Classical Drama and Theatre
Final grades will be determined on the basis of a student's performance on any or all of the following papers, projects, and tests, each worth a maximum number of points as stated below. Students may do any of the assignments described below. Final grades will rest on how many points students have achieved in completing the assignments they have chosen to do. Thus, students do not have to do any specific assignment, but to get credit toward their final grade they must do some and, whatever they choose, they must turn them in on time. Remember that late work will receive reduced or no credit and there will not be make-ups of any sort (see Grades). All work must be completed within the parameters stated below.
Pre-Tests (300+ pts.; 20 x 15-30 pts. each): Administered at the very beginning of class any day on which a "Chapter"—or part of a Chapter—is assigned (see Syllabus).
As a way for you to demonstrate your preparation for class on any day for which a reading assignment designated as a "Chapter" (or part thereof, as indicated in the Syllabus), I will administer a brief Pre-Test at the very beginning of class. On each of these there will be five-to-ten fill-in-the-blank statements with answers drawn from the reading assignment for that day. You will have two or three minutes at most to supply the correct answers and turn in the Pre-Test. All possible answers for any particular Pre-Test are set in boldface in course materials and also listed as "Terms, Places, People and Things to Know" at the end of each Chapter (or Chapter section). For every correct response (including the proper spelling of the term/s) students will earn 3 points. I reserve the right to deduct credit for incorrect spelling. There will be no make-ups for students who are absent or late to class.
Reactions (300 pts; 4 x 75 pts. each): For due dates, see Syllabus.
These entail your thoughtful reflections on scholarly articles and book chapters about various aspects of ancient drama and society. The materials on which a Reaction can be based are listed in "Classical Drama and Society: A Select Bibliography" (click here). These materials can be accessed on Canvas. A student may do only ONE Reaction per Section on the class.
Reactions should include a section reviewing the author's argument and a section assessing the quality of that argument. Reactions will be assessed according to the quality of your analysis of the reading you have chosen and how well you demonstrate a clear understanding of the political, cultural and artistic context of ancient drama. Articles used as the basis for Reactions may not be included in other work done for class credit, e.g. ABWS's and Research Papers. Each Reaction must be at least 600 words in length. Include a word count at the end of the Reaction.
Formatting a Reaction. In the top right-hand corner of the first page of every Reaction must be (1) the title of the article or book under review, (2) its author/s and its date of publication, (3) the name of the student writing the Reaction and (4) the date on which the Reaction was turned in. These four items of information should be on separate lines and single-spaced, even though the rest of the Reaction is double-spaced.
Midterm Exam (150 pts.): Administered after the midpoint of the term (see Syllabus).
A test based on material addressed in Sections 1 and 2. The Midterm Exam will center on the identification of those terms set in boldface in the course materials covered during the first half of the class. Students will define and discuss the significance of these terms in light of the evolution of classical drama and ancient history. The criteria employed in evaluating students' performance on this test will be the fullness of their answers, the competence of discussion and the intellectual insight evidenced in responses. Terms will be chosen randomly but not haphazardly and will represent a fair sampling of the issues and data presented throughout the class. Click here a fuller description and a handout which those who are taking this exam should bring to class on the day of the midterm.
First Annotated Bibliography/WebSearch (ABWS) (150 pts.): For due date, see Syllabus.
An annotated bibliography/websearch (ABWS) is a review of modern scholarship on a particular topic relating to the history of the Classical drama and society. You will search through a bibliographical database in the library or on the Web concerning a topic of interest to you that is suitable for this class (e.g., theatre architecture, women's roles, government sponsorship of theatre, etc.). Topics must be approved by me in advance. ABWS's based on unsuitable topics will receive no credit. A student may do only one First ABWS.
You will then obtain the works you have found in your search (books, articles, site reports, web sites and so on), read and summarize the authors' arguments. All works should be by modern authors (after 1900 CE) analyzing documents or artifacts from the historical period we are studying. Any articles or textbooks found among the materials of this class (our textbook, articles on reserve, etc.) may not be used in an annotated bibliography or any research work for this course. Please be aware that finding secondary scholarship acceptable for research assignments may entail securing materials from other libraries or ordering them through InterLibrary Loan or databases such as JSTOR, which may involve time. I advise you to begin as soon as possible the process of determining a topic and searching for related scholarship and a feasible theme to argue. All bibliographical citations must be full and in a standard format (e.g., MLA). For websearches, include the address of the web site and, if available, its author, the institution with which it is associated and the latest date at which it was updated. Include in the ABWS only pertinent materials which have advanced in some way your understanding of the chosen topic.
