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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of History, Classics and Archaeology : Postgraduate (History, Classics and Archaeology)

Postgraduate Course: Popular Culture in the Roman World (Online) (PGHC11610)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of History, Classics and Archaeology CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate)
Course typeOnline Distance Learning AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course examines, critically, the concept of popular culture in the Roman 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 Students MUST NOT also be taking Popular Culture in the Ancient World (CLGE10007)
Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2024/25, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  0
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Online Activities 22, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 174 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Coursework:
5000 word essay (100%)
Feedback Students are required to discuss their coursework with the Course Organiser at least once prior to submission, and are encouraged to do so more often. Meetings can take place with the Course Organiser during their published office hours, or by appointment. Students will also receive feedback on their coursework, and will have the opportunity to discuss that feedback further with the Course Organiser.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. demonstrate command of the body of knowledge considered in the course;
  2. understand, evaluate and utilise a variety of ancient source material, literary, visual and material, as well as comparative and theoretical literature;
  3. identify, read, analyse and reflect critically upon relevant scholarship as well as skills in independent research;
  4. 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 - Assimilate, process and communicate a wide range of information from various sources.
- Utilise relevant theoretical and methodological knowledge and skills, including the use of comparative approaches.
- Provide clear written and oral analyses based on literary, archaeological and historical information.
- Master practical skills in accessing and interpreting relevant sources.
- Construct and pursue a coherent argument driven by analysis of the primary source material.
- Analyse, assimilate and deploy critically a range of secondary literature relevant and essential to the student's individual research subject.
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Lucy Grig
Tel: (0131 6)50 3579
Course secretary
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