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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of History, Classics and Archaeology : Classics General

Undergraduate Course: Popular Culture in the Ancient World (CLGE10007)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of History, Classics and Archaeology CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course examines, critically, the concept of popular culture in the ancient world, asking was there such a thing as an identifiable popular culture in Antiquity, and if so, how can we, as modern scholars, access it? It enables students to study ancient history at an advanced level by requiring them to engage with both the 'primary' sources - artefacts of ancient literary and material culture - and with specialised, comparative and theoretical secondary material. Furthermore it encourages students to reflect on their own experience and that of our culture and bring insights from other historical periods and scholarly methodologies to their study of the past.
Course description The course first introduces the theoretical and methodological issues involved in studying ancient popular culture before moving on to look in some detail at key themes in its study, including 'popular' leisure, spectacle, religion, literature and material and visual culture. Case-studies, including the evidence of Pompeii, the figure of Aesop, and literary sources ranging from various versions of the Hellenistic mime to late antique sermons form the focus of individual classes and seminars. In these classes students engage with a wide range of material - literary texts, images, graffiti, artefacts - as well as learning how to use to use (and assess the value of the use of) comparative, theoretical and methodological literature in their study of the past, an area in which ancient historians have often been weak.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements Students must have passed 2 of the following 2nd year courses Ancient History 2a: Past and Present in the Ancient World (ANHI08014 or ANHI08007), Ancient History 2b: Themes and Theories in Ancient History (ANHI08013), Classical Literature 2: Greek and Roman Epic (CLTR08008), Classical Archaeology 2b: Materials and Methods (CACA08010) or at course organiser's discretion.
Additional Costs None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. demonstrate, by way of coursework and examination as required, command of the body of knowledge considered in the course;
  2. demonstrate, by way of coursework and examination as required, an ability to understand, evaluate and utilise a variety of ancient source material, literary, visual and material, as well as comparative and theoretical literature;
  3. demonstrate, by way of coursework and examination as required, an ability to identify, read, analyse and reflect critically upon relevant scholarship as well as skills in independent research;
  4. demonstrate, by way of coursework of a variety of types and written examination, the ability to develop and sustain scholarly arguments in oral and written form, by formulating appropriate questions and utilising relevant evidence;
  5. demonstrate independence of mind and initiative; intellectual integrity and maturity; an ability to evaluate the work of others, including peers.
Reading List
Burke, P. (2009) Popular Culture in Early Modern Europe. 3rd edition. Farnham.
Clarke, J. R. (2003) Art in the Lives of Ordinary Romans: Visual Representation and Non-Elite Viewers in Italy, 100 BC- AD 315. London.
Forsdyke, S. (2012) Slaves Tell Tales and Other Episodes in the Politics of Popular Culture in Ancient Greece. Princeton.
Frankfurter, D. (1998) Religion in Roman Egypt: Assimilation and Resistance. Princeton.
Hall, S. (1981) "Notes on Deconstructing the 'Popular'", in R. Samuel (ed.), People's History and Socialist Theory (London): 227-40.
Hansen, W. (1998) Anthology of Ancient Greek Popular Literature. Bloomington and Indianapolis.
Horsfall, N. (2003) The Culture of the Roman Plebs. London.
Kurke, L. (2011) Aesopic Conversations: Popular Tradition, Cultural Dialogue, and the Invention of Greek Prose. Princeton and Oxford.
Scott, J.C. (1990) Domination and the Arts of Resistance: Hidden Transcripts. London.
Storey, J. (2006) Cultural Theory and Popular Culture: An Introduction. 4th edition. London.
Toner, J. (2009) Popular Culture in Ancient Rome. Cambridge.
Whitmarsh, T. (2008) The Cambridge Companion to the Greek and Roman Novel. Cambridge.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsAncient Popular Culture
Course organiserDr Lucy Grig
Tel: (0131 6)50 3579
Course secretaryMiss Lorna Berridge
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