magic short syllabus 1 14A

magic short syllabus 1 14A - WRIT 026.301 Critical Writing...

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WRIT 026.301: Critical Writing Seminar in Classical Studies: Magic in the Ancient World TR 12:00-1:30 DRL 4C4 Alison Traweek [email protected] Office hours TBA Course description As a critical writing seminar, this course provides an introduction to college-level academic writing, and culminates in the production of multi-draft research paper. As a freshman seminar, it offers an introduction to the discipline of Classical Studies, and can count towards a Classical Studies major or minor. How do you rig races so your team wins, make your neighbors' crops fail while yours flourish, compel that shopkeeper’s daughter to love you? The ancient Greeks and Romans had spells, amulets and charms for all these purposes, and many more. In this class we will explore the place and practice of magic in the ancient world. What were the Greeks and Romans reaching out to in their efforts to control the world around them, and how did they imagine it worked? The magician’s art was a source of tensions and controversies that gives us a glimpse into the hopes and fears of Classical antiquity. Studying how magic was portrayed in the literary sources as well as the spells and tablets themselves, we will think about magic’s relationship to the religious, political and social contexts in which it was used. How this class works This is not a lecture class where you will be passively soaking up knowledge, but rather a place for discussion, collaboration and debate. We will spend our class time thinking together about how interpretation and argumentation work, and will examine our own writing and the writing of our peers with an eye to figuring out how to make our scholarship as effective as possible. Informed participation is the key to a productive semester. Read your texts actively and critically, and come to class ready to debate. Not all students participate in the same way, however, and the most important contributions to a discussion are not always those that are made first, or most frequently, or most insistently. Within the bounds of your own personal style, I demand that you take risks and think out loud. Apart from occasional mini-lectures, I will act primarily as a guide and referee to make sure that our discussions stay on track and respectful. Beyond that, you are in charge of the direction of discussion, and the more engaged you are, the more interesting and rewarding the class will be for all of us.
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Readings
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