2015 — 4th Century Literature

Course Description

This course, making extensive use of resources available via the internet, focuses on Plato’s Alcibiades. This course is specifically designed for advanced students and will include a rigorous study of cultural and historical context surrounding this primary text. Students will also become familiar with current interpretative approaches to the material.

Students will participate in a weekly online interactive common session, an on-line discussion moderated by faculty members from participating institutions, and weekly tutorials with faculty members at their home institutions.


The following textbook will be used for the majority of the primary reading in this course. Additional primary and secondary sources will be available on the Sakai site accessed by links in the course syllabus.

Denyer, N. Plato: Alcibiades. Cambridge, 2001.

Course Objectives

Through tutorial instruction at their home institution students will further their skills in the Greek language by reading from Plato’s Alcibiades.

By participating in the online common sessions students will further contextualize the primary readings within the broader social, historical, and/or linguistic landscapes of this Platonic dialogue.

By composing responses to study questions and engaging with other students’ responses, as well as preparing an abstract for a research paper, students will develop their ability to read critically, write clearly, and contribute productively to an ongoing discussion of these texts and their contexts.

Course Components

Preparation: As noted in the syllabus, readings are organized by common session, and students should read all assigned primary texts before the common session (ideally before answering the corresponding writing prompt).

Common Sessions: Wednesday, 7-8:15 PM EST. Students at all participating institutions will meet together online for a common session via multipoint interactive video-conferencing and a chat room. These interactive sessions have different faculty leaders each week and typically combine mini-lectures with discussion, questions, and exercises.

Study Questions: Responses to the study questions are due by midnight Saturday; between then and the common session, please provide at least one substantial comment to two other students’ posts. The study questions afford students the opportunity to expand on and synthesize issues that arise in the reading and common sessions, as well as engage with secondary literature. Students may be asked to complete additional reading in English and/or in Greek for the study questions.

Abstract: All students will write an abstract for a paper related to the themes of this course. This abstract will be evaluated by contributing faculty for acceptance to the Student Undergraduate Research Symposium held at the Center for Hellenic Studies in March, 2016.

Times, Due Dates, and Evaluation:

Tutorials: Each student will meet for at least one hour every week with a mentor at her or his home institution. The times and locations of these meetings will be determined on each campus. Students are responsible for contacting their home institution faculty mentors and finalizing the details of their weekly meetings. These sessions will focus more closely on issues of language, translation and interpretation of assigned readings. Home campus mentors will be the final authority for all grades. Translation exams and quizzes will be handled by home institutions.

Common Sessions: All common sessions will occur on Wednesday evenings at 7:00 EST. Units are listed starting on the Thursday after the common session. Students should complete all listed readings in the week(s) before the common session and respond to posted study questions by midnight Saturday in advance of the common session, so that faculty and other students will have the opportunity to review responses.

Study Questions: Initial answers to questions are due by midnight Saturday, and responses to other students’ answers are due by noon on the day of the Common Session. The Forum grading rubric can be found here.

Abstract: The deadline for submission of the paper abstract is by midnight Saturday, November 28. For information on the abstracts see the bottom of the SURS page.

Inter-Institutional Course Dates

The inter-institutional phase of the course will begin September 9 and conclude on November 18. Individual campuses may begin before September 9 and conclude after November 18. Students should consult with their faculty mentors for further information.