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Courses in Classics and Letters

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


Davis, MWF 12:30-1:20pm

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.

Braden, MWF 11:30-12:20am

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.

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.

Braden, MWF 10:30-11:20am

Gen-Ed: Western Civ; Letters Category: History

This class is part mythology, part history, part literature, part art — it is an introduction to the world of the Ancient Greeks. We will study not only Greece, but also ourselves, and the many ways our modern world has been influenced by these ancient people and ideas. Many words in English are derived from the Greek language: history, philosophy, geometry, democracy, politics, rhetoric, mythology, drama, tragedy, comedy, epic, and many others. In this class we will observe how the Greeks both gave us these words and began the conversation about these concepts in Western society. The readings will come mostly from the writings of the Greeks themselves, allowing us to observe how they lived their daily lives and how they built empires; how they entertained themselves and how they sought the meaning of life and the truth about religion.

Watson, TR 9:00-10:15am

Gen-Ed: Western Civ, Letters Category: Literature

The bloody and tumultuous years that witnessed the death of the Roman Republic and the rise of autocracy under the Empire also gave birth to some of the greatest literature of classical antiquity. This year we will peak into the risqué relationships of Catullus and Ovid, solve mysterious murders and foil assassination plots with Cicero, enter the bizarre world of Petronius, critique the lives of colourful emperors with Suetonius, and find some solace from Virgil and Horace. Join us on a survey of the literary culture of ancient Rome and one of the most intriguing periods in the history of the Western world.

S. Huskey, TR 3:00-4:15pm Gen-Ed: Western Civ

Letters Category: Literature

This course will explore some of the great epics of the ancient world: the Iliad, the Odyssey, the Argonautica, and the Aeneid. We will discuss the nature of heroism, the poetry of epic storytelling, the historical context of the poems, and the wisdom they have for us today.

Johnson, MW 1:30-2:45pm

Gen-Ed: Western Civ; Letters Category: History, Literature, Philosophy

Plato’s dialogues are at the foundation of the western tradition. But what we know today as Platonism, a loose affiliation of philosophies derived from Plato, often adapted his original philosophy in creative and contradicting ways. This class will read (in English) select dialogues of Plato in their historical context and will also examine the philosophers who later claimed his legacy over many centuries. Texts from Middle Platonism and Neoplatonism will also be read, as well as medieval texts that received Platonism and transmitted it to Renaissance and Early Modern philosophers. We will discuss Christian, Jewish, and Muslim uses of Plato and the long Platonic traditions established in these religions.

Chambers, Online

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

"Rome did not invent education, but she developed it on a scale unknown before, gave it state support, and formed the curriculum that has persisted to our harassed youth.  She did not invent the arch, vault or dome, but she used them with such audacity and magnificence that in some fields her architecture has remained unequaled; and all the elements of a medieval cathedral were prepared in her basilicas.  She did not invent philosophy, but it was in Lucretius and Seneca that Epicureanism and Stoicism found their finished form.  She did not invent the types of literature, but who could adequately record the influence of Cicero on oratory, the essay and prose style of Virgil on Dante and Milton, ---of Livy and Tacitus on the writing of history, of the satire of Horace and Juvenal on Dryden, Swift and Pope?  Her language became, by admirable corruption, the speech of Italy, Rumania, France, Spain, Portugal and Latin America; half the white man's world speaks a Latin tongue.  Latin was, until the 18th Century the Esperanto of science, scholarship, and philosophy in the West; it gave a convenient international terminology to botany and zoology; it writes medical prescriptions, and haunts the phraseology of law.  It entered by direct appropriation, and again through the Romance languages to enhance the wealth and flexibility of English speech. Our Roman heritage works in our lives a thousand times a day."  Caesar and Christ, Will Durant

“Roma, the Civilization of Ancient Rome” surveys the Roman nation from its legendary origins in 753 BC, to the collapse of the Western Empire in 476 AD.  It will trace Roman mythology, history, the incorporation of democratic ideas in a checks and balance system of government and major figures of the Roman world with special emphasis on Roman genius, contributions, and problems that have extended into our modern world.  The required reading includes standard texts as well as historical novels so that the student gets a feel for as well as learning facts about Roman motivations, actions and accomplishments. This course counts as a history, literature or philosophy major requirement for Letters majors; it counts as an Area 1 course for Constitutional Studies.

Harper, TR 10:30-11:45am

Gen-Ed: Western Civ; Letters category: History, Philosophy; Constitutional Studies Area 1 or 2

What makes a law just?  Is a law just because it was made through a fair process, for instance by majority vote?  Or is a law just because of its substance, because it respects human rights, promotes the greatest good for the greatest number, or establishes a fair system for the interaction of voluntary agents?  This course explores these questions in the context of Greek and Roman law.  The Greeks and Romans were the first western societies to confront these questions directly, and more importantly they tried to implement their ideas through political institutions.  The focus of this course is on law, because law is the meeting point between the theory and practice of justice.  With Aristotle’s Politics as our principal guide, this course will follow the development of justice throughout the Greco-Roman experience.

