Humanities 110

Introduction to the Humanities

Syllabus | Spring 2018

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Course Logistics

Required Texts

  • Apuleius, The Golden Ass, trans. Ruden (Yale University Press)
  • Aristophanes, Three Comedies: The Birds, The Clouds, The Wasps, trans. Arrowsmith (University of Michigan Press)
  • Aristotle, The Nicomachean Ethics, trans. Irwin (Hackett)
  • Livy, The Rise of Rome; Ab Urbe Condita, trans. Luce (Oxford)
  • Lucretius, On the Nature of Things, trans. Englert (Focus Philosophical Library)
  • The New Oxford Annotated Bible with the Apocrypha New Revised Standard Version: College Edition (Oxford)
  • Ovid, Metamorphoses, trans. Melville (Oxford)
  • Plato, Republic, trans. Reeve (Hackett)
  • Plato, Trial and Death of Socrates, trans. Grube (Hackett)
  • Theocritus, Idylls, trans. Verity (Oxford)
  • Virgil, The Aeneid, trans. Mandelbaum (Bantam Doubleday Dell)
  • Various readings on the Roman World 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 Monday, May 7 from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. 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, 7 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 - Back to Athens: outsiders and insiders

Mon 22 Jan

  • Aristophanes, The Clouds
Lecture: “The Comic City”
Nigel Nicholson

Wed 24 Jan

  • The Trial and Death of Socrates; Euthyphro and Apology
Lecture: "Socratic Thought"
Peter Steinberger

Fri 26 Jan

  • The Trial and Death of Socrates
Lecture: “A Kind of Gadfly”
Pancho Savery

Week 2 – Imagining a better city

Mon 29 Jan

  • Plato, Republic, Books 1 - 2
Lecture: First Problems: The Beginning of the Republic and the End of the Gods
Steve Wasserstrom

Wed 31 Jan

  • Plato, Republic, Books  3-5
Lecture: “Sex, Gender and the Power(s) of Philosophy”
Tamara Metz

Fri 2 Feb

  • Plato, Republic, Books 6-7
Lecture: “Plato’s Metaphysics: A Solution to the Thucydidean Crisis of Logos”
Meg Scharle

Week 3 – Doing philosophy

Mon 5 Feb

  • Plato, Republic, Books 8 - 10
Lecture: “Image Worlds”
Kris Cohen

Wed 7 Feb

  • Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, Books 1 - 2
Lecture: “The Function Argument”
Steven Arkonovich

Fri 9 Feb

  • Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, Book 3, Sections 1-5 and Book 6
Lecture: "Defining Virtue"
Ann Delehanty

Week 4 – Philosophy

Mon 12 Feb

  • Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, Books 8-9
Lecture: “Friendship”
Elizabeth Drumm

Wed 14 Feb

Lecture: “Aristotelian Contemplation at Reed?”
Meg Scharle

Fri 16 Feb

Lecture: “Politics I and its Legacy”
David Garrett

Sat 17 Feb

Due Saturday, February 17, at 5:00 PM to your conference leader.

Week 5 – Hellenism

Mon 19 Feb

Lecture: "Pergamon Altar: The World in a Box"
Nathalia King

Wed 21 Feb

  • Image Gallery
  • Judith McKenzie, The architecture of Alexandria and Egypt, c. 300 BC to AD 700, Introductory summary, pp. 32-36 (e-reserves)
  • Austin, M.M., The Potter’s Oracle (e-reserves)
Lecture: “Ancient Aliens: Material Culture and Identity in Hellenistic Alexandria”
Tom Landvatter

Fri 23 Feb

  • Theocritus, Idylls 1-7, 11, 13, 15, 17
Lecture: "Pastoral Diaspora"
Sarah Wagner-McCoy

Week 6 – Hellenistic Rome

Mon 26 Feb

  • Polybius, Histories, Book 6, sections 1-39, 47, 50-58 (on e-reserve)
Lecture: “Greece Meets Rome: Polybius and the Phenomenon of Rome’s Rise to Power”
Ellen Millender

Wed 28 Feb

Lecture: “The Man from Carthage”
Misha Teramura

Fri 2 Mar

  • Lucretius, On the Nature of Things (De Rerum Natura), Book 1 (lines 1-637, 921-1117), Book 2 (lines 1-293), and Book 3 (all)
Lecture: “Lucretius, Rome, and the Nature of the Universe"
Wally Englert

Week 7 – Roman foundations

Mon 5 Mar

  • Lucretius, On The Nature of Things (De Rerum Natura), Books 5 - 6
Lecture: "Time and Human History in On The Nature of Things"
David Garrett

