This History seminar, cross-listed with Classics and International Affairs, depends upon active participation by all students in the course for us to pursue an in-depth examination of the life and times of Alexander of Macedon. Over the course of the semester we will read a considerable number of primary and secondary sources, conduct extensive discussions on, and compose essays on a wide variety of issues related to the career of Alexander. The objectives of these exercises are enumerated below:
Goals  to understand the sources - literary, historical, archaeological, art historical - for the study of Alexander and his age
to assess scholarship that draws upon these sources
to gain a comprehensive perspective on the later 4th century BC from Greece to India, from Macedonia to Egypt; on the principal architect of that age; and the legacy he established
Skills to communicate effectively in classroom discussion
to conduct research by traditional and digital methods
to develop critical thinking abilities and learn to articulate them orally and in written form
to write a literary, historical, art historical, philosophical or archaeological analysis supported by primary and secondary sources
You will have ample opportunities to hone your skills in order to achieve these goals. The requirements for successful completion of the course focus on communication, research and composition as follows:
Participation 10% Seminars depend upon regular, stimulating and provocative contributions from all participants. Each student is expected to participate actively and regularly in classroom discussions, and that participation must be grounded in a thorough understanding of the sources for each class meeting. Thus, participation includes
  • regular attendance: you cannot participate if you are not in class
  • in-class contributions: there is no place to hide in a seminar. Your participation grade depends upon frequent and substantive contributions to the class discussion.
  • completion of reading assignments: a seminar has high expectations, including a minimum of approximately 75pp. of reading per class meeting. Your comments in class will reflect whether you have done the reading thoroughly and carefully.
Methodology 10% Feb. 8: this first assignment asks the student to acquire basic methodological skills, apply them in a brief research investigation, and then individually write up the results. We will devote one class to this project; the written work will be due one week later (Feb. 15). The class session will focus on research methodologies and specific tools relevant to the study of Alexander; the written component will consist of a 500-word essay due in-class on Feb. 15 which focuses on individual student efforts to compile a set of responses to this brief research assignment.
Brief Reports 15% Feb. 15-March 21: 2-3 students will each present brief reports on specific, narrowly defined topics over the course of nine class meetings. These reports will focus either on a comparison of primary or secondary sources on a particular topic, or on an analysis of a primary or secondary source's treatment of a particular problem.
Project Reports 25% Apr. 4-27: over the course of eight class meetings in April each member of the class will present a 15-minute report on his or her research project (for which see below). Students are required to provide the other members of the class with relevant readings and focus questions at least one class meeting prior to the presentation. Students are also encouraged to use multimedia (presentation software such as webpages or Powerpoint) and/or handouts to illustrate these presentations.
Research Project 40% Over the course of the semester each student will focus on a research project that bears directly on the life and times of Alexander. As the main focus of the semester, this project will consist of a variety of components - benchmarks of the progress towards successful completion of the research:
  • Topic statement: a one-paragraph summary of the issue(s) addressed in the research paper, due March 9th. 
  • Thesis statement and Working Bibliography: The Skidmore Guide to Writing (p. 3) explicates succinctly the content of a thesis statement. This one-paragraph (not one-sentence) statement and a thorough and in-progress bibliography are both due March 23rd. We will review the variety of theses under examination on March 28th.
  • Project report: one 15-minute report on the research project
  • Research project paper: 20-page annotated paper due May 4.
Co-curricular events Over the course of the semester we will screen two films and attend one lecture (all dates and times TBA); your attendance at all events is mandatory.
  • Alexander's Epic March (1998) by Michael Wood for PBS (running time: 4 hours)
  • The Man Who Would be King (1975) by John Huston, starring Sean Connery and Michael Caine (running time: two hours)
  • Lecture by Prof. Christopher Pelling, University College, Oxford University, on Plutarch and the biographical tradition (April)