CLAS 141_syllabus_09(2)

CLAS 141_syllabus_09(2) - CLAS 141: SPECTACLE &...

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Fall 2009 OTHM 107, T Th 11:00-12:15 Dr. Anne Duncan Office hours: W 11:00-12:00, 2:30-3:30 and by appointment Oldfather Hall 937; phone: 472-6094; email: aduncan4@unl.edu Books : , trans. Deena Berg & Douglass Parker. Hackett Press. The Roman Games , ed. Alison Futrell. Blackwell. The World of Rome: An Introduction to Roman Culture , eds. Peter Jones & Keith Sidwell. Cambridge University Press. Books are available at the University Bookstore. Goals and Expectations : This is a course on the different forms of mass entertainment produced in different historical periods in ancient Rome. We will look at Roman drama as a kind of performance which attracted a broad audience, but also as just one kind of mass entertainment available even in the Republican period of Roman history (up to the mid-1 st c. BCE). We will then look at forms of spectacle in the early Empire (late 1 st c. BCE – 1 st c. CE) that began to center around the person of the Emperor, such as the triumph and the theatrical extravaganzas of some of the “mad” emperors. And finally, we will look at the range of blood sports that were produced, and eagerly consumed, throughout the history and territory of the Roman Empire: chariot races, military reenactments, beast-hunts, public executions, and gladiatorial combat. With all of these varieties of mass entertainment, we will ask the same questions: Why did Roman society find this particular kind of spectacle entertaining? What social or psychological function did these spectacles provide? How alien is this kind of spectacle from our own culture’s ideas of what is entertaining? In order to critically examine a number of our own clichés about ancient Roman “bloodlust” and “decadence,” we will watch several movies from different decades depicting various aspects of Roman mass entertainment. We will learn how every age reads Roman culture through its own filter, including our own era; thus, one of the last film clips we watch will be from HBO’s “Rome” (2005). Finally, two words about Roman history. First, you will encounter terms in your readings – names of political offices (like “quaestor”), references to events (such as the “Social War”), and other material – that will probably not be familiar to you. Don’t panic. This course emphasizes the history, sociology, and psychology of mass entertainment; I will give you a sense of how much historical context you will need to retain. Second, this
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This note was uploaded on 11/30/2010 for the course BIOS 101 taught by Professor Plantz during the Spring '08 term at UNL.

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CLAS 141_syllabus_09(2) - CLAS 141: SPECTACLE &...

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