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Unit information: The Body in Antiquity in 2015/16

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Unit name The Body in Antiquity
Unit code CLAS10010
Credit points 20
Level of study C/4
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Lyndsay Coo
Open unit status Open




School/department Department of Classics & Ancient History
Faculty Faculty of Arts

Description including Unit Aims

How did the ancient Greeks and Romans conceive of their own bodies, and those of others? How did they theorise bodies which were male or female (or both, or neither)? What role did the body play in ancient religion, and how could it be healed if it was wounded? How could you represent a ‘perfect’ body, and why might you want to? How could the boundaries of the body be broken down – and why does clothing matter? This unit will attempt to answer such questions by taking a broad spectrum of literary, artistic, medical, philosophical and anthropological approaches. Ultimately, we shall aim to scrutinise and reconsider the ancient theories, assumptions and controversies behind how we think about this most basic component of personal identity.

Intended Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit students will:

1. Have developed a basic knowledge of a range of key sources for this theme in antiquity.

2. Have developed the ability to analyse and make critical connections between different sources, and to situate them within their wider historical context.

3. Be able to begin to identify, assess and apply a range of different methodological approaches to the material.

4. Be able to use the knowledge acquired in lectures and their own researches to construct coherent, relevant and persuasive arguments on different aspects of the subject.

Teaching Information

Weekly x 1 hour lecture + Weekly x 1 hour seminar

Assessment Information

One course work essay of c. 2,000 words 50%; one written examination (one and a half hours). Both elements will assess ILOs 1-4.

Reading and References

B. Holmes, The Symptom and the Subject: The Emergence of the Physical Body in Ancient Greece (Princeton University Press, 2010)

H. King, Hippocrates’ Woman. Reading the Female Body in Ancient Greece (Routledge, 1998)

R. Osborne, The History Written on the Classical Greek Body (Cambridge University Press, 2011)

J. I. Porter (ed.), Constructions of the Classical Body (University of Michigan Press, 1999)

M. Squire, The Art of the Body: Antiquity and Its Legacy (Oxford University Press, 2011)

M. Wyke (ed.) Parchments of Gender: Deciphering the Bodies of Antiquity (Oxford University Press, 1998)