1. Contact Information
  2. Prerequisites
  3. Course Description and Credit Hours
  4. Required Texts
  5. Course Objectives
  6. Student Learning Outcomes
  7. Other Course Materials
  8. Outline Of Topics
  9. Exams and Assignments
  10. Grading Policy
  11. Policy on Missed Exams and Coursework
  12. Attendance Policy
  13. Custom Sections
  14. Statements on Academic Misconduct
  15. Statement On Disability Accommodations
  16. Severe Weather Protocol
  17. Pregnant Student Accommodations
  18. Religious Observances
  19. UAct Statement

Ancient Greek Rel & Gender

REL 370-001Spring 2017 | 3 Credit Hours

Recitation or Discussion

Dr. Vaia Touna

Contact Information

UA Campus Directory:


UA Course Catalog Prerequisites:

No prereqs found

Course Description

Course Description and Credit Hours

Specific context will be determined by faculty responsible for the course that semester. May be repeated for a maximum of 9 hours for differing topics.

In the study of religion scholars often talk about ancient religion in general, and, in particular, ancient Greek religion. But there is always a danger of projecting contemporary assumption backward in time—a concern we likely ought to keep in mind when it comes to studying such things as ancient Greek religion. This course therefore examines how the ancient Greek world is described and represented in the present, in museums, social media, scholarly works, etc. and towards what modern effects. We will also be discussing such topics as heritage, tradition, identity formation and nation-states, as they relate to discourses on the ancient Greek past, all in an effort to develop skills for how we study religion and the past.

Required Texts

Required Texts from UA Supply Store:
  • NONE / NO TEXT REQUIRED (Required)

Course Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Students will be able to:

Ø  Describe aspects of the ancient Greek world.

Ø  Discuss and summarize assigned reading material.

Ø  Implement the above knowledge in writing assignments and oral presentations.

Student Learning Outcomes

Students will be able to:

Ø  Describe aspects of the ancient Greek world.

Ø  Discuss and summarize assigned reading material.

Ø  Implement the above knowledge in writing assignments and oral presentations.

Other Course Materials


This course has no required books but PDF readings that will be available through the course’s Blackboard site. The schedule below provides a list of the readings that you will be responsible for on any given day. Doing all of your assigned readings well in advance of class is important because our seminar and the discussions all presume that you have the necessary background knowledge provided by these readings.

Class Visit/Guest Lectures

Dr. Athanasia Kyriakou is a member of the scientific team excavating at the archaeological dig in Vergina (Aegae), one of Greece’s most prestigious archaeological sites. She is also teaching at the School of History and Archaeology of Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece, on ancient history, classical sculpture and ancient topography. Dr. Kyriakou will be visiting our class via Skype throughout the semester, but we are particularly lucky since we will have her with us in March when she will be giving two guest lectures on the 21st and 23rd of March.

Outline of Topics

Tentative Schedule

Th Jan. 12           Introduction to the Course—(all readings are posted as PDFs on Our Blackboard site)

T Jan. 17              Ancient Greece – Overview

Th Jan. 19           Case Study “Religion among Chimbs”

T Jan. 24              Movie “O Brother where art though”

Th Jan. 26           Mitchell’s “Representation”

T Jan. 31              Bremmer’s Greek Religion

Th Feb. 2             Nongbri’s “Lost in Translation”

T Feb. 7                Hobsbawm’s “The Social Function of the Past”

Th Feb. 9             Case Study—Ancient Greece I

T Feb. 14             Trouillot’s “The Presence in the Past”

Th Feb. 16          Case Study—Ancient Greece II

T Feb.  21            Braun’s “The Past as Simulacrum in the  Canonical Narratives of Christian Origin”

Th Feb. 23          Case Study—Ancient Greece III

T. Feb. 28            McCutcheon’s “Why Do You Seek the Living Among the Dead?”

Th. Mar. 2           Case Study—Ancient Greece IV

T. Mar. 7              Lincoln’s “The Politics of Myth”

Th. Mar. 9           Case Study—Ancient Greece V

T. Mar. 14           NO CLASS – Spring Break

Th. Mar. 16         NO CLASS – Spring Break

T. Mar. 21           Dr. Kyriakou’s visit – Aegae

Th. Mar. 23         Dr. Kyriakou’s visit – Vergina

T. Mar. 28           White’s “The Fictions of Factual Representation”

Th. Mar. 30         Case Study—Ancient Greece VI

T.  Apr. 4              Bourdieu’s “Identity and Representation”

Th. Apr. 6            Case Study—Ancient Greece VII

T.  Apr. 11           Lowenthal’s “Fabricating Heritage”

Th. Apr.13          Case Study—Ancient Greece VIII

T.  Apr. 18           Foucault’s “Nietzsche, Genealogy, History”

Th. Apr.20          Touna’s “The Always Present Past”

T.  Apr. 25           Final project presentation

Th. Apr.27          Final project presentation 

Final Papers Due: Tuesday May 2 by 2:00p.m. 


