This course will not focus on America and the "New Millenium". Instead, it will examine the foundations of the United States and American culture in such actions as exploration, conquest, revolution, consitution-making, pioneering, and immigration, with particular attention paid to the revisionary history prompted in part by the Bicentennial of the Constitution in 1987, the Quincentennial of Columbus' "discovery" of American in 1992, and the Centennial in 1993 of Frederick Jackson Turner's essay, "The Significance of the Frontier in American History." As an introductory course for the American Studies major, this course will also practice and preach interdisciplinary study: it will draw upon various modes of inquiry including, especially, literary, historical, and political analysis.
This course will begin by juxtaposing the legacy of the three sets of founders: (1) those who invented and settled in the United States through the words of the Declaration and the Constitution (backed by force), (2) those who settled the country by deeds of adventurism, violence, community building, corporate enterprise, and political intervention (backed by myths, dreams, and political rhetoric), and (3) those who sought to oppose, resist, or revise the words, deeds and legacies of the founding fathers and pioneers of the West (often by upholding the same principles or ideals). Some of the most powerful myths about America that this course will examine in the second part of the West was a "virgen land" and that our wilderness was tamed by the heroic courage of pioneers and lonesome cowboys (a myth that denies how the settlement of the West has been aided and abetted by the policies and acts of the federal government). The couse will then turn in its third part to a study of the relationship between American public life and the mythology of the frontier as it considers the connection between two of America's most potent dream factories -- Hollywood and Washinton D.C. -- in the media age. This section concludes with a study of the symbolic and institutional policies of two presidents who claimed a special relationship to the frontier: John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan.
In the fourth and final part, we will consider how the West, and contemporary Los Angeles, in particular, can serve as a laboratory for investigating how governments at all levels and the American people themselves are responding to the problems and challenges the United States at the close of the 20th century. This is a city confronting -- indeed colliding with -- the crisis of modern America: environmental threats, racial and ethnic friction, urban violence, and the strains associated with American unprootedness, mobility, and materialsm. Given the location of USC, we will also be alert, too, to how Hollywood -- our dream factory -- has manufactured an image of the West.
ART HISTORY 120g
Foundations of Western Art
TTh, 11:00 - 12:20
This course serves as an introduction to the history of western art and culture. It covers a broad sweep of visual material produced by successive civilizations, beginning with Prehistoric Art in Paleolithic Europe and ending with Renaissance Art around the year 1500. Attention is also directed to the legacy of these cultures, as we consider the impact of clasical and biblical traditions on contemporary society.
Lectures present works of art as primary documents representative of specific historical moments, examining the ways in which such work serve to communicate social, political, and religious values. It soon becomes clear that paintings, sculpture and architecture are not simpy repositories of meaning but also exert an impact on their respective cultures as well as on posterity. Discussion thus emphasizes the interrelation between the formal qualities of a work of art and its meaning, while also revealing patterns of revival and transformation.
Readings from an integral part of this course. The crucial assignments appear in (1) textbooks with reproductions that will be the basis for exams and (2) primary sources that will be the basis for discussion and written assignments. These are supplemented by other readings pertinent to research and writing about the visual arts.
Students who enroll in this course assume a responsibility for viewing, learning about and understanding a considerable range of artifacts and monuments. In return, they will acquire the skills to reflect critically on the visual manifestations of our western European heritage.
This broad survey course, which covers approximately 8,000 years of human prehistory and history, focuses on the cultural pillar of western civilization -- the Ancient Near East, Egypt, Greece, and Rome -- and on the role of cultural diffusion in the ancient world. In addition to the various civilizations and cultures of the ancient Mediterranean area, this course examines how the products of material culture (artifacts, works of art, architecture, and urban planning) relate to the written record. Important original ancient literary and historical documents will be read and discussed in their relationship to the monuments.
* Museum Paper: 10%
* Research Paper: 20%
* Midterm Exam: 30%
* Final Exam: 40%
Civilization of Rome
TTh, 11:00 - 12:20
This course surveys the social, political and intellectual history of the Roman world from 240 BCE to 138CE. The lectures focus on the political, social, literary and artistic achievements of the late Republic and early Empire, when contact with the countries of the civilized east, especially Greece, spurred Rome to produce a radically new socio-intellectual image. The discussion sections, in addition to attending to the main issues of the course, examine works of literature treated more summarily in the lectures and the relationship between the modern and the ancient world. The purpose throughout is to provide the historical, literary an artistic understanding necessary for an appreciation of the importance and contemporary relevance of Rome's major cultural achievements. No knowledge of Latin is required.
Midterm Examination 20%
Final Examination 30%
First Paper 20%
Second Paper 20%
Section Participation & Quizzes 15%
Note: The readings and assignments list may be subject to change. Please contact the department for verification.
MWF, 1:00 - 1:50
The following course description belongs to Professor Vasunia.
