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Module

CAC3065 : Subjects of Desire: Sexuality in the Ancient Mediterranean

  • Offered for Year: 2020/21
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Chris Mowat
  • Owning School: History, Classics and Archaeology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semesters
Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0

Aims

This module will introduce students to methods of analysing and understanding representations of sex and sexuality in the ancient Mediterranean. We will look both at how the Greeks and the Romans themselves presented and thought about their activities and identities, as well as look at how it has been portrayed by modern scholarship attempting to uncover a history of sexuality. This will help in developing primary source analysis and critical awareness of scholarship.

Outline Of Syllabus

We will begin by looking at some of the scholarship that has shaped the discussions around the history of sexuality, and in particular get to grips with theoretical models such as ‘social constructionism’. We will then consider a range of ancient material and think about how we might apply different understandings to what we see, and how we might talk about ancient sexuality.

The module is broken down into week-based topics, which have associated guided reading and study. Each week there will be ‘lecture bites’, which will introduce the key points for understanding that week’s material, and a weekly seminar in which we will discuss the themes. There will also be a weekly ‘drop in’ in which you can bring questions or things you are unsure about in the readings. There will also be a class-collaboration wiki (on Canvas), where each week you will create new pages to add to the group discussion and share your own research.

Teaching Methods

Please note that module leaders are reviewing the module teaching and assessment methods for Semester 2 modules, in light of the Covid-19 restrictions. There may also be a few further changes to Semester 1 modules. Final information will be available by the end of August 2020 in for Semester 1 modules and the end of October 2020 for Semester 2 modules.

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials182:0036:00Lecture ‘bites’ and other supporting materials
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion301:0030:00Essay, podcast and podcast discussion boards.
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading198:0098:00Primary and secondary source reading
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching91:009:00Online Seminars
Structured Guided LearningStructured non-synchronous discussion92:0018:00Contribution to class wiki (on canvas)
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery91:009:00Online drop in and weekly Q&A session
Total200:00
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The seminars will relate directly to the weekly guided reading on each topic, and each will have questions for the students to consider in advance of the seminar. This will be a chance to voice their own ideas based on the primary sources and secondary scholarship in question, and to work with others to build their understanding together.

The lecture ‘bites’ (called so because I intend for them to individually be quite short, and target a particular point of discussion for that week’s topic) will introduce students to the key points for that week, and discuss the main arguments in scholarship. This will guide students in their reading and develop their critical thinking skills in interpreting and analysing.

For the class wiki on canvas, I want the students to each contribute at least one new page per week, and make at least three edits or additions to current pages. The rationale for this method is to help students develop their written presentation skills, and ability to convey knowledge and understanding at a narrow level. The editing side will allow them to engage in discussions of the topic and collaboratively consider points from different angles. There will be suggested topics for pages provided each week, but there will also be an element of free choice for the students, as they can develop their creativity in what they think are important topics that should have pages.

Assessment Methods

Please note that module leaders are reviewing the module teaching and assessment methods for Semester 2 modules, in light of the Covid-19 restrictions. There may also be a few further changes to Semester 1 modules. Final information will be available by the end of August 2020 in for Semester 1 modules and the end of October 2020 for Semester 2 modules.

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Design/Creative proj1M25Oral presentation (podcast), Groupwork of 2 or 3 per group
Prof skill assessmnt1M5Discussion boards portfolio (podcast discussions). Canvas discussion boards of Q&A
Essay1A703000 words
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The podcasts are focussed on primary source analysis – the students will be asked in groups to use the frameworks and discussions from the seminars and directed readings in order to provide interpretations of short texts. This will ultimately allow them to look in-depth at specific examples and consider how the individuals in the sources (the writers, characters and historical actors) fit into the wider models that scholarship has applied to the history of sexuality. There is also an element of developing their ability to creatively present the information and their interpretations to their peers.

The podcast discussion component aims to get the students actually listening to others’ podcasts and reflecting on the information presented. This is thus collaboratively learning and, in line with the learning outcomes, debating different methods of interpreting the evidence. The percentage of the grade here is minimal, as the rationale behind this is focussed on ensuring they actually listen to other podcasts and engage in thinking about the material. This will be marked out of 5, with a mark given for each engagement on the boards (they can, of course, provide more than 5 comments on the boards, but the marking stops at 5 marks!)

The essay will take the form of an extended book review. The students will be asked to select a work of scholarship on the topic from the prescribed list and use their essay to discuss the main argument of the book, including its shortcomings and whether they agree with it. This assessment will therefore develop students’ critical assessment of scholarship, and get them thinking about how the key arguments in the field have been constructed, as well as look closer at the primary sources often used by scholarship and get them to apply their own interpretations.

Reading Lists

Timetable