R. Huskey, TR 1:30-2:45pm

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

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 Plautus, Aristophanes, Juvenal, Shakespeare, Sherman Alexie, The Simpsons, and Tina Fey.


GRK 1115 Beginning Greek

Davis, M-F 10:30-11:20am 

With the aspiration of translating works such as Homer’s Iliad, Plato’s Republic, or the New Testament, students will be introduced to the fundamentals of the classical Greek language in this first semester course. At the end of the semester, not only will students be one step closer to translating some of the most significant works ever written, but they will also see a remarkable improvement in English composition and gain an expansive vocabulary from Greek derivatives.

GRK 2970 Attic Greek

Davis, MWF 9:30-10:20pm

This third semester course completes the introduction to the foundational grammar and vocabulary of Attic Greek.  Students will begin the course with a review of fundamental grammar and vocabulary and then transition to reading authentic texts from Euripides, Plato, and Thucydides. The course is designed to build student confidence in translating authentic Greek authors with little assistance.

GRK 3113 Advanced Prose

Johnson, TR 1:30-2:45pm

Letters Category: History, Literature

This advanced reading (“special topics”) seminar will be focused on Plato’s Timaeus (Timaios). The Timaeus is a wide-ranging, speculative dialogue which addresses the natural world, the universe, the creation of the “world soul”, the physical elements, mathematics, and language. It was extremely influential in the Roman, late antique, and medieval periods. The dialogue was especially popular among Neoplatonists, including Plotinus, Proclus, Damascius, and Simplicius. It was translated into Latin by Cicero (first century BC) and Calcidius (fourth century AD), and the Neoplatonic philosopher Proclus wrote a multi-volume commentary on it in the fifth century. The Timaeus served as one of the primary Platonic dialogues for the development of Christian natural philosophy and metaphysics. The twelfth-century “Chartres School” of medieval philosophers used it as a basis for their arguments over creation ex nihilo.


LAT 1115 Beginning Latin

Walker-Esbaugh, sec. 001 M-F 10:30-11:20am/ Hansen, sec. 002 M-F 11:30-12:20pm/ Braden, sec. 003 M-F 1:30-2:20pm

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 M-F 11:30-12:20pm/ Hansen, sec. 002 M-F 1:30-2:20pm

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 1315 Intensive Intro Latin-Honors

Chambers, MW 9:30-10:20am, TR 9:00-10:15am

Prerequisites:  Any foreign language background of 1 to 2 years.

This is an accelerated course covering the material presented in Latin 1115 and 1215 in one semester. This course was specifically created for the exceptional student with a foreign language background (not Latin) who wishes to move rapidly through both introductory Latin courses in a single semester. It is also appropriate for those students who have had two years of mid-high or high school Latin but feel they need an intensive grammar review before proceeding to an intermediate reading course. *Students of the latter category should have an interview with the instructor before enrolling in the course.                                    

Hours of Credit: Successful completion of the course will allow the student to obtain credit for ten semester hours of Latin (five hours letter graded that count as Honors credit, five hours S/U credit). 

Recommendations: Because of the intensity of this course and the amount of material that is covered and assigned, it is recommended that the student carry a total course load (including Latin 1315) of no more than 14-16 hours, especially if the student is also working.

LAT 2113 Intermediate Latin Prose

Hansen, MWF 10:30-11:20pm

This course focuses on the reading and understanding of continuous prose passages of Latin. It begins with a review of word forms, and then moves on to further practice with more complicated sentence constructions. Through this class, the student will begin to read Latin prose with increased proficiency and acquire a more thorough knowledge of Latin vocabulary and grammar. The readings include selections from the Vulgate, Caesar, and Livy. Roman history and culture will be an important component as well. This class may be repeated, with a change of reading material, for a maximum of six hours credit.

LAT 2213 Ovid

S. Huskey, MWF 11:30-12:20pm

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 (Pro)se: From Plato to Augustine

Watson, TR 12:00-1:15pm

During this course, students will read Latin literature as wide-ranging and diverse as the Roman empire itself. Starting from early literary Latin of Cato the Censor, students will not only see the golden age of Cicero and Caesar, but also progress into the imperial escapades of Petronius, the dramatic histories of Tacitus, and the philosophy of Augustine and Tertullian. By the conclusion of the course, they should be able to read Latin prose more fluently, explain the grammar and syntax that they encounter, and have a general understanding of the development of Latin prose literature and its authors from the second century BCE to the fifth century CE.

