by experimenting with tools and methods in digital humanities and by addressing critical questions about the role of digital technology in society. This is a collaborative, hands-on project-based course.

In this class we will read and discuss a range of essential writers from the ancient world to the dawn of modernity in the Renaissance who took such questions seriously. These authors, who will feel both foreign and familiar at the same time, will initiate us into a long and often contentious conversation about how life should be understood, what it expects of us, and what we should expect of it.

LTRS 3510 Famous Trials 

Jordan Jones, MW 3:30pm-4:45pm

Letters categories: History; Constitutional Studies Area: 4

From the Salem Witch Trials to O.J. Simpson, the spectacle of a public tribunal determining questions of life and liberty has long captured the imagination of the country. How has the conduct of trials shaped American attitudes about justice? Why have certain trials served as proxy battles for larger political wars? In what ways have representations of trials in art and theater informed popular memory? This course will grapple with these questions in the context of the nation’s legal, social, and political history. In a seminar format, we will explore notorious trials from colonial times to our modern era. Students will also write papers over the course of the semester on famous trials of their choosing. 

LTRS 3510 Topics in Letters: Dostoyevsky 

McClay, MW 3:45pm-5:00pm

Letters Category: Literature or Philosophy

Fyodor Dostoevsky was perhaps the greatest Russian writer of the nineteenth century, a master of the novel and the short story whose highly psychological fiction penetrates into the darkest recesses of the human heart, and provides unsurpassed moments of illumination. Generations of readers since his time have found his works sublimely powerful, even life-changing, and he had an immense influence on 19th and 20th century thought, an influence that persists today. In this course we shall be reading all four of his most acclaimed works including Crime and Punishment (1866), The Idiot (1869), Demons (1872), and The Brothers Karamazov (1880), along with some of his short stories and other shorter writings.

LTRS 3510 The Literature of Love 

David Anderson, TR 9:00am-10:15am

Letters category: Literature

Great authors love to write about love—romantic love in particular.  It’s hard to blame them.  Love may be frequently frustrating but it is rarely boring.  One of the richest, most moving and often most painful aspects of the human experience, love captivates and antagonizes us.  It is both intensely earthy and intensely spiritual, drawing us to the physical body of another human being and at the same time transcending it, giving us a glimpse of the soul.  In this course we will read a number of novels, plays and poems written across the Western tradition such as Dante’s Vita Nuova, the comedies of Shakespeare and Jane Austen, Flaubert’s Madame Bovary and Graham Greene’s The End of the Affair.  

LTRS 3703 001 35723 Law and Social Movements

Schumaker, WEB

Letters Category: History; Con. Studies Category: 4

This course examines the historical intersections of American law and social movements from the Civil War to the present day. How has constitutional change shaped social movements? And how have social movements, in turn, affected American law? Finally, how have conceptions of rights changed over time? We will approach these questions from several different angles, including the struggles for racial, sexual, and gender equality and the histories of the Chicano and American Indian movements.

LTRS 3713 Gender and the Constitution

Schumaker, WEB

Letters category: History; Constitutional Studies area: 3 or 4

This course examines the history of gender and the Constitution in the United States. Beginning with the Founding generation and ending in the present, we will explore how ideas about gender, sexuality, and the family have shaped the privileges and obligations of American citizenship. We will examine the ways that the relationship between gender, sex, and the Constitution has changed over time. Topics covered in this class include feminism, masculinity, women’s suffrage, interracial marriage, affirmative action, and sexual orientation. In addition, we will study how women have shaped the law as plaintiffs, lawyers, and judges.

LTRS 4303-001 -Tocqueville's America

McClay TR 11:15am-12:30pm

Letters Category: History, Literature, Philosophy, Con. Studies Cat: 2, 4

Alexis de Tocqueville was one of the wisest and most penetrating social and political thinkers of the nineteenth century, and his work has only grown in insight and value in recent years. He is best known for his famous early book Democracy in America. This class will be devoted to a careful reading and discussion of not only that work, but the full range of Tocqueville's writing (in translation), including his final unfinished study of the Old Regime and the French Revolution, as well as his Recollections of the French Revolution of 1848. In addition, we will be reading in Tocqueville’s correspondence, and in the two major English-language studies of his life. Students will emerge with a fully rounded understanding of a great mind, a preeminent authority on the nature of revolution and the nature of democratic society, and a shrewd and often prophetic observer of modern life.

LTRS 4503 Letters Capstone Course 

R. Huskey, VIDC TR 3:00pm-4:15pm

Letters Category: History, Literature, or Philosophy

One element of culture that every person has as stake in is food.  This class will ask students to combine their learning in the areas of history, literature, and philosophy and apply their critical thinking skills to a topic related to food.  Areas of potential focus include: 

- environmental impacts of our current consumption practices

- vegetarianism, ‘manufactured’ meat, and alternative protein sources

- food insecurity in Oklahoma and on OU’s campus

- potential solutions to nutritional short-comings

- best practices for food and nutrition aid organization

Students will have the option of participating in a service learning project on campus or in central Oklahoma.