How do writers, artists, and social scientists construct bodies as archaic, classical, and savage in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries? How is the body a site on which questions of political and social power are negotiated in relation to the archaic and the primitive? How do bodies suffer and inflict violence within these constructions of power? How are bodies racialized and sexualized in relation to the classical and the savage?
In this course we will study literary, theoretical, and critical texts, as well as visual culture including film and photography, that will help us grapple with these questions. We will discuss questions of aesthetic form, the politics of representation, how ancient materials influence contemporary norms of race, gender, and sexuality, and the political implications of the reception of the archaic past. Our materials will be drawn from different historical moments and cultural contexts, including Ancient Greece, Romanticism, Modernism, avant-garde movements (French, Russian, and anglophone), the Harlem Renaissance, Italian postwar cinema, and contemporary American and Greek poetry and cinema.
This is a writing-intensive R1B course with a research component. A substantial amount of time will be devoted to writing workshops and instruction. Students will be required to write papers with revisions.