The purpose of this course is to introduce students to the mythology of the ancient Greeks and the Romans -- the stories about gods, heroes, and monsters that the ancient peoples used to explain their relationship to the world around them. How were these stories created and transmitted? What was their function in their original context? Why have they had such an impact on later wrtiters and artists? In what ways does the mythology of Greece and Rome resemble or differ from other mythological systems, including our own? Because literature provides us with the best evidence for classical myth, we will concentrate on the use of myth in certain key texts of the classical Western literary tradition, especially Homer's Odyssey and the tragedies of Athens, although we will draw on the visual arts, religion, and philosophical as well.
Grading and Course Requirements:
* Midterm Examination - 20%
* Final Examination - 30%
* 2 Term Papers - 20% each
* discussion section - 10%
Students will be asked to write one midterm examination, two papers, and a final examination. Discussion sections form an important part of the course, and account for a significant part of the grade. The division of the grade is as follows:
- midterm examination 20%,
- 1st paper 20%,
- 2nd paper 20%,
- final examination 30%,
- and discusion section 10%.
All assignments must be handed in on time; exceptions will be made only for extraordinary cases (such as sickness), and official documentation is required. If you miss an exam or quiz, you will not be able to make it up without official documentation for your absence. Attendance in sections, lectures, and film screenings is essential, and will affect your grade. You must complete all assignments in order to receive a grade for this course. Failure to do so by the end of the semester will result in your getting an F for the course.
We shall engage in an online discussion of themes and topics pertinent to the class as well. You are encouraged to use the web site to participate in this discussion. Participation in the online discussion on a regular basis will improve the grade you receive for section. We shall discuss in class what this might mean. However, please note that your online contribution does not replace your active participation in section and merely supplements it. You are required to attend every section whether or not you choose to post messages online.
This class is also part of the JEP program, and you are encouraged to participate. Participation in JEP on a regular basis will improve the grade you receive for section. We shall discuss in class what this might mean. However, please note that your contribution to JEP does not replace your active participation in section and merely supplements it. You are required to attend every section whether or not you choose to participate in JEP.
A version of this syllabus is available online at www.usc.edu/college/classics/syllabi.
COMPARATIVE LITERATURE 150xg
Origins of Western Literature and Culture
TTh, 9:30 - 10:50
This course surveys some of the principal ways in which what we call "literature" has been defined, made and received in the Western tradition from about 3000 B.C. to about 1600 A.D. The primary goals of the course are the following:
- to acquaint you with some of the major literary traditions and works of Western civilizations
- to give you a sense of how the definition, function and interpretation of literature in general and of specific literary works has changed (and continues to change) over time
- to provide you with the historical background and the critical skills necessary to read and to write and talk about the assigned material in a sophisticated manner
- to encourage you to reflect on the place of literature in your own historical and social context, as well as in your own life.
- Attendance at lectures and sections. You will be unable to perform well on exams and papers without consistent attendance.
- Midterm exam (objective, short-answer questions + one essay): 25%
- Two essays (ca. 5 pages each; not research-oriented): 40%
- Final Exam (objective, short-answer questions + two essays): 35%
MWF, 9:00 - 9:50
The beginning of this course will focus upon the Greco-Roman tradition, the Judeo-Christian tradition, and the problem of western cultural singularity. These elements will help define the conceptual framework for the class. Do not mistake this apparent "background" as the equivalent of academic "clearing the throat." As we will see, the medieval period was in some important ways indebted with the Judeo-Christian tradition. Together these things, along with the actual experience of people in the centuries between about A.D. 300 and A.D.1450, helped establish -- in the words of Francis Oakley -- the "cultural singularity" fo the European tradition. It is an assumption of this course that this tradition has meaning, relevancy, and significance for our understanding of the contemporary world in which we live.
* 5 Short Essays (5% each): 25%
* Discussion Group: 15%
* 2 Midterm Exams *(15% each): 30%
* Final Exam (Comprehensive): 30%
The Emergence of Modern Europe
TTh, 11:00 - 12:20
The following course description belongs to Professor Silverman.
History 103g is desiged to serve as an introduction to early modern European society and culture from 1300 to 1800. We will explore three primary areas of European experience: the structures of material life; the relationship between church and state; and the dynamic nature of society and culture. Over the course of the semester, we will examine the origins of institutions still central to modern society: the growth of urbanism; the intensification of gender-specific labor; the rise of capitalism; the emergence of modern state systems; the rise of science, doubt, and philosophies of enlightenment; and the experience of revolutions. We will make use of both primary and secondary sources in our readings and discussions.
Class will meet twice weekly for lecture on and discussion of the week's topics; and once weekly for additional discussion. Because the purpose of the course is not only to survey early modern history, but also to teach students to think critically about the problems faced by societies past and present, writing and participation in discussion will be emphasized. Students are therefore responsible for regular attendance, thoughtful reading, and active participation in discussion. Come prepared with questions and ideas. Students should expect reading assignments of 75-100 pages per week, which must be completed prior to the class for which they are assigned.
