LBST 310/210

Modern Culture's Ancient Sources

(The Greek, Roman, and Biblical Worlds)

Course Outline - Fall 2013

Welcome to the Liberal Studies program. This outline will tell you most of the basic things you need to know in order to get started. Please read it carefully. If you have any questions, please consult your seminar leader.

Course Description

This course is a critical exploration of influential ideas in art, literature, philosophy, science, and religion from the ancient Hebrew, and classical Greek and Roman periods. Through seminar discussion of key works by classical thinkers, students investigate the understandings of justice, human nature, war, love, sexuality, faith, rationality, and more that have informed 2,500 years of western culture.

This outline pertains to both LBST 310 and LBST 210. The two courses share the same reading list and lecture timetable. The performance demands for the upper-level courses are greater than those at the lower level.

LBST 310 is offered in both Nanaimo and in Courtenay (through a