Monday, May 26, 2014

(Archived, from UCB) Our Syllabus

Rhet 103A: Approaches and Paradigms in the History of Rhetorical Theory

Course Description

Rhetoric was conceived in antiquity as the art of speaking well. But the act of speaking, peer to peer, was always also a doing of deeds, and even well done it could do you in -- whether one was declaiming in the assemblies and courts of the radical democracies and anti-democracies of the Greek city-states, or drawing up ideal Republics in dreamy discourses among scholars, or engaging in the rough and tumble of state-craft and electioneering in the all too real and corrupt Republic of Rome, or circulating satires among snickers in the shadow of Emperors. In Plato, Aristotle, Cicero, Quintilian engagements with rhetoric delineated critical, deliberative, civic, pedagogical visions of human agencies fraught with inhumanity.

The societies of Greek, Roman, and Christian antiquity were also conspicuously patriarchal, in which Homeric heroes made history and conquered death with great words and deeds in an aspirational fantasy of masculine agency, horrific rape cultures in which women were conceived as beasts, slaves and dutiful wives, a patriarchy finding perhaps its quintessential expression in the Roman paterfamilias, the authoritarian male head of the household who held the power of life and death over his children, female relatives, and household slaves. But in philosophy and in poetry, in Greek tragedies and in Roman comedies we find glimpses of a considerably richer and more complicated world of gendered relations, erotic imagination, and human possibility, we encounter profound anxieties, ambivalences, and resistances to patriarchal practices and prejudices.

Although we will be reading texts in which philosophy declares its opposition to rhetoric's opportunism and deceit, we will read them as rhetorical skirmishes in the politics of truth-telling. Although we will read discourses on civic deliberation, we will read them as anxious testaments to ubiquitous corruption and violence. Although we will be reading orations aspiring to a world of Heroes and of Men, we will read them as brutal reflections on a world in which many were not heroes and many were not men. We will be reading works by Aristophanes, Aristotle, Augustine, Marcus and Quintus Cicero, Euripides, Gorgias, Homer, Juvenal, Libanus, Petronius, Plato, Quintilian, Sappho, Seneca, Suetonius, Terence, and Thucydides. All of the readings will be available either online or in a course reader.

Rhet 103A: Are We Not Men? Patriarchal Convention and Conviction in Classical Antiquity
Summer 2014

Instructor: Dale Carrico,,
Course Blog:
Session A, May 27-July 4, 2013, TWR 4-6.30pm, 160 Dwinelle

Participation/Attendance/In-Class Activities, 10%; Reading Notebook, 25%; Precis, 15%; Mid-Term, 25%; Final, 25%. (Rough Basis for Final Grade, subject to contingencies)

Provisional Schedule of Meetings

Week One

May 27 –- Introduction, and a selection of poems by Sappho
May 28 –- Homer, Books I, II, IX, and XXIV from the Iliad, Gorgias, "Encomium of Helen"
May 29 –- Thucydides, Books I and II and The Melian Dialogue from the History of the Peloponnesian War, Plato Menexenus

Week Two

June 3 –- Euripides, Hecuba, Plato, Protagorus
June 4 –- Plato, Apology, and also Book V and Book VII from Republic
June 5 –- Aristophanes, Wasps; Plato, Symposium

Week Three

June 10 -- Plato, Gorgias, Phaedrus
June 11 –- Aristotle, Rhetoric, Book I and Book II and from Topics
June 12 –- Aristotle, Rhetoric, Book III and from Poetics

Week Four

June 17 –- Marcus Tullius Cicero, Against Verres, Against Cataline, Against Antony -- First Essay Due (5-6pp.)
June 18 –- Marcus Tullius Cicero, On the Ideal Orator
June 19 –- Terence, Eunuchus; Quintus Tullius Cicero, Commentariolum Petitionis

Week Five

June 24 –- Juvenal, Satires
June 25 -- Quintillian, from Institutio Oratoria: Book I -- Preface, Chapters 1-3; Book III -- Chapters 1-5; Book VI -- Chapter 1; Book VII -- Chapters 8-10; Book VIII -- Chapter 1-3, and also Chapter 6; Book IX -- Chapter 1; Book XII -- Chapter 1
June 26 –- Workshopping Final Paper

Week Six

July 1 –- Suetonius, Caligula; Seneca, Apocolocyntosis (divi) Claudii
July 2 –- Gaius Petronius, Satyricon
July 3 -- Augustine, from City of God, Read as much as you will, but Books I and XI are crucial, Libanius, "The Silence of Socrates" -- Second Essay Due (5-6pp.)