gender and sexuality in the ancient world

Email sent May 16 (final assignment):

Dear students,

I hope that you all had an excellent weekend and are adjusting to these cold temperatures!

I will be on campus today, so, if you would like to meet, please send me an email by noon today. Otherwise I will be accessible by email. I will not be able to reply to emails between noon on Tuesday and 8:00 am on Wednesday. After Wednesday I’ll be in a different time zone, so I may reply at unexpected times, but I’ll have access to my email and will reply.

The final assignment is due Friday, May 20, 11:59 pm.

Good luck, and please let me know if you have any questions!


Email sent May 11 (deadlines):

Dear students of gender and sexuality,

Some of you have emailed to inquire about the deadline, since the due date for the paper is Friday, but the syllabus says Sunday. While the syllabus is subject to change, I understand that a little extra time would probably be much appreciated, so the I’m extending the deadline for paper three to Sunday, May 15, 7:59 pm. However, this means that you will probably not receive immediate feedback, since I was planning to read them this weekend and return them on Monday.

If you are planning to revise a paper, the deadline for revisions is still Friday, May 13, 7::59 pm.

Reminder: We do have discussion sections this week. There is no class on Monday, May 16!

I hope to see you all this afternoon at the Classics BBQ!


Email sent May 9 (Wednesday):

Dear students,

I just wanted to remind everyone that there is a reading for Wednesday and for discussion sections this week.

Since there are no daily comments due for discussion section readings, your last comment will be due on Wednesday!

Today we discussed the third assignment (due Friday, May 13) and the final paper (dueFriday, May 20). For Wednesday, please come to class prepared to share some thoughts on the most important things you’ve learned this semester and how you might organize these ideas in a seminar. If you’re not sure what I’m referring to, please read the final assignment guidelines posted on the course website under assignment.

Have an excellent evening!


“Lying, Exaggeration, and Encomium in Vergil’s Aeneid,” Professor James O’Hara, Tuesday, April 19, 4:30 pm, RAJ conference room. 

Email sent April 14 (Classics Talk):

Dear students,

I hope you’re all enjoying this sunny morning, and break from our usual discussion section routine.

On Tuesday, April 19, 4:30 RAJ conference room, James O’Hara, professor of Latin at UNC, Chapel Hill, will be giving a talk on “Lying, Exaggeration, and Encomium in Vergil’s Aeneid.” This talk will consider false and questionable claims made by characters in Vergil’s Aeneid, an epic account of the journey made by Aeneas, the ancestor of Romulus and Remus, from Troy to Italy.

This should be a fascinating talk, especially for those of you interested in how one methodologically treats intentional falsehoods written into the text by the author. It should also be noted that this text was written under the reign of Augustus, whose marriage laws you are now all quite familiar with.

I hope to see you all there, and if you have any questions, please feel free to contact me!


Email sent April 13 (Butler and transgender lives):

Dear students,

I hope you’re all having a relaxing and/or productive evening.

Some of you have emailed me wondering how Butler transgenderism would fit within Butler’s theory of gender as performative. This is an excellent question. Some have used her theories, inappropriately as she argues, to suggest that the transgender experience is itself a “social construct.” Her discussion of trans people actually makes her theories of gender as performative and the genetics of sexed bodies even more nuanced and interesting. Here is a link to an interview with her which, if you have the time, I recommend that you read:



Email sent April 8 (paper two prompts):

Dear students,

The prompts for the second paper have been posted under assignments on the course website. Keep in mind that these are just suggestions. Feel free to modify a prompt or come up with your own prompt/topic.


Email sent April 5 (assignment two):

Dear students,

Information about the second paper has been posted under assignments on the course website.

We’re going to spend some time in class tomorrow talking about paper topics.

Have a great evening!


Email sent April 4 (this week’s readings):

Dear students,

I hope that you all enjoyed today’s Rome preview! I’ve posted the readings for the rest of the week, but I wanted to let everyone know that this week’s reading are about rape in Roman culture. While this week’s readings are not the only readings about rape, they do explicitly treat rape in the context of history, politics, and comedy.

As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please email me.

If you were not in class today, you will need to sign up for a time to lead the class discussions during discussion sections.

