Humanities 110

Introduction to the Humanities

Syllabus | Fall 2017

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Course Logistics

Required Texts

  • Aeschylus, The Oresteia, trans. Fagles (Penguin)
  • Anonymous, The Epic of Gilgamesh, trans. George (Penguin)
  • New Oxford Annotated Bible with the Apocrypha, trans. Coogan, et al. (Oxford)
  • Curd, ed., Presocratics Reader: Selected Fragments and Testimonia, trans. McKirahan (Hackett)
  • Euripides, Euripides I, ed. David Grene and Richmond Lattimore (University of Chicago Press)
  • Herodotus, The Histories, trans. Selincourt (Penguin)
  • Hesiod, Theogony and Works and Days, trans. Lombardo (Hackett)
  • Homer, The Iliad, trans. Lattimore (Chicago)
  • Miller, Greek Lyric: An Anthology in Translation (Hackett)
  • The Tale of Sinuhe and Other Ancient Egyptian Poems, trans. Parkinson (Oxford)
  • Sophocles, Sophocles I: Oedipus the King, Oedipus at Colonus, Antigone, trans. Grene and Lattimore (Chicago)
  • Thucydides, The Peloponnesian War, trans. Warner (Penguin)
  • Various Readings on The Ancient Mediterranean and Western Asia available on e-reserves


To access texts that are listed as being on e-reserves, find the day's reading assignments and follow the link to the text. You will need your kerberos username and password to be able to access the texts. Learn more about accessing e-reserves on Moodle. Please bring a copy of the day's reading assignment to class.

On Reserve at the Library

Course packet of all texts that are listed as being on e-reserves.
Harvey, The Nuts and Bolts of College Writing (Hackett)
Williams and Colomb, The Craft of Argument (Concise Edition) (Chicago)

All texts may be purchased at the Reed College Bookstore; limited numbers of each are on reserve in Hauser Library. Also on reserve or in the reference section: Oxford Classical Dictionary; Oxford Companion to Classical Literature; Anchor Atlas of World History, Volume I; Richard Lanham, Revising Prose.

Conference Assignments

The Registrar makes initial assignments to conferences for both semesters in this yearlong course. Students who subsequently find it necessary to change conferences due to time conflicts must contact Elizabeth Drumm, the chair of Humanities 110, via email ( or during office hours, with the scheduling conflict. If the change is approved, the Hum 110 chair will place you in a new section based on available slots. No conference changes will be permitted after the second week of the term.

Papers, Writing Assignments, and Examinations

Four course-wide papers will be assigned, due at the times designated on the schedule of readings and lectures; at least one of these papers will be revised. Individual conference leaders may assign additional writing. If the due date for an assignment conflicts with a religious holiday or obligation that you wish to observe, please consult with your conference leader. A four-hour final examination for the fall semester will be given Tuesday, December 12 from 1:00-5:00pm in Vollum Lecture Hall. Rescheduling of the final exam will be allowed only for medical reasons

Writing Center

You can get additional help with all stages of the writing process from the Writing Center located in the Dorothy Johansen House. Drop-in help from writing tutors is available Sunday – Thursday, 6 p.m.-10 p.m.; additional hours will also be available during weeks that a paper is due (contact the Writing Center for more information).

Schedule of Readings and Lectures

Week 1 - Course Introduction and Mesopotamia

Mon 28 Aug

  • Anonymous, The Epic of Gilgamesh, pp. xiii-lii, 1-100, 175-195;
  • Danielle Allen, “Aims of Education” address, University of Chicago, 2001. (e-reserves)
Lecture: "Introduction to Hum 110: Greece and the Ancient Mediterranean"
Panel: Christian Kroll, Lucía Martínez Valdivia, and Jay Dickson
  1. Panel Presentation by Prof. Jay Dickson, English
  2. Panel Presentation by Prof. Lucía Martínez Valdivia, English.
  3. Powerpoint to accompany panel presentation by Prof. Martínez Valdivia.
  4. Panel Presentation by Prof. Christian Kroll.

Wed 30 Aug

  • Anonymous, The Epic of Gilgamesh
Lecture: "Gilgamesh: When Terrified by Death…"
Nathalia King

Fri 1 Sep

  • Anonymous, The Epic of Gilgamesh
Lecture: "Reading Between and Around the Lines"
Kambiz GhaneaBassiri

Week 2 - Mesopotamia continued

Mon 4 Sep

Labor Day Holiday. No class.

Wed 6 Sep

No readings
Lecture: "Paper Writing in Hum 110: How Close Reading leads to Argument"
Panel: Nathalia King and Elizabeth Drumm

Fri 8 Sep

Lecture: "Of Gods, Kings, and Laws"
David Garrett

Sat 9 Sep

First Paper Due

Due Saturday, September 9, at 5:00 PM to your conference leader.

