All students admitted to the MA Classics are admissible. BA Classics is an admission requirement. Research MA students are admissible, but this course is extra curricular for them, since it is not aimed at acquiring Research MA level research skills.
Why do we study Classics in the modern world? In what ways can we use ancient texts as ‘tools for thinking’ to analyze current affairs and societal problems? We will study the debate on the usefulness of Classics and look at a number of current issues, such as the Covid-19 pandemic, the dangers of playing computer games or reading Ovid, fake news, censorship, plagiarism, fragments & social media, refugees & migration, gender & diversity, and several other topics.
The course is designed to be useful for future teachers, but also for everyone who will use their MA Classics degree to pursue other, extra-academic, careers. It is meant to strengthen the coherence and profile of the Classics track of the MA Classics and Ancient Civilizations in Leiden. It is the core course of this track, compulsory for all students. If space permits, RMA students are allowed to take this class; however, the credits cannot count towards the fulfillment of the RMA requirements, since this is not a seminar designed to train future researchers.
At the end of this course:
students will have acquired insight into the (historical) debate over the usefulness or relevance of the study of Classics, and learned to formulate their own position in this debate;
students will be aware of the pitfalls of and theoretical backgrounds to using historical evidence in contemporary debates;
students will have acquired writing skills in sub-academic genres, in particular the essay (but also e.g. a blog or other social media), in their potential to spread ideas based on academic research;
students will have familiarized themselves with possible roles of classical texts in a number of contemporary debates;
in oral presentation they will present audibly, clearly and on the basis of arguments the results of the student’s research, and make effective use of hand-out, illustrations or multi-media techniques;
students will have read in the original a number of ancient texts speaking to modern issues and be able to demonstrate their graps of these texts in an oral exam.
The timetables are available through My Timetable.
Mode of instruction
Active participation and preparation (10%);
collaborative presentation, possibly including organizing and chairing group discussion (20%);
Three writing assignments (20%, 20%, 30%), details provided in syllabus.
Final grade established on the basis of weighted average, with the proviso made above.
Resit possible for parts of the seminar that were below passing grades.
Inspection and feedback
Feedback will be provided on the performance of each student on each assignment/presentation/exam.
Initial bibliography will be provided in first session. Some reading materials will be made available through Brightspace and in the Classics reading room on ‘seminar shelf’ in library (these books will not be lent out). Students will largely be determining their own bibliography in consultation with the instructor on the basis of the topics they want to study more closely.
Everyone must read, either in English or Dutch:
Nussbaum, Martha, Not for Profit. Why Democracy needs the Humanities. Princeton 2010 (translated into Dutch as Niet voor de Winst. Waarom de democratie de geesteswetenschappen nodig heeft). Amsterdam: Ambo, 2011.
Beard, M., 2017. Women and Power.
Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs
For substantive questions, contact the lecturers listed in the right information bar.
For questions about enrolment, admission, etc, contact the Education Administration Office: Arsenaal
Language of instruction/examination:
Class instruction and discussion will be in English when non-Dutch speakers are present. However, given the objectives of the class and the importance of the Dutch context, all written assignments may be produced in Dutch or English, as the student prefers. Dutch students must produce at least one text in Dutch. Oral examinations (in case of 10 EC) will be in Dutch or English, depending on the first language of the student.
Details of assignments:
As always, a detailed syllabus will be handed out at the first session of class; it will also be made available on Brightspace.