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CLASSICS 161: Introduction to Greek Art I: The Archaic Period (ARTHIST 101)

The class considers the development of Greek art from 1000-480 and poses the question, how Greek was Greek art? In the beginning, as Greece emerges from 200 years of Dark Ages, their art is cautious, conservative and more abstract than life-like, closer to Calder than Michelangelo. While Homer describes the rippling muscles (and egos) of Bronze Age heroes, his fellow painters and sculptors prefer abstraction. This changes in the 7th century, when travel to and trade with the Near East transform Greek culture. What had been an insular society becomes cosmopolitan, enriched by the sophisticated artistic traditions of lands beyond the Aegean "frog pond." Imported Near Eastern bronzes and ivories awaken Greek artists to a wider range of subjects, techniques and ambitions. Later in the century, Greeks in Egypt learn to quarry and carve hard stone from Egyptian masters. Throughout the 6th century, Greek artists absorb what they had borrowed, compete with one another, defy their teachers, tes more »
The class considers the development of Greek art from 1000-480 and poses the question, how Greek was Greek art? In the beginning, as Greece emerges from 200 years of Dark Ages, their art is cautious, conservative and more abstract than life-like, closer to Calder than Michelangelo. While Homer describes the rippling muscles (and egos) of Bronze Age heroes, his fellow painters and sculptors prefer abstraction. This changes in the 7th century, when travel to and trade with the Near East transform Greek culture. What had been an insular society becomes cosmopolitan, enriched by the sophisticated artistic traditions of lands beyond the Aegean "frog pond." Imported Near Eastern bronzes and ivories awaken Greek artists to a wider range of subjects, techniques and ambitions. Later in the century, Greeks in Egypt learn to quarry and carve hard stone from Egyptian masters. Throughout the 6th century, Greek artists absorb what they had borrowed, compete with one another, defy their teachers, test the tolerance of the gods and eventually produce works of art that speak with a Greek accent. By the end of the archaic period, images of gods and mortals bear little trace of alien influence or imprint, yet without the contributions of Egypt and the Near East, Greek art as we know it would have been unthinkable.
Terms: Aut | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-Hum, WAY-A-II
Instructors: Maxmin, J. (PI)

CLASSICS 162: Introduction to Greek Art II: The Classical Period (ARTHIST 102)

The class begins with the art, architecture and political ideals of Periclean Athens, from the emergence of the city as the political and cultural center of Greece in 450 to its defeat in the Peloponnesian War in 404. It then considers how the Athenians (shell-shocked from war and three outbreaks of plague) and the rest of 4th century Greece rebuild their lives and the monuments that define them. Earlier 5th century traditions endure, with subtle changes, in the work of sculptors such as Kephisodotos. Less subtle are the outlook and output of his son Praxiteles. In collaboration with Phryne, his muse and mistress, Praxiteles challenged the canons and constraints of the past with the first female nude in the history of Greek sculpture. His gender-bending gods and men were equally audacious, their shiny surfaces reflecting Plato's discussion of Eros and androgyny. Scopas was also a man of his time, but pursued different interests. Drawn to the interior lives of men and woman, his torment more »
The class begins with the art, architecture and political ideals of Periclean Athens, from the emergence of the city as the political and cultural center of Greece in 450 to its defeat in the Peloponnesian War in 404. It then considers how the Athenians (shell-shocked from war and three outbreaks of plague) and the rest of 4th century Greece rebuild their lives and the monuments that define them. Earlier 5th century traditions endure, with subtle changes, in the work of sculptors such as Kephisodotos. Less subtle are the outlook and output of his son Praxiteles. In collaboration with Phryne, his muse and mistress, Praxiteles challenged the canons and constraints of the past with the first female nude in the history of Greek sculpture. His gender-bending gods and men were equally audacious, their shiny surfaces reflecting Plato's discussion of Eros and androgyny. Scopas was also a man of his time, but pursued different interests. Drawn to the interior lives of men and woman, his tormented Trojan War heroes and victims are still scarred by memories of the Peloponnesian War, and a world away from the serene faces of the Parthenon. His Maenad, who has left this world for another, belongs to the same years as Euripides' Bacchae and, at the same time, anticipates the torsion and turbulence of Bernini and the Italian Baroque. The history and visual culture of these years remind us that we are not alone, that the Greeks grappled as we do with the inevitability and consequences of war, disease and inner daemons.
Terms: Win | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-Hum, WAY-A-II
Instructors: Maxmin, J. (PI)

CLASSICS 163: Artists, Athletes, Courtesans and Crooks (ARTHIST 203)

The seminar examines a range of topics devoted to the makers of Greek art and artifacts, the men and women who used them in life and the afterlife, and the miscreants - from Lord Elgin to contemporary tomb-looters and dealers - whose deeds have damaged, deracinated and desecrated temples, sculptures and grave goods. Readings include ancient texts in translation, books and articles by classicists and art historians, legal texts and lively page-turners. Students will discuss weekly readings, give brief slide lectures and a final presentation on a topic of their choice, which need not be confined to the ancient Mediterranean.
Terms: Aut | Units: 5 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-Hum, WAY-A-II
Instructors: Maxmin, J. (PI)

CLASSICS 165: Religions of Ancient Eurasia (ARCHLGY 109)