View Paper Topics

Week 3 - Life, death, and heroism in ancient Egypt

Mon 11 Sep

Lecture: “Stairway to Heaven: the Great Pyramid in and out of Context”
Tom Landvatter

Wed 13 Sep

  • “The Tale of Sinuhe” and “The Teachings of Khety,” Tale of Sinuhe and Other Ancient Egyptian Poems, pp. 21-53, 273-83
Lecture: “Sinuhe’s Flight”
Elizabeth Drumm

Fri 15 Sep

  • Visual images:  study these images before lecture and conference
  • "The Great Hymn to Osiris" (Lichtheim II 81-86) (e-reserves)
  • "Horus and Seth" (Lichtheim II 214-223) (e-reserves)
  • "The Judgement of the Dead" (Lichtheim II 124-132) (e-reserves)
  • "The Dialogue of a Man and His Soul" Tale of Sinuhe and Other Egyptian Poems, pp. 151-65
  • "Coffin Text 148" (Simpson 263-265) (on e-reserves)
  • "Harper Songs" (Simpson 332-333; Lichtheim II 115-116) (on e-reserves)
Lecture: “Sirius Rising: Religion and Art in Ancient Egypt”
Pancho Savery

Week 4 - Egypt and its legacy

Mon 18 Sep

Lecture: Democratizing Culture: King Tut and the Canon Wars”
Sarah Wagner-McCoy

Wed 20 Sep

  • Image gallery
  • Fowler, Barbara Hughes (trans), Love poems, Love lyrics of ancient Egypt, pp. xiii-xv, 6-9, 17, 38-41, 57-58, 66-67 (e-reserves)
  • Foster, John L., Ancient Egyptian Literature, Leiden Hymns XL (pp. 156), XC (pp.160-161), and C (pp.162). (e-reserves)
Lecture: “Caught in the Spell: Love Poems and Sacred Hymns”
Lena Lencek

Fri 22 Sep

  • Homer, The Iliad, Bks 1-6
Lecture: "'Oral Tradition in Homer: Giving Form to Action"
Nathalia King

Week 5 - Life, death, and heroism in archaic Greece

Mon 25 Sep

  • Homer, The Iliad, Books 7-15
Lecture: “Divine and Human Values in The Iliad”
Ann Delehanty

Wed 27 Sep

  • Homer, The Iliad, Books 16-20
Lecture: "The Iliad's Conception of Fate"
Meg Scharle and Paul Hovda

Fri 29 Sep

  • Homer, The Iliad, Books 21-24
Lecture: “Love is a Battlefield”
Jay Dickson

Week 6 - Greek poetry beyond the Iliad

Mon 2 Oct

  • Hesiod, Theogony, lines 1-210, 455-725, 887-967; Works and Days (entire)
Lecture: “Goddesses and Gods”
Michael Faletra

Wed 4 Oct

  • Miller, Greek Lyric: An Anthology in Translation: Sappho (entire selection, pp. 51-63), Archilochus (Fragments 5, 13, 19, 114, 128, 196a, 191, 193, 201), Solon (Fragment 4), Theognis (lines 19-30)
Lecture: “Speaking Sappho: Lyric Form, Lyric Voice”
Lucia Martinez Valdivia

Fri 6 Oct

  • Presocratics Reader: Xenophanes (pp. 31-38); Heraclitus (pp. 39-54); Parmenides (pp. 55-65)
Lecture: “Change and Eternity; Appearance and Reality”
Paul Hovda

Sat 7 Oct

Second Paper Due

Due Saturday, October 7, at 5:00 PM to your conference leader.

View Paper Topics

Week 7 - Persian and Greek encounters

Mon 9 Oct

  • Herodotus, Histories, 1.1-91, 1.107-140, 1.201-216, 2.113-120
Lecture: "Oracular History and Athenian Empire"
Margot Minardi

Wed 11 Oct

  • Image gallery
  • Persian imperial inscriptions, from The Persian Empire, Kuhrt, ed., 70-74, 141-158, 492-495, 503-505 (e-reserves)      
  • Herodotus, Histories, 3.61-89
Lecture: “Empire of All Kinds”
Margot Minardi

Thu 12 Oct


“Herodotus Is Not From Here: History Looking in a Different Direction”
Carolyn Dewald, Professor Emerita of Classical Studies at Bard College

4:30 PM, Psych 105

Fri 13 Oct

  • Herodotus, Histories, 2.1-64, 3.38, 7.1-152
Lecture: “Herodotus the Tourist: The Role of Ethnography in Herodotus’ Histories”
Ellen Millender

Sun 15 Oct

Fall Break

October 15 – October 22

Week 8 - Persian and Greek encounters

Mon 23 Oct

  • Herodotus, Histories, 5.55-78, 8.1-103, 9.17-82, 9.114-122
Lecture: “Look to the End’: Herodotus and Narrative Form”
Jay Dickson

