Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Our Syllabus

Rhet 103A: Approaches and Paradigms in the History of Rhetorical Theory:
Patriarchal Publicities: Rhetoric, Philosophy, and Satire in Greek and Roman Antiquity

Course Description

Rhetoric was conceived in antiquity as the art of speaking well. But the act of speaking in public 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 (and radically exclusive) 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 sardonic satires in the shadow of Emperors. In Plato, Aristotle, Cicero, Quintilian engagements with and through rhetoric constituted publicities and also delineated critical, deliberative, civic and pedagogical visions of human agencies fraught with inhumanities.

The societies of Greek, Roman, and Christian antiquity were conspicuously patriarchal, they were societies in which Homeric heroes made history and conquered mortality with great words and deeds in an aspirational fantasy of masculine agency; they were 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 imaginations, and human possibilities, 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 few were heroes and many were not men. We will be reading works by Aristophanes, Aristotle, Augustine, Marcus and Quintus Cicero, Euripides, Gorgias, Homer, Hortensia, Juvenal, Libanius, Ovid, Petronius, Plato, Quintilian, Sappho, Seneca, Suetonius, Terence, and Thucydides. All of the readings will be available here online.

Instructor: Dale Carrico:,
GSIs: Jerilyn Sambrooke:; Kuan S Hwa:
Course Blogs (I had to clone the blog to accommodate our enrollment):
[Castor] August 25-December 8, 2016, Tuesdays and Thursdays, 3.30-5pm, LeConte Hall, Room 2

Participation/Attendance/In-Class Activities, 15%; Reading Notebook, 25%; Precis, 2-3pp., 15%; Figurative Reading, 2-3pp., 15%; Final Paper, 6pp., 30%. (Rough Basis for Final Grade, subject to contingencies)

Provisional Schedule of Meetings

Week One
Thursday, August 25 | Introduction

Week Two
Tuesday, August 30 | Homer, Books I, II, IX, and XXIV from the Iliad
Thursday, September 1 | A selection of poems by Sappho

Week Three
Tuesday, September 6 | Gorgias, "Encomium of Helen"
Thursday, September 8 | Thucydides, Books I and II from History of the Peloponnesian War

Week Four
Tuesday, September 13 | Thucydides, Books II & The Melian Dialogue from History of the Peloponnesian War
Optional, supplemental reading: Plato Menexenus
Thursday, September 15 | Euripides, Hecuba

Week Five
Tuesday, September 20 | Plato, Apology
Thursday, September 22 | Plato, Protagoras

Week Six
Tuesday, September 27 | Plato, Gorgias
Thursday, September 29 | Plato, Phaedrus

Week Seven
Tuesday, October 4 | Plato, Symposium
Thursday, October 6 | Aristophanes, Wasps 
You should have posted your first short piece, whether your precis or figurative analysis by
Midnight Saturday, October 8.

Week Eight
Tuesday, October 11 | Aristotle, Rhetoric, Book I and Book II and from Topics
Thursday, October 13 | Aristotle, Rhetoric, Book III and from Poetics

Week Nine
Tuesday, October 18 | Marcus Tullius Cicero, Against Verres
Thursday, October 20 | Marcus Tullius Cicero, Against Cataline, Against Antony One and Two

Week Ten
Tuesday, October 25 | Marcus Tullius Cicero, On the Ideal Orator
Thursday, October 27 | Terence, Eunuchus

Week Eleven
Tuesday, November 1 | Seneca, Apocolocyntosis (divi) Claudii
Thursday, November 3 | Suetonius, Caligula

Week Twelve
Tuesday, November 8 | Quintus Tullius Cicero, Commentariolum Petitionis
Thursday, November 10 | Juvenal, Satires I, II, III and X

Week Thirteen
Tuesday, November  15 | Hortensia's Forum Oration to the Second Triumvirate. Quintilian, 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
Thursday, November 17 | Libanius, "The Silence of Socrates"

Week Fourteen
Tuesday, November 22 | Gaius Petronius, Satyricon
Thursday, November 24 | Thanksgiving Day Holiday
You should have posted your second short piece, whether your precis or figurative analysis by 
Midnight Saturday, November 26.

Week Fifteen
Tuesday, November 29 | Augustine, from City of God, Read as much as you like but Books I and XI are the crucial ones for us.
Thursday, December 1 | In-Class Workshop for Final Paper

Week Sixteen/RRR & Final Paper Due
Tuesday, December 6 | Optional Marathon Office Hour Availability
Monday, December 12 | You should have handed in your final paper to the GSI of your discussion section by this date no later than 3.30 pm.


George Theodoridis said...
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George Theodoridis said...

Euripides' "Hecuba" and Plato's "Apology" and "Symposium" are also available in the bacchistage website:

Sherlyn Wilson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.