Bourdieu, Pierre. “Identity and Representation: Elements for a Critical Reflection on the Idea of Religion.” In P. Bourdieu and J.B. Thompson (eds.), Language and Symbolic Power, 220-228. Oxford, UK: Polity Press, 1992. 

Braun, Willi. “The Past as Simulacrum in the Canonical Narratives of Christian Origins.” In Religion & Theology 8/3-4 (2001): 213-228 

Bremmer, Jan. “Greek Religion [Further Considerations]. In Lindsay Jones(ed.), Encyclopedia of Religion Vol.6, 3677-3687. 2nd Edition. Detroit: Thomson Gale, 2005. 

Foucault, Michel. “Nietzsche, Genealogy, History.” In D.F. Bouchard (ed.), Language, Counter-Memory, Practice: Selected Essays and Interviews, 139-164. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1977. 

Hobsbawm, E. J. "The Social Function of the Past: Some Questions." Past & Present, no. 55 (1972): 3-17. 

Lowenthal, David. "Fabricating Heritage." History and Memory 10, no. 1 (1998): 5-24. 

Lincoln, Bruce. “The Politics of Myth.” In Discourse and the Construction of Society, 25-35. 2nd Edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014. 

McCutcheon, Russell T. “Why Do You Seek the Living Among the Dead?” (Luke 24:5). In A Modest Proposal on Method: Essaying the Study of Religion, 117-139. 

Mitchell, W.J. “Representation.” In Frank Lentricchia and Thomas McLaughlin, Critical Terms for Literary Study, 11-22. 2nd Edition. Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press, 1995. 

Nongbri, Brent. “Lost in Translation: Inserting ‘Religion’ into Ancient Texts.” In Before Religion: A History of a Modern Concept. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2013. 

Touna, Vaia. “The Ever-Present Past.” In Fabrications of the Greek Past. [Forthcoming with Brill of the Netherlands) 

Trouillot, Michel-Rolph. “The Presence in the Past.” In Silencing the Past, 141-153. Boston: Beacon Press, 1995. 

White, Hayden. “The Fictions of Factual Representation.” In Tropics of Discourse: Essays in Cultural Criticism, 121-134. Baltimore and London: The John Hopkins University Press, 1985 [1978].

Exams and Assignments

1.      Abstracts (60%)

You will be required to write 12 abstracts on the reading of the day (see tentative schedule below), that accurately describe the argument of the reading for that week, avoiding all assessment, commentary, or quotation; each abstract should be a paragraph long, typed, double spaced, and with a 12 point Times Roman or Times New Roman font. Each abstract is worth 5% of your course grade for a total of 60%. They will be graded and returned the following class.

2.      Presentations  (20%)

Throughout the course each student will have to make 2 presentations (assigned during the first day of class).

Presentation I: You will be required to find and present in class a piece of data—whether it is something you read in a scholarly book, a newspaper article, an archaeological site, etc.—related to ancient Greece.

Presentation II: You will be responsible for leading the discussion on one of the assigned reading materials. You will have to briefly summarize and present the main points of the article followed by two questions.

Each presentation will worth 10% of your course grade for a total of 20%.

3.      Final Assignment (20%)

At the end of the course you will be required to write a paper (of maximum 2500 words) applying things taught in the course at the piece of data you presented in class (see Presentation I). Each student is expected, during the last two classes of the semester, to make an informal presentation of their final paper topic to solicit input from the class.

Grading Policy

Grading Scale

A+          95-100%                             C             70-74

A             90-94                                    D+          65-69

B+          85-89                                    D             60-64

B             80-84                                    D-           50-59

C+           75-79                                    F             below 50

Policy on Missed Exams and Coursework

Excused Absences

Evidence of your legitimate absence must be presented to the professor in a timely fashion if you wish it not to count against you in the seminar. If you miss a presentation, that you were responsible for, you must contact the professor immediately to explain and document your legitimate absence, and you will be required to hand in your presentation as a writing assignment, the next class. The same applies for the abstracts, that is, if you miss a class for a legitimate reason you will be required to hand in the next time the class meets both the abstract of that day’s reading but also the abstract of the day you missed.

Attendance Policy

Regular attendance, adequate preparation for each day’s readings, and active participation will be necessary requirements for this class.

Statement on Academic Misconduct

Students are expected to be familiar with and adhere to the official Academic Misconduct Policy provided in the Online Catalog.

Statement On Disability Accommodations

Contact the Office of Disability Services (ODS) as detailed in the Online Catalog.

Severe Weather Protocol

Please see the latest Severe Weather Guidelines in the Online Catalog.

Pregnant Student Accommodations

Title IX protects against discrimination related to pregnancy or parental status. If you are pregnant and will need accommodations for this class, please review the University’s FAQs on the UAct website.

Religious Observances

Under the Guidelines for Religious Holiday Observances, students should notify the instructor in writing or via email during the first two weeks of the semester of their intention to be absent from class for religious observance. The instructor will work to provide reasonable opportunity to complete academic responsibilities as long as that does not interfere with the academic integrity of the course. See full guidelines at Religious Holiday Observances Guidelines.

UAct Statement

The UAct website provides an overview of The University's expectations regarding respect and civility.