Wed 25 Oct

Lecture: "Architecture, Memory and Meaning: The Parthenon and Beyond"
Christian Kroll

Thu 26 Oct


“Before Religion? The Zoroastrian Concept of Daēnā and Two Myths about It”
Bruce Lincoln

6:00 PM, Performing Arts Building 320

Fri 27 Oct

Lecture: "Architecture and Anxieties of Influence: the Persian Apadana and the Greek Parthenon"
Kris Cohen and Nathalia King

Week 9 – Visualizing Athens

Mon 30 Oct

  • Aeschylus, “Agamemnon,” Oresteia
Lecture: “The Beginnings of Tragedy”
Jay Dickson

Wed 1 Nov

  • Aeschylus, “Libation Bearers” and “Eumenides,” Oresteia
Lecture: "The Trouble with Justice"
David Garrett

Fri 3 Nov

Lecture: “Life Forms”
Kris Cohen

Sat 4 Nov

Third paper due

Due Saturday, November 4, at 5:00 PM to your conference leader.

Week 10 – Staging democracy

Mon 6 Nov

  • Sophocles, Antigone
Lecture: “Antigone and Athens’ Democratic Anxieties”
Tamara Metz

Wed 8 Nov

  • Euripides, Medea
Lecture: “Medea in Motion”
Misha Teramura

Wed 8 Nov


“Mojada: A Medea in Los Angeles”

7:30 PM, Portland Center Stage at The Armory, 128 NW 11th Ave.

Thu 9 Nov


“Mojada: A Medea in Los Angeles”

7:30 PM, Portland Center Stage at The Armory, 128 NW 11th Ave.

Fri 10 Nov

  • Susan Lape, Race and Citizen Identity in the Classical Athenian Democracy, pp. 1-52 (e-reserves)
Lecture: "Did Race Matter in Classical Antiquity? Athenian Democracy and the History of a Dangerous Idea"
Margot Minardi

Week 11 – Democratic anxieties

Mon 13 Nov

  • Thucydides, The Peloponnesian War, Book 1:1-55, 66-125, 139-146, Book 2:1-18, 33-65
Lecture: “Costs of (Athenian?) Democracy”
Tamara Metz

Wed 15 Nov

  • Thucydides, The Peloponnesian War, Book 3:1-50, 69-85, Book 4:1-23, 26-41, 55-64, 78-88, Book 5:83-116
Lecture: “Thucydides and the School of War”
Ellen Millender

Fri 17 Nov

  • Thucydides, The Peloponnesian War, Book 6: 1-41, 88-93,  Book 7: 1-18, 42-87
Lecture: "Thucydides, the Sophists, and the Sicilian Expedition"
Wally Englert

Week 12 – Back to origins

Mon 20 Nov

  • Genesis, chapters 1-10, plus introduction to Genesis from the Oxford Study Bible
Lecture: “The Geneses of Genesis”
Michael Faletra

Wed 22 Nov

  • Genesis, chapters 11-50 (focus on 11-23)
Lecture: “Babble”
Jan Mieszkowski

Thu 23 Nov

Thanksgiving break

November 23 – November 26

Week 13 – The Hebrew Bible in the Mediterranean world

Mon 27 Nov

  • Exodus, chapters 1-15, plus introduction to Exodus from the Oxford Study Bible
  • Martin Jaffee, Early Judaism, pp. 19-28, 49-67 (on e-reserves)
Lecture: "To Distinguish Holy from Unholy: Sacrifice and Purities in the Torah"
Steve Wasserstrom

Wed 29 Nov

  • Exodus 15-35; 40.16-34
Lecture: “Moses as a Nation Builder”
Tamara Metz

Fri 1 Dec

  • Kimberly B. Stratton, “Identity,” in The Cambridge Companion to Ancient Mediterranean Religions, ed. Barbette Stanley Spaeth, pp. 220-251. (e-reserves)
  • Psalm 51 (pp. 815-16 in the New Oxford Bible) (found here)
  • Lichtheim, The Book of the Dead, chapter 23 (p. 120) (found here)
Lecture: “Making connections across cultures”
Elizabeth Drumm and Lucía Martínez Valdivia

Sat 2 Dec

Fourth paper due

Due Saturday, December 2, at 5:00 PM to your conference leader.

Week 14 – Biblical heroes?

Mon 4 Dec

  • Job (entire, but read swiftly through chapters 4-27; these are the dialogues with the three friends that are dismissed by Job -  and God -- as problematic)
Lecture: “Questioning (in) the Book of Job”
Kristin Scheible

Wed 6 Dec

  • Esther (entire)
Lecture: “Esther Engendered”
Kristin Scheible

Tue 12 Dec

Lecture: Final Exam