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Unit information: The Senses in 2014/15

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Unit name The Senses
Unit code CLASM0049
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Professor. Shane Butler
Open unit status Open
Pre-requisites

NONE

Co-requisites

NONE

School/department Department of Classics & Ancient History
Faculty Faculty of Arts

Description

This unit will offer immersion in the rapidly expanding interdisciplinary field of sense studies, with an emphasis on the questions posed thereby to classicists and the humanities generally. It should be useful both to students of antiquity with an interest in the senses and to others who want to explore the role of antiquity in shaping sensory theories. The unit will have a strong focus on literature and art, broadly conceived, but should also appeal to anyone with an interest in the history of media. As a kind of sensory test case, the unit will devote particular attention to the relationship of the voice to literature, exploiting thereby the likewise rich body of recent work in voice studies. Other senses, however, will not be neglected.

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this unit students will have

(1) developed a detailed knowledge and in-depth critical understanding of the interdisciplinary field of sense studies

(2) had experience in sensing and evaluating extracts from key pieces of literary, cinematic, musical, and historical sources concerning the senses.

(3) demonstrated the ability to identify and evaluate pertinent evidence/data in order to illustrate/demonstrate a cogent argument.

(4) display high level skills in evaluating, analysing, synthesising and critiquing images and ideas

Teaching details

10 x 2 hour seminars

Assessment Details

One summative coursework essay of 5,000 words, assessing

(1) students’ knowledge and understanding of the interdisciplinary field of sense studies,

(2) evaluation of extracts from key pieces of literary, cinematic, musical, and historical sources concerning the senses;

(3) the ability to identify and evaluate pertinent evidence/data in order to illustrate/demonstrate a cogent argument;

(4) skills in evaluating, analysing, synthesising and critiquing images and ideas.

Whereas Level H students in the same class will be assessed by essay (responding to questions set by the unit tutor) and exam, MA students will be required to formulate and develop their own short research topic relating to the senses, give a short presentation on this, and to research an appropriate bibliography. One-to-one written feedback on the presentation; comments on plans and draft bibliographies for the summative essay will be provided.

Reading and References

Selected essays from Shane Butler and Alex Purves, Synaesthesia and the Ancient Senses (forthcoming 2013).

Michel Serres, The Five Senses: a Philosophy of Mingled Bodies (London ; New York: Continuum, 2008).

James I. Porter, The Origins of Aesthetic Thought in Ancient Greece: Matter, Sensation, and Experience (Cambridge ; New York: Cambridge University Press, 2010), selections. Aulus Gellius, Noctes Atticae 19.9.

Two of the following: Euripides, Herakles; Sophocles, Trachinian Women; Seneca, Hercules [Furens]; Ps.-Seneca, Hercules on Oeta.

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