ABWS topics may not overlap with other research done in the class (e.g. Individual Projects), but may lead to a Research Paper or tie tangentially into Capstones (see below). An ABWS must strike a balance between printed and web-based materials, containing at least forty percent of sources drawn from either of these categories.
When you have finished your research, write your ABWS in the following format:
1. Synopsis. An overview of your work. Summarize (a) your initial purpose in doing this exercise (e.g., an interest in female roles in ancient drama) and the reason you chose to explore that particular area, and (b) the result of your efforts, i.e. how the topic changed as you investigated the field and what topic you ended up investigating (if different from your first intention) and the theme you have chosen to argue in favor of. HINT: Write this section last, when you are certain where you are going!
2. Body. The books, articles or sites listed individually with two paragraphs of commentary on each. Review (a) the basic nature of the source (its general content), (b) the author's stated purpose, intended audience and approach to the material, (c) the author's conclusions or basic thrust and (d) the impact the source had on you (i.e. what you learned from it). Finally, explain how the source advanced your understanding of the topic at hand and how you would use it in a research paper, in particular, how it advances your theme. You should have at least FIVE sources.
3. Conclusion. An assessment of your efforts. You should conclude the ABWS by summarizing your view on the state of scholarship concerning your chosen topic and laying out how you would now write a research paper on this subject. You MUST include the argument you would make in the research paper, i.e. what side of what issue you would argue in favor of. To report just the facts is to write a "book report," and I am asking more of you than that in this exercise. Please note that all arguments must build from issues discussed in sources you have found and must have historical validity, that is, argue in favor of something "reasonable" where there is a valid counter-argument. For example, it is not "reasonable" to argue that Euripides was really a woman since there is definitive evidence he was a man. Nor is it "reasonable" to argue that he was a man, since the counter-argument that he was a woman has no credible merit. A valid historical argument focuses on a narrow theme based on well-documented data and circulates around a debatable topic arising from the evidence, e.g. that Euripides' dramas show a strong interest in female characters because women's social roles in Classical Greece were beginning to expand. The conclusion is the most important part of this exercise. Put some time and effort into it!
Evaluation of ABWS's will be based on thoroughness of research, incisiveness of analysis, proper presentation and fullness of conclusion. For those of you who are interested in composing an ABWS, I have in my office copies of some that were well executed, along with some that weren't so well executed, so you can see what I don't like, too. You may come by and look at them as models for what you should be aiming at.
Formatting an ABWS. In the top right-hand corner of the first page of the ABWS must be (1) the title of the subject under review, (2) your name and (3) the date on which you turned in the ABWS. These three items of information should be on separate lines single-spaced. The synopsis which begins the ABWS should be double-spaced, as should the conclusion which ends it. In between these, the articles, web sites and books under review should be single-spaced beginning with the citation of author, title and source. They should be numbered consecutively. There should be an empty line separating the author/title/source from the two paragraphs following which assess the piece. The first paragraph should review the content of the piece (see above, 2.a), the author's approach (2.b) and conclusions (2.c); the second should articulate its impact on your thinking (2.d) and, finally, how the piece will be applied to the theme you propose to argue in your paper. These single-spaced paragraphs should not be separated from each other by an empty line. After them, there should be two empty lines before the title of the next work or, in the case of the last bibliographical item, the conclusion.
Research Paper (150 pts.): Due on the last day of class (see Syllabus).
If your ABWS went well and you would like to see it through to a full research paper, you may go on to write a research paper based on the same material and add as much as 150 points of credit to your final grade. However, you cannot write a research paper without having written an ABWS on the same topic first. You must use the comments you have received from me on the ABWS to reconsider the topic and revise your ideas, including any suggestions I have for further bibliographical exploration and expansion of the theme. Among such changes, students are encouraged to review the sources they had cited in the First ABWS and remove those which were noted as unsuitable, replacing them with better sources. Items found among the resources provided in class, for example, the bibliography on reserve—but NOT the Chapters on line!—may be used now as part of your research, if one of these works is central in the topic you have chosen. Of course, too heavy a reliance on sources which I have provided for you will win your work little credit. In sum, you should have at least TEN bibliographical sources drawn from secondary scholarship, of which at least three must be new (i.e. they were not part of your First Annotated Bibliography).
