CLCIV 350 - Topics in Classical Civilization
Section: 002 Slavery in the Ancient World
Term: WN 2009
Subject: Classical Civilization (CLCIV)
Department: LSA Classical Studies
Requirements & Distribution:
Advisory Prerequisites:
CLCIV 101 and 102.
May be repeated for a maximum of 6 credit(s).
Primary Instructor:

Slavery was widespread in ancient Greece and Rome and was crucial to the social, economic and cultural flourishing of these societies. Nevertheless, the ugly reality of ancient slavery is seldom confronted directly in studies of the ancient world. This course aims to redress this imbalance by offering a detailed examination of the role of slavery in Greek and Roman society. We will begin with the question of how slaves were acquired and what needs (social, economic, and ideological) they satisfied in these cultures. Of particular concern will be the question of how these societies justified the exploitation of slaves and developed (pseudo-) scientific theories and ideologies in support of slavery. Aristotle’s theory of natural slavery stands as a particularly infamous example of these justifications. Forms of racist thought, however, can be traced back at least to the fifth century BCE and are based on ethnic prejudices and stereotyping that were prominent throughout antiquity. A major part of the course will be to examine how ancient racist attitudes were constructed (though social practice, discourse and visual representations). In this context we will examine competing modern definitions of racism, and, in particular, the differences between ancient and modern racism.

Along with the ideological aspects of slavery and racism, we will explore the pragmatics of social control and rebellion. For example, we will explore the techniques that masters used to control their slaves, and investigate instances when this control failed, i.e., slave revolts. We will also examine modes of slave resistance (e.g., deliberate negligence, dilatoriness and theft) and the ways that slaves formed a distinctive identity and culture separate from that imposed on them by their masters. Readings about other slave societies (e.g., the American South, Brazil and the Caribbean) will provide crucial comparative evidence and models for exploring aspects of ancient slavery.

Course requirements include active participation in discussions, weekly in-class response papers and quizzes, and take-home midterm and final exams.

CLCIV 350 - Topics in Classical Civilization
Schedule Listing
001 (LEC)
TuTh 1:00PM - 2:30PM
002 (LEC)
TuTh 11:30AM - 1:00PM
NOTE: Data maintained by department in Wolverine Access. If no textbooks are listed below, check with the department.

Coursepack Location:
The Coursepack will be available by the first week of the term.
ISBN: 0521378877
Slavery and society at Rome, Author: Keith Bradley, Publisher: Cambridge Univ. Press Repr. 1996
ISBN: 0312183100
Spartacus and the Slave Wars : a brief history with documents, Author: translated, ed., and with an i, Publisher: Bedford [u.a.] 2001
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