The American Experience
MW, 8:00 - 9:20
HIST 2OOg explores American history and culture from pre-European contact native civilizations to the nation's present dimensions as a modem pluralistic society. The factual, interpretative, and analytic emphases given to key episodes, personalities, ideas, culture, and social forces in the life of the nation are designed as a foundation for further study. At base we hope to provide students with a useful perspective on the nation's complex and rich past--a central feature of any solid liberal arts education, and, with the family history project, a historical perspective on each student's personal past. Students are required to enroll in a weekly discussion section led by a teaching assistant.
The class explores the ways in which the patterns of civilizations associated with the Greco--Roman and European traditions have been and are constantly reflected and reshaped in North America (and exported back to Europe and the world). We examine, for example, the Judaic and Christian religions, liberty and enslavement, republicanism and democracy, scientific thought, technological advance, industrialization and mass consumption, mass education and popular culture, secularization, and the like--as well as emergence of increasingly diverse immigration patterns and multiculturalism which continue to shape American society and culture in ways outside the European tradition.
Three essay examinations (15%, 20%, and 25% of final grade); participation in weekly discussion sections (20%); and the family history project (20%). Extra credit for participation in the Joint Educational Project (JEP) is available.
Note: The readings and assignments list may be subject to change. Please contact the department for verification.
JUDAIC STUDIES 100g
TTh, 2:00 - 3:20
An introductory survey of "Jewish History" -- referring both to the historical experience of the Jewish people, and to the modern enterprise of constructing a historical narrative. Originating in the ancient Near East over 3,000 years ago, Jews have since spread throughout the world, establishing centers in Asia, Africa, Europe, and the Americas. Often living as a minority and sometimes persecuted for their difference, Jews nonetheless have survived as an identifiable group, maintaining an ongoing religious tradition (Judaism) and evolving social and communal norms; while at the same time developing a multiplicity of cultural expressions. In the modern world, Jews have experienced both the devastation of genocide (the Holocaust) and the rebirth of their national existence (Israel). THis course will chart the complex narrative(s) of Jewish history and examine its characteristic tensions such as those between change and continuitiy, unity and diversity, homeland and dispersion, prosperity and oppression, etc.
The course has three principles goals:
- CONTEXT -- Placing hte Jewish experience into the context of world history, highlighting hte mutual influences of Judaism and Western civilization.
- CONTACT -- Examining the social, political, and religious relationships of Jews with non-Jews -- as an archetypal case in teh history of group relations. From the ancient encounter of Jewish monotheists with pagan polytheists emerged two world relgions, Christianity and Islam. The origins and consequences of historical "antisemitism" (hatred of Jews) will be addressed here as well.
- CULTURE -- Taking a comprehensive and multidisciplinary look at Jewish religion, culture, and history -- in order to understand Jews and Judaism as distinctive phenomena.
Modern Philosophy and the Meaning of Life
Professor Mc Cann
MWF, 11:00 - 11:50
Please contact the Philosophy department for course description.
Mind and Self: Modern Conceptions
TTh, 9:30 - 10:50
In this course we will examine three great philosophical problems and some of the best efforts to solve them. The first is the problem of free will. What is it to have a free will? Are our wills free? Is it possible to be free given the power of science to predict and explain behavior? From here we will move on to consider the philosophical issues raised by death. Is death a bad thing? Most people think it usually is. But why? After all, it doesn't hurt to be dead. And finally, we will consider the problem of personal identity. What connects the seperate parts of a person's life? What is it about a person that establishes who he or she is and distinguishes him or her from others?
- Short paper (approx. 1000 words): 10%
- Long paper (approx. 2500 words): 30%
- Midterm Exam: 20%
- Final Exam: 40%
The World of the Hebrew Bible
TTh, 11:00 - 12:20
The aim of this course is to give a comprehensive introduction to the Hebrew Bible, concentrating on the most central theological issues in all three subdivisions of the scriptures: the Torah, the Prophets and the Writings. While we shall closely consider what the Hebrew Bible or Old Testament can contribute to our knowledge of history of the Ancient Near East, and also consider the literary aspects of the individual biblical texts, neither the "Bible as History" nor the "Bible as Literature" will be the central focus in this course. Rather, we will focus upon the Bible as a religious document out of which emerged those basic theological concepts that decisively shaped western civilization. Our particular concern will therefore be biblical ideas about the nature of God, the relationship of the Deity to mankind, and the overall human condition.
* Weekly Quizzes: 15%
* Midterm Exam: 15%
* Final Exam: 30%
* 1 Short Paper: 10%
* 1 Term Paper: 30%
The World of the New Testament
TTh, 12:30 - 1:50
The aim of this course is to explore the beginnings of the Christian religion in first century Palestine and to trace its initial developments as it spread throughout the Roman Empire during that and the next three centuries. These centuries witnessed both the events depicted in the writings that make up the New Testament, the formation of the New Testament itself, and the mergence of Christianity as the dominant religion of Western culture.
To give students a first-hand grasp of the world of the New Testament, a wide variety of primary sources is assisgned so that students can reconstruct for themselves the social, intellectual, and religious worlds within which the early Christians lived and so allow students to understand the earliest Christian writings attention will be given to the ways Christianity adapted the conventions of thought and behavior of the Mediterranean cultures and civilizations they inhabited and, by the fourth century, came to dominate.