Research papers will be judged on the quality of the research (including at least ten viable sources), the presentation of data, the plausibility of argumentation, the professionalism of the writing style and the responsiveness to criticism received on the ABWS. They should be presented in a standard scholarly format, employing normal margins and font sizes (see "Neatness" [#18] in The Writing Guide) and should run around ten to fifteen pages in length. The copy of the First ABWS which was returned to you with comments must be attached to the Research Paper when it is turned in.
Second Annotated Bibliography/Websearch (ABWS 2) (200 pts.): Due on the last day of class (see Syllabus).
A second Annotated Bibliography/Websearch. You may do this ONLY IF YOU HAVE DONE A FIRST ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY/WEBSEARCH. It should follow the same guidelines as the First Annotated Bibliography/Websearch, but should be longer (at least fifteen sources balanced between printed and web-based materials in the same proportion as on the First ABWS) and better managed, showing that you learned something meaningful from your previous attempt at this type of research. The Second ABWS may not cover the same topic as the First ABWS; thus, no source included on the First ABWS may be re-used on the Second ABWS. A student may do only one Second ABWS. The copy of the First ABWS to which my comments were attached must be turned in with the Second ABWS.
Individual Project/s (repeatable; up to 250 pts. maximum for each): Due on the last day of class (see Syllabus).
A project of your own inspiration designed in collaboration with me. Because of your interest in a particular field (e.g., Art, Costume History, Architecture, Linguistics, Political Science, Social History, Secondary Education, etc.), you may see a type of project which is applicable to this class but which does not fall easily into a traditional category like "research paper." In past classes, students have built scale models of ancient theatres, designed costumes for a specific play, written Old Comedies in Aristophanic style and prepared lesson plans for teaching Ancient Theatre. It will earn you more points if your Individual Project "argues" for something or, in other words, demonstrates the validity of one perspective on classical drama and society which has been articulated in scholarly research, just as other assignments in the class should (e.g., ABWS).
I invite you to come and see me at my office hours and consult with me about any such venture. You will find me open to all sorts of historical investigation and any viable project, with one important exception: the topic of your Individual Project may not overlap significantly with that of any other work done in the class (e.g., an ABWS, a Research Paper, another Project, etc.). When you meet with me, we will discuss the nature of your proposed Individual Project and establish the maximum number of points it will be worth (up to 250 points). You will then write up a Prospectus (a one-page overview of what the project entails) and turn it in to me as a record of our agreement. No Project may be done without having a Prospectus turned in by the deadline stated on the Syllabus and subsequently approved.
At the time the Project is due, you must also turn in a written summary of your work, outlining the reasoning behind it, what it "proves," how it unfolded, what the end product represents, how it meets the criteria established in the Prospectus and a bibliography of all the sources you consulted in the process of its creation. The evaluation of an Individual Project will be based on its inherent difficulty, the thoroughness of the research underlying it, the quality of the final product, the cogency of the argument underlying in its design, and the amount of work that was necessary to complete it.
Students may do more than one Individual Project, but if so, the Projects must center around different topics and have no overlapping subject material or bibliography with each other or any other assignment in the class.
Play Review (150 pts): Due at the time scheduled for the Final Exam (see Syllabus); also, presentation of the play review in the last week of the term.
Students who choose to do a Play Review will read an ancient drama which has been chosen in advance and consultation with me, and then make a five-minute presentation on the play to the class during the last week of the term. A summary of the complete or nearly complete works surviving for each playwright is available (click here). We will discuss the nature of this presentation in detail later in class. The Play Review is due at or before the time scheduled for the Final Exam (see Syllabus). A Play Review should be at least five pages in length, i.e. at least 1500 words. A word count must be appended to the end of the Play Review.
Students should clear with me which play they will be reviewing before proceeding with a Play Review. The play chosen may not be one of those covered in Readings (The Bacchae, The Frogs, Cyclops, The Arbitrants, The Braggart Soldier, Phaedra). The point of this exercise is not only to read and enjoy a classical play but also as much as possible to appreciate its merits in its native setting. That is, students should aim at reading and assessing the drama as a piece of theatre which was originally composed for a specific audience, performance space, cultural matrix and moment in history. The Review should also attempt to highlight how the chosen work illustrates the principles of theatre covered in the course. For instance, if the play contains a particularly skillful use of actors, props or dialogue as noted in the assigned readings, the Play Review should point to this and analyze it with care. To that end, some bibliography is usually necessary; thus, Play Reviews should include at least a few bibliographical items which show the student's awareness of the larger discussions surrounding the history of the play under consideration. A Play Review may not overlap with other major work a student does in this class, especially Reactions.
