Feb 08, 2023  
Catalogue 2021-2022 
Catalogue 2021-2022 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

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AFRS 301 - Seminar in Classical Civilization

Semester Offered: Fall
1 unit(s)
(Same as GRST 301 ) Topic for 2021/22a: The Prehistory of Race in Greco-Roman Antiquity. This class aims to assess how ancient Greco-Roman perceptions of human difference can inform contemporary conversations about race and racism, and vice versa. Greco-Roman antiquity has often been claimed to represent the origin of white, European civilization, and so has been a potent tool in the creation and maintenance of contemporary racial hierarchies. However, ancient ethnographic writings spanning the ancient Mediterranean, including Africa and the Near East, reveal a multi-ethnic world whose ways of categorizing humans bear little resemblance to that of the contemporary world and so demonstrate the artificiality of today’s racialized system. Nevertheless, the many hierarchies that ancient writers articulate reflect essentializing assumptions about human difference, revealing that even if anti-Blackness was unknown in antiquity, the history of distinguishing and ranking groups of human beings extends back far beyond the Colonial period where modern racism is often said to originate. Our enquiry into the interpretation of ancient sources and their mixed legacy is informed both by scholarship on ancient race and ethnicity and by readings in Critical Race Theory and Whiteness Studies. Curtis Dozier.

Prerequisite(s): Previous work in Africana Studies or previous work in Greek and Roman Studies or permission of the instructor.

All readings are in English.

Two 75-minute periods.

Course Format: CLS

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