Wed 7 Mar

Lecture: “Cicero and Roman Philosophy"
Wally Englert

Fri 9 Mar

  • Livy, The Rise of Rome; Ab Urbe Condita, Preface, 1.1-26, 1.46-60, 2.1-8, 5.34-55.
Lecture: “How to Found a Republic: The Roman Example”
Tamara Metz

Sat 10 Mar

Spring Break

March 10 – March 18

Week 8 – Epic and empire I

Mon 19 Mar

  • Augustus, Res Gestae, (on e-reserve)
  • Image gallery
  • Elsner, Jas, “Inventing Imperium: Texts and the Propaganda of Monuments in Augustan Rome,” in Art and Text in Roman Culture, 32-53. (on e-reserve)
Lecture: “From Octavian to Augustus”
Ellen Millender

Wed 21 Mar

  • Virgil, Aeneid, Books 1 – 4
Lecture: “Epic and Allusion in Virgil's Aeneid”
Sarah Wagner-McCoy

Fri 23 Mar

  • Virgil, Aeneid, Books 5 – 8
Lecture: “Virgil and Ekphrasis”
Elizabeth Drumm
  • 9:00-9:05am -Dulces exuviae, a musical rendition of the first four lines of Dido's final speech (Book IV, 653-54) by Jean Mouton (1459-1522) will be performed by Reed's Collegium Musicum with Mark Burford as guest conductor. 
  • Lecture Handout

Sat 24 Mar


Due Saturday, March 24, at 5:00 PM to your conference leader.

Week 9 – Epic and empire II

Mon 26 Mar

  • Jane Burbank and Frederick Cooper, “Imperial Trajectories,” in Empires in World History: Power and the Politics of Difference 1-22. (e-reserves)
Lecture: "Theorizing empire"
Tamara Metz, Paddy Riley, Will Smiley

Wed 28 Mar

  • Virgil, Aeneid, Books 9 – 12; Homer, The Iliad, Book 24
Lecture: “This is the End”
Pancho Savery

Fri 30 Mar

  • Seneca, The Stoic Philosophy of Seneca: "On the Tranquility of the Mind," "On Providence," “On Suicide,” and “On Slavery”  (on e-reserve)
Lecture: “Seneca and Roman Stoicism"
Wally Englert

Week 10 – How to survive imperial Rome

Mon 2 Apr

  • Ovid, Metamorphoses, Books 1 – 3
  • Amy Sillman, After Metamorphoses, 2015-6. Video animation with iPad drawings, 5 minutes, looped. Music by Wibke Tiarks. Courtesy of the artist.
Lecture: “Media Theory (1BCE - 2018 CE)”
Kris Cohen

Wed 4 Apr

  • Ovid, Metamorphoses, Books 4 – 6, 15
Lecture: "Portrait of the Artist as Spiderwoman"
Jessica Seidman

Fri 6 Apr

  • Josephus, The Jewish War, pp. 27-31, 133-138, 307-322, 387-405 (on e-reserve)
Lecture: "Religion and Politics in Roman Judea"
David Garrett

Week 11 – Messiahs, messengers, martyrs

Mon 9 Apr

  • Gospel According to Matthew
Lecture: "But Who Do You Say That I Am?"
Michael Faletra

Wed 11 Apr

  • Paul, Epistle to the Romans and Letter to Philemon, Romans (in The New Oxford Annotated Bible)
Lecture: Paul's Epistle to the Romans and the Crisis of Revelation
Steve Wasserstrom

Fri 13 Apr

  • The Gospel According to John
Lecture: “Word!”
Kristin Scheible

Sat 14 Apr


Due Saturday, April 14, at 5:00 PM to your conference leader.

Week 12 – Crossing boundaries

Mon 16 Apr

Lecture: "The Germania's Two Cities: Identity and Alterity"
Nathalia King

Wed 18 Apr

  • Perpetua, The Martyrdom of Saints Perpetua and Felicitas (on e-reserve)
Lecture: “The Martyrdom of Perpetua”
Nathalia King

Fri 20 Apr

  • Apuleius, The Golden Ass, pp. 1-91
Lecture: “Strange to Tell”
Jay Dickson

Week 13 – What changes and what stays the same

Mon 23 Apr

  • Apuleius, The Golden Ass, pp. 92-184
Lecture: "Beyond Cupid and Psyche"
Michael Faletra

Wed 25 Apr

  • Apuleius, The Golden Ass, pp. 185-272
Lecture: “The Danger of Curiosity, or Lucius’ Conversion”
Wally Englert

Fri 27 Apr

Lecture: Final panel
David Garrett, Kambiz GhaneaBassiri, Ellen Millender

Mon 7 May

Final Exam

Available Monday, May 7, 8:00 AM
Due Monday, May 7, 12:00 PM to your conference leader.
You should spend 4 hours working on the exam during this 48-hour period.

Exam Instructions
Exam Website