This course will explore archaeological evidence for the ritual and religions of Ancient Eurasia, including Greco-Roman polytheism, early Christianity, and early Buddhism. Each week, we will discuss the most significant themes, methods, and approaches that archaeologists are now using to study religious beliefs and rituals. Examples will focus on the everyday social, material, and symbolic aspects of religion. The course will also consider the role of archaeological heritage in religious conflicts today and the ethical dilemmas of archaeology in the 21st century.
Terms: Win | Units: 3-5 | UG Reqs: WAY-A-II, WAY-SI

CLASSICS 166: The Body in Roman Art (ARCHLGY 166)

(Formerly CLASSART 105.) Ancient and modern ideas about the body as ideal and site of lived experience. Themes include representation, portrayal, power, metamorphosis, and replication. Works that exemplify Roman ideas of heroism and power versus works portraying nude women, erotic youth, preserved corpses, and suffering enemies. Recommended: background in ancient Mediterranean art, archaeology, history, or literature. May be repeated for credit.
Last offered: Spring 2016 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-Hum, WAY-A-II | Repeatable for credit

CLASSICS 168: Engineering the Roman Empire (ARCHLGY 118)

Enter the mind, the drafting room, and the building site of the Roman architects and engineers whose monumental projects impressed ancient and modern spectators alike. This class explores the interrelated aesthetics and mechanics of construction that led to one of the most extensive building programs undertaken by a pre-modern state. Through case studies ranging from columns, domes and obelisks to road networks, machines and landscape modification, we investigate the materials, methods, and knowledge behind Roman innovation, and the role of designed space in communicating imperial identity.
Terms: Spr | Units: 3-5 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-Hum, WAY-A-II

CLASSICS 171: Byzantine Art and Architecture, 300-1453 C.E. (ARTHIST 106, ARTHIST 306)

This course explores the art and architecture of the Eastern Mediterranean: Constantinople, Jerusalem, Alexandria, Antioch, Damascus, Thessaloniki, and Palermo, 4th-15th centuries. Applying an innovative approach, we will probe questions of phenomenology and aesthetics, focusing our discussion on the performance and appearance of spaces and objects in the changing diurnal light, in the glitter of mosaics and in the mirror reflection and translucency of marble.
Terms: Spr | Units: 5 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-Hum, WAY-A-II

CLASSICS 173: Hagia Sophia (ARTHIST 208, ARTHIST 408, CLASSICS 273)

This seminar uncovers the aesthetic principles and spiritual operations at work in Hagia Sophia, the church dedicated to Holy Wisdom in Constantinople. Rather than a static and inert structure, the Great Church emerges as a material body that comes to life when the morning or evening light resurrects the glitter of its gold mosaics and when the singing of human voices activates the reverberant and enveloping sound of its vast interior. Drawing on art and architectural history, liturgy, musicology, and acoustics, this course explores the Byzantine paradigm of animation arguing that it is manifested in the visual and sonic mirroring, in the chiastic structure of the psalmody, and in the prosody of the sung poetry. Together these elements orchestrate a multi-sensory experience that has the potential to destabilize the divide between real and oneiric, placing the faithful in a space in between terrestrial and celestial. A short film on aesthetics and samples of Byzantine chant digitally imprinted with the acoustics of Hagia Sophia are developed as integral segments of this research; they offer a chance for the student to transcend the limits of textual analysis and experience the temporal dimension of this process of animation of the inert.
Last offered: Winter 2020 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-Hum, WAY-A-II

CLASSICS 181: Classical Seminar: Origins of Political Thought (CLASSICS 381, ETHICSOC 130A, PHIL 176A, PHIL 276A, POLISCI 230A, POLISCI 330A)

Political philosophy in classical antiquity, centered on reading canonical works of Thucydides, Plato, Aristotle against other texts and against the political and historical background. Topics include: interdependence, legitimacy, justice; political obligation, citizenship, and leadership; origins and development of democracy; law, civic strife, and constitutional change.
Terms: Win | Units: 3-5 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-Hum, WAY-A-II, WAY-ER

CLASSICS 262: Sex and the Early Church (FEMGEN 262, RELIGST 262, RELIGST 362)

Sex and the Early Church examines the ways first- through sixth-century Christians addressed questions regarding human sexuality. We will pay particular attention to the relationship between sexuality and issues of gender, culture, power, and resistance. We will read a Roman gynecological manual, an ancient dating guide, the world's first harlequin romance novels, ancient pornography, early Christian martyrdom accounts, stories of female and male saints, instructions for how to best battle demons, visionary accounts, and monastic rules. These will be supplemented by modern scholarship in classics, early Christian studies, gender studies, queer studies, and the history of sexuality. The purpose of our exploration is not simply to better understand ancient views of gender and sexuality. Rather, this investigation of a society whose sexual system often seems so surprising aims to denaturalize many of our own assumptions concerning gender and sexuality. In the process, we will also examine the ways these first centuries of what eventually became the world's largest religious tradition has profoundly affected the sexual norms of our own time. The seminar assumes no prior knowledge of Judaism, Christianity, the bible, or ancient history.
Last offered: Autumn 2018 | UG Reqs: WAY-A-II, WAY-ED
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