Formatting a Play Review. In the top right-hand corner of the first page of a Play Review must be (1) the title of the play under review and its author, (2) the name of the student writing the Review and (3) the date on which the Review was turned in. These three items of information should be on separate lines and single-spaced, even though the rest of the Review is double-spaced.
Capstone Paper (250 pts.): Due at the time scheduled for the Final Exam (see Syllabus).
A thematic summary of course readings and materials. A Capstone should center on a specific topic of general application to the entire class. Its express purpose is for you to "package" the substance of this course for your own future benefit (i.e., what you think is significant and are likely to remember from the course material) and to find a means by which you can assimilate the disparate and sometimes confusing array of data that comprise an understanding of Classical drama and society. The focus of this paper should reflect your own view of the material in the class and the way in which you make it cohere for yourself, that is, what overarching trend you see in the evolution of the subjects we have studied. Specific topics are at the student's discretion, but to be safe you are advised to check your chosen topic with me before you embark on writing a Capstone. Successful topics in past classes have included: Women in Classical Theatre, Classical Actors, Aristotlean Theory in Action on the Classical Stage, Classical Stage Design, Classical Costuming and Ancient Theatre and Society. In general, topics which reflect an unscholarly, incomplete and unprofessional approach to course material will be deemed unworthy of receiving full credit.
One important stipulation I make is that the topic of your Capstone Paper, whatever you choose to focus on, must be applicable to every section of the class (from Origins through late Classical Drama) and include data drawn from every Chapter, if possible. To that end, I ask that you append a notation after each piece of information that notes to which specific Chapter any particular datum belongs. For instance, whenever you make reference to Sophocles, please add the notation (7.2) as an indication that this fact belongs to Chapter 7.2 (Sophocles). The full list of Chapters is most easily accessed on the Syllabus.
Students often ask whether or not Capstones should include bibliography. As such, they do not absolutely require citation of outside bibliography, but since they are sometimes done in conjunction with an ABWS on the same subject, they frequently end up including bibliography and the citation of outside scholarly sources. Thus, you may or may not include bibliography; it's up to you. The Capstone, after all, encompasses your personal approach to classical drama and society, so you should write it from your experience and the opinions you have come to concerning a subject of special interest to you. If your experience has included bibliography, then bibliography should be part of the Capstone. Please note, however, that, while "personal," these papers should not be "diaries," that is, unscholarly or informal in any fashion. What beliefs you hold beyond the scope of historical inquiry and that lack adequate basis in fact have no part here. Your Capstone should reflect your work in this class—a history class!—and be substantive and critical in its approach to course material.
A satisfactory Capstone generally runs about ten pages. In fewer, it is hard to embrace in any meaningful way so complex a subject as classical drama and society. Assessment of Capstones will rest on the criteria used in all writing projects done for this class: sound reasoning, reliable use of data and clarity of expression as well as how comprehensively it addresses the full scope of classical drama and society (i.e. how many times each Chapter is cited, as noted with the enumeration system outlined above). You may use first-person forms somewhat more often than in other types of formal writing, especially when referring to your own growth over the course of the class, but do not overuse this privilege! Please maintain a formal and scholarly posture as much as it's feasible, remembering that it's important to work toward a delicate balance between your own and general scholarly concerns. In other words, do not venture where no sensible historian would follow, and at all times bear in mind who will be reading and assessing your paper!
Final Exam (150 pts.): Administered at the time scheduled for the Final Exam (see Syllabus).
A cumulative test based on material addressed throughout the class. The Final Exam will center on the identification of those terms set in boldface in Sections 3 and 4 (Chapters 8-16). Students will define and discuss the significance of these terms in light of the evolution of classical drama and ancient history. The criteria employed in evaluating students' performance on this test will be the fullness of their answers, the competence of discussion and the intellectual insight evidenced in responses. Terms will be chosen randomly but not haphazardly, and will represent a fair sampling of the issues and data presented throughout the class. Click here for a fuller description and a handout which those who are taking this exam should bring to class on the day of the Final.
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