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Lecture 12

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Victoria Wohl

Into to Greek Culture and History Lecture #12 Some notes of common errors during the midterm  Final is same format Part 2:  Not enough detail o Ensure you define terms o Give clear and detailed examples from the text o E.g. for the ‘connect funeral oration virtues with other texts’ questions:  Talk about how Pericles discusses the virtue, then go into detail about how it is illustrated in another text, and see if both forms of andreia are the same o Think and make sure you know what the question is asking, and what it is trying to get at o E.g. Solon and Croesus: do you know about them, and also do you know about the Persian war o The best answers were mini-essays; pseudo-thesis, drew to a conclusion Part 3  Lack of a thesis statement is the biggest problem  Don’t just reiterate the question in the thesis statement o Ensure this thesis statement is specific, not vague  When creating thesis, think about all texts you want to discuss, and make sure it covers both of them  Often thesis is descriptive, not analytical (sets you up to summarize, not analyze the text)  E.g. of descriptive thesis: Oedipus doesn’t know himself, and it leads to his downfall o Analytical thesis: add a why or a because (This is ideal)  Choose examples that support this argument and ensure they are important  More detail with examples, the more you can develop your thesis  Ensure all your examples are drawn back to the thesis statement  Ensure you reach a conclusion, and explain why your argument is significant  You can go to the prof or TAs to check your thesis statement for the in-class essay Now into the Lecture: Women as other  Alterity between male and female is deeply ingrained today, although we’re getting better at recognizing the grey areas  These are mutually defining o To be a woman or a man is (among other things) not to be the other  We still live with this today, so it is especially important for us to critique it  Look at alterity between male and female, and connect this to our own culture Sex vs. gender  Sex: anatomical/biological genitalia o Physical alterity o These are not very interesting or important for us o One difference among many others among individuals o What is interesting is how a culture interprets these facts  How are these diff. interpreted and drawn upon o E.g what the Greek culture derives from the fact that females have uteruses  More nurturing  Shouldn’t serve in army  Shouldn’t have high stress jobs  Should stay home with children  Gender: social designation o Defined by social roles, attributes, stereotypes  “One is not born a woman, one becomes a women.” ~ Simone de Beauvoir o You are born physically female, but society shapes you into what they think a woman should be  Going to have a girl: get fluffy things, paint room pink, say things like “isn’t she pretty!” o Our society conspires to shape gender  Sex= Physis  Gender= Nomos o There are debates over which is prominent  Our focus is gender, or female nomos  In talking about gender, the Greeks would often appeal to sex to refer to gender; so root gender differences in physis o often find nomos masquerading as physis  How do the Greeks imagine gender difference and its significance  The two sexes are different, and one is inherently superior Looking at Theogony/Works and Days  Women are used to define man’s nature  Why are women tied to sacrifice and fire in these two texts o Fire, women and sacrifice are all destructive, but also necessary o Need all three in order to survive; warmth, reproduction and food  These separate us from the gods, who: o Don’t need warmth (use clouds) o Don’t need food (smell is enough, have ambrosia) o Don’t need to reproduce, have sex for fun (this is why incest is common)  Because we are mortal, we have to have women  Instead of women being positive, and giving women the credit for procreation, women are blamed for the necessity of procreation; our not being God-like  Pandora is our separation from the Gods o Other myths like this  Athaea and her son Meleager: told by fates that son will live until fire log burns out, she grabs it and buries it  There is a war after her son grows up; he fights on one side, Athaea’s brothers on the other, and he kills her brothers, and she casts the log on the fire and kills him. Thus she controls his death as well as life o Also Homeric hymn to Demeter  In mourning, she disguises herself as a nursemaid to a baby  She wants to give the child eternal life, and puts him in the fire every night, and one night her mother sees this and she freaks out, snatching the baby away and dooms him to mortality- thus it is her fault that he will die  The biological fact of sex gets
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