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QU POLIS: Women in War (Part 1)
November 12 @ 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
This course is a follow up to Rob Manning’s class last year on The Politics of Mourning. The centerpiece of Rob’s class was Sophocles’ play, Antigone. The tyrant Creon generates the action of this play by proclaiming that a fallen enemy, who happens to be his nephew and Antigone’s brother, may not be mourned or buried. Antigone defies Creon, and pays for her defiance with her life. She is specifically a female casualty of war as the ancient Greeks waged it.
The class will look at various representations in literature of the situation of women in war. The centerpieces of the class will be three Greek plays, The Trojan Women and Helen by Euripides, and Lysistrata by Aristophanes. But other representations will be looked at as well. Here are some of those to be reviewed. Dr. Messina has chosen many of these instances from Greek and Biblical literature, two of his areas of special study:
Iphigeneia in Aeschylus
Hebrew: Deborah; Jephthah’s daughter; Dinah at Schechem
Cressida in Chaucer, Henryson, Shakespeare
At the Wolf’s Table, a recent Italian novel about Hitler’s tasters—the conscripted women who were made to taste all the food he ate to make sure it wasn’t poisoned
The Silence of the Girls, a recent novel about the plight of captive women
You’re not expected to read all of this. Since we’re concentrating on three Greek plays, it would be good if you could read those, in good translations. (Dr. Messina recommends the Modern Library edition of The Greek Plays, edited by Mary Lefkowitz & James Romm, or the various separate paperbacks published by the University of Chicago Press–https://www.press.uchicago.edu/ucp/books/series/CGT.html). But as he usually says in his course descriptions, if you don’t want to or can’t read anything, just come to listen and participate in any way you like.
(Part 1, Part 2 will be held on November 19th)
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