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Unit information: Ecology and History in the Ancient World in 2015/16

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Unit name Ecology and History in the Ancient World
Unit code CLASM1005
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Professor. Morley
Open unit status Not open
Pre-requisites

None

Co-requisites

None

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

Description

'Classical civilisation' was shaped not only by the actions and thoughts of individuals but also by the environment in which it developed, the world of the ancient Mediterranean. Climate, geography and ecology helped to set the 'limits of the possible', constraining and directing the development of ancient societies. In turn, the Greeks and Romans sought to overcome these limits, to control and change their environment - sometimes successfully, sometimes with disastrous consequences. The aim of this unit is to study the relationship between ancient societies and their environment: the ways in which they thought about the natural world and sought to master it - ideas which, it has been argued, continue to shape our own relationship with the environment  and the ways in which they themselves were shaped by the forces of nature. It will draw on traditional literary sources, archaeology and modern theories of ecology.

Aims:

  • to develop an awareness of the key issues in studies of ecology in the history of ancient Greece and Rome.
  • to familiarise students with a variety of modern theories of ecology and to enable them to evaluate a broad range of ancient sources  including literary and archaeological sources  with reference to these theories.
  • to enable students to use the knowledge acquired in seminars and through independent research to construct coherent, relevant and critical arguments concerning the interpretative issues raised by issues of ecology in the sources studied.
  • to develop skills in oral and written communication, and in independent research.
  • to broaden and/or fill-in the range of ancient texts and topics with which MA students are familiar.

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students should:

  • be aware of the key issues in studies of ecology in the history of ancient Greece and Rome.
  • to familiar with a variety of modern theories of ecology and able to evaluate a broad range of ancient sources  including literary and archaeological sources  with reference to these.
  • be able to construct coherent, relevant and critical arguments concerning the interpretative issues raised by the theme of ecology.
  • have had the opportunity to develop their skills in oral and written communication, in making seminar presentations, taking part in seminar discussions, and in assessed essays.

Teaching details

Seminars.

Assessment Details

Summative assessment: 1 essay of 5,000 words (100%)

Formative assessment: written feedback on a presentation; comments on plans and draft bibliographies for summative essay.

Reading and References

  • F. Braudel, The Structures of Everyday Life (1981)
  • P. Coates, Nature (1998)
  • P. Horden & N. Purcell, The Corrupting Sea (2000)
  • J.D. Hughes, Pans Travail (1994)
  • R. Sallares, The Ecology of the Ancient Greek World (1991)
  • I.G. Simmons, Environmental History (1993)

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