Skidmore College
CL 302:  Private Lives, Private Worlds
Course Syllabus
Course syllabus
Course timetableOnline resourcesReturn to the CL 302 homepage
Instructor's information
Overview of the course
Objectives of the course
Required texts
Requirements, grading, expectations, and policies
Instructor:  Professor Dan Curley
Office:  208b Harder Hall
Hours:  TTh 12:35-1:30 p.m., and by appointment
Phone:  580-5463
Overview.  In this course we shall survey various Latin authors whose works depict the often elusive and mysterious realm of the private life, the world inside the domus.  Our reading list includes selections from Cicero’s Letters, Livy’s Ab Urbe Condita, and Apuleius’s Golden Ass, which is replete with stories of functionally dysfunctional households.  We shall focus in particular on the boundaries both without and within the domus—the lines that divide public and private, woman and man, husband and wife, parent and child, master and servant—and the consequences of transgression.
Objectives.  The specific goals for this course are as follows:
  • to continue the acquisition of advanced Latin grammar, syntax, and vocabulary;
  • to appreciate the composition and style of various Latin prose authors;  and
  • to reconstruct various aspects of Roman private life from these texts.
  • Furthermore, students will obtain and exercise the following skills:
  • to read literature critically, with sensitivity and precision;
  • to communicate critical thinking in presentations and written assignments;
  • to plan, execute, and complete a long-term project;
  • to become familiar with internet publishing;  and
  • to engage in and to facilitate group discussions and activities.
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    Texts.  Due to the diverse nature of our readings, no texts are required for this course.  Rather, we shall cull our own texts from various quarters.
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    Web writing assignments
    Semester project:  Reconstructing private life
    Class participation
    Extra credit option
    Requirements, Grading, Expectations, and Policies.
    Examinations:  45% (15% each)
    Three examinations are scheduled, one every four weeks.  The exact format has yet to be determined, but you may expect each quiz to test your comprehension of the reading to date, including grammar and syntax.  See the Timetable for dates.

    There will no final examination during exam week.  Rather, this date (10 May) is reserved for the completion of your semester project.

    Web writing assignments:  10%
    In preparation for the semester project, four short web page writing assignments are required.  Consult the Timetable.  The assignments will be cumulative, each building on the last. 
    Semester project—
    Reconstructing private life:   25%
    Our ongoing project this term will be to create a virtual reconstruction of Roman private life.  Each student will be assigned a particular aspect of this admittedly vast area of study, an aspect upon which he or she will report (via the WWW) throughout the semester.  The idea is that an electronic medium will allow the reports to grow;  each successive phase will bring improvements not only to the substance or content of the reports, but also to their form and feel.

    For the due dates of the four phases consult the Timetable.  Note that the last phase, which concludes at the end of our final exam slot, will require that all the individual projects be linked into a single, cohesive website.

    Class participation:  20%
    Class participation involves more than just attendance.  You must also keep up with the readings and assignments, and participate actively during our sessions.  Furthermore, I expect that you will come to class on time and that you will maintain an environment that promotes the exchange of ideas.

    Much of our class time will be devoted to sight-reading.  That is, I will not require you to translate ahead of time;  rather, we shall approach the text "cold" each time as a group.  This is an experimental approach, but it might prove worthwhile. 

    From time to time I shall ask you to prepare short presentations or assignments;  these will count toward the class participation grade, except when related to the web writing assignments or our semester project.

    In all of my classes I adhere to strict attendance and late work policies. Click here to view them.

    Extra credit option:
    Success in this course depends on your ability to organize vast amounts of information within your head.  To encourage the treading of a straight and narrow path, I am offering an extra-credit bounty (5%) at the end of term to any and all who can demonstrate to me that they have employed a systematic approach to memorizing vocabulary and grammar.  A system might include flashcards, notebooks, computer databases, or a combination of these things.

    Most important is that you find a study system that works for you—and that you stick with it.

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    Last modified 2 April 1999