See you all on Wednesday!


Email sent March 25 (reading for April 4):

Dear students,

The reading for April 4 has been posted. This reading is an historical overview of sexuality in Rome.

In class on Monday we’ll discuss the reading and some of the primary sources for women’s lives in Rome.

All of the papers (with the exception of those written by students enrolled as CW) have been returned.

CW students: your papers will be sent to you by email by tomorrow evening.

Have a great break!


Email sent March 15 (updates/Alcibiades): 

Dear students,

I will not be holding regular office hours this Wednesday and Friday (March 16 and 18). If you need to meet with me, please send me an email.

No discussion sections this week!

Next week’s readings will be posted tomorrow.

While I generally avoid self-promotion, after yesterday’s discussion I thought you might be interested in this, which I wrote recently about Alcibiades:

See you all tomorrow!


Email sent March 13 (tonight):

Dear students,

I hope that you’ve managed to find some time over this busy weekend to enjoy the sun! I just wanted to remind you all that the paper is due tonight by 11:59 pm.

Please send it to me as a word or google doc. You will receive a confirmation email from me by tomorrow’s class that I received your paper.

If you have any questions, please email me by 5:00 pm tonight.


Email sent March 11 (paper reminders):

Dear students,

Below are some reminders regarding the paper.

1) The paper will be due by 11:59 pm, Sunday, March 13. Please email me your paper as a word or google doc. (I changed the time from 7:59 pm to midnight to accommodate Sunday’s time change.)

2) Your paper should be 4-5 pages, spacing 1.5, times/Helvetica font.

3) CW students: your paper should be 5-6 pages, spacing 1.5, times/Helvetica font.

4) Please use parenthetical citations in your paper (MLA format). Information about how to cite primary and secondary sources can be found on the course website under “citing and referencing.”

5) Some links and extra articles were posted yesterday under “useful links.”

6) Here is a great article on abortion, the Hippocratic Oath, and Roe vs. Wade:

7) Next week’s reading will be posted shortly.

Have a great weekend!


Email sent March 4 (paper one prompts):

Dear students,

The readings for next week and the updated list of prompts have been posted.

I have changed the syllabus slightly to accommodate Sunday’s paper deadline. Wednesday’s readings will focus on what we know of men’s and women’s lives in Athens and Sparta. Up till now, we’ve mainly focused on the equivalent of media representations–the stories and images that offer evidence of the dominant discourses/narrative of how people talk about what it means to be a man and what it means to be a women. These readings may offer a different perspective (although they still exist as written words that tell a story, albeit for a different purpose).

There will not be any new readings for next week’s discussion sections. Instead, discussion sections will be writing workshops. Please come to class with a rough draft or detailed outline of your paper (approximately three pages). This will be an opportunity for you to share your ideas and receive feedback from both me and your peers.

As an incentive to start thinking about your paper, please include in Monday’s daily comment a short description (100 words or less) of your topic and argument.

Have an excellent weekend!


Email sent March 2 (updates):

Dear students,

Reminder: there are no daily comments due for discussion section readings.

In discussion sections this week we’re going to discuss the reading on vases and the first assignment.

If you are a CW student, please read through the handout carefully, as you have some drafting due for your papers. If you have questions, please send me an email.

Please submit a possible paper prompt to me by email by 11:30 on the day of your discussion section. We’ll discuss the prompts and possible paper topics/arguments in this week’s discussion sections. The complete list of prompts (approved and modified if needed) will be posted on the course website.

I have also posted the handouts regarding the papers under assignments (for both CW and non-CW students). Information about citing and referencing has also been posted.

I’ve also posted some links on the course website that you may find interesting or useful.


Email sent Feb. 15 (link to course website):

Dear students of gender and sexuality in the ancient world,

Here is a link to the course we bite: go/gsaw

The full address is here:

The readings for Wednesday have been posted.

This email and all future emails will be posted on the course website under “announcements.”

There will be a daily comment due for Wednesday’s readings. You do not need to respond to both readings. You may chose to do so, but you are welcome to comment on one of them instead. Please keep in mind that your comment should be between 200-250 words. If you submit a comment, you will receive full credit.

See you all on Wednesday!