College of Arts and Sciences

First-Year Experience 2013-2014


CLAS 095 A, C ~ Circus Maximus
CRN: 93758, 94880

Instructor: Jessica Evans Lecturer in Classics Email

What is entertainment? Why are some forms of entertainment more pleasurable than others? What is the relationship between politics and entertainment? This course will examine the entertainment industry in ancient Rome and will seek to answer these questions by examining the ancient city's festivals, circuses, and games, which included theatrical performances, burlesque, farce, acrobatics, athletic competitions, chariot races, wild-beast fights, gladiatorial contests, and staged naval battles. We will examine the infrastructure of entertainment, both the "infamous performers" associated with sport and spectacle-namely, prostitutes, gladiators, and actors-as well as Rome's most famous venues, the Colosseum and the Circus Maximus. Through a close analysis of material remains and literary texts, we will seek to better understand the pleasures of entertainment, its socio-economics, and the attitudes of those who abhorred the industry. In addition, we will investigate the emergence of parallel forms of entertainment in the modern world, most notably the American circus in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and more recent circus movements, such as Bread and Puppet and Cirque du Soleil

Requirements Satisfied: one Humanities course
Meets: A: TR 4:00pm-5:15pm, C: TR 11:30am-12:45pm

CLAS 095B ~ Happiness and Pleasure
CRN: 93757

Instructor: Jacques Bailley Associate Professor of Classics More . . .

What is the point of life? In Ancient Greece, the answer was clear: happiness. Even if you agree, you might ask, "What is happiness?" or "How do I get it?" While happiness and how to measure it is a hot issue in modern economics and other social sciences (which will be ever so briefly explored in the course), Ancient Greek answers to those questions will occupy center stage in this course. Those answers ranged from Callicles' deplorable "by having and fulfilling the largest desires possible" to Socrates' "by figuring out and practicing virtue" to Stoical and Epicurean "by absence of pain" to Aristotle's "with a little luck, and by training yourself to feel pleasure and pain in the right things." This course explores ancient Greek theories of happiness as the goal of human life and the role that pleasure and virtue should play in the good human life. While the material is ancient, the thoughts are of perennial interest. Designed for students interested in the ancient Greeks, philosophy, and the history of ideas, this course will include readings from important historical, philosophical, and literary texts in the western humane tradition by Plato, Aristotle, and others.

Requirements Satisfied: one Humanities course
Meets: MWF 9:35am-10:25am

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