LAT 4970 Augustine Confessions

Johnson, TR 3:00-4:15pm

In addition to being a classic of western literature, Augustine’s Confessions is one of the most self-aware and spiritually intimate works ever written in Latin. We will read key passages throughout the work, paying special attention to his unique Latin style. In the process, we will familiarize ourselves with the features of late antique Latin more generally: namely its syntax, vocabulary, and self-conscious classicism. One goal will be to understand and parse the argument of the work, which in some ways is more difficult than the Latin itself. 


LTRS 2103 Introduction to Constitutional Studies

TBA, Online

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

This online-only 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 Lost in the Cosmos:  Meaning and Purpose in Western Literature Part One (Antiquity to the Renaissance)

Anderson, TR 3:00-4:15pm

Letters categories: History, Literature, Philosophy

The people of the distant past were every bit as human as we are.  While they had very different cultural and material contexts, which shaped their views in ways that can initially seem strange and in some cases are justly troubling, they were preoccupied by the same issues that vex us today:  Who am I and what am I for?  How am I to understand suffering and death, love and hope?  Am I truly free, or am I the plaything of the gods or determined by my social role?  Is there a higher law to which I must conform?

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 3113 Examined Life III: Enlightenment

R. Huskey, TR 10:30-11:45am

Gen-Ed: WC, Letters Categories: History, Literature, Philosophy

This course presents a survey of the history, literature, and philosophy of the Enlightenment through reading and discussion of the great books of the time, with particular emphasis on understanding the impact of these texts on modern day thought. Readings include works from Leibniz, Voltaire, Rousseau, Wollstonecraft, Hume, and Kant, with attention to questions related to evil, free will, and what it means to be ‘civilized’. This course will count towards the history, literature, or philosophy requirement of the Letters major.

LTRS 3510 Major Figures: Charles Dickens’s Uncanny Worlds

Daniela Garofalo, TR 4:30-5:45

Letters Categories: Literature

Charles Dickens wrote novels that brought together realism, the Gothic, the detective story, and the comic. He created works that reimagined class struggle, the industrial revolution, and capitalism in terms of ghosts, murder mysteries, haunted houses, and worlds in which objects seem preternaturally alive. This course will study Dickens’s startling vision of modernity and his haunted urban landscapes as well as his unique style, characters, and narrative forms.

Christmas Carol (1843) David Copperfield (1849) Bleak House (1852) Hard Times (1855) Great Expectations (1861)

LTRS 3603 Debating Const. Controversies

Porwancher, TR 4:30-5:45pm

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

Students will rotate between teams of lawyers and panels of judges, alternately arguing and deciding constitutional controversies. Students will learn how to conduct advanced legal research on and formulate persuasive arguments about some of our most divisive constitutional issues.  In addition to cultivating oratorical skills, students will write two research papers on controversies of their choosing.

LTRS 3613 Constitutional Narratives

Porwancher, TR 1:30-2:45pm

Letters Category: History; Constitutional Studies area 4  

Storytelling is central to the American constitutional tradition.  Lawyers craft narratives to make their cases.  Journalists tell stories to help the public understand the law that governs our lives.  And historians narrate the events that gave the words of the Constitution meaning.  This course will explore the many ways that the art of narrative intersects with constitutional history.  Student will fashion their own narratives about major constitutional episodes of their choosing.

LTRS 4503 Letters Capstone Course

Porwancher, W 3:00-5:40pm

Letters Category: History, Literature or Phil.; Constitutional Studies Category: 3, 4

History is riddled with myths and mysteries.  In this course, we become historical detectives, sifting through evidence to unearth the truths buried beneath the conventional wisdom.  Were some of Thomas Jefferson's slaves actually his own children?  Did Alexander Hamilton conceal a secret religious identity?  How did the criminal underground operate in Gilded Age New York?  What prompted a world-renowned scientist to lead a double life as a train attendant?  Our goal is not just to uncover hidden histories but to understand how falsehoods manage to survive unchallenged from one generation to the next.   Students will also cultivate advanced writing techniques through a series of workshops that prepare them to submit two research papers on historical topics of their choosing.

LTRS 4970 Cultural Heritage Data & Social Engagement

Schroeder, Online

This course on Cultural Heritage Data and Social Engagement will use methods in Digital Humanities and Media Studies to explore critical issues in Cultural Heritage studies, including: canon and whether digital platforms can increase our access to texts and artifacts from diverse communities, or whether digital platforms amplify existing inequalities; 3D technologies for reconstructing, restoring, or repatriating artifacts; cultural considerations for digitizing, publishing, or remixing the cultural heritage of a community group other than your own; privacy and digitization; data surveillance issues for cultural heritage activists and social media; digitization methods and technologies. Assignments for the course include short writing assignments on the course blog, technology tutorials, a final project. No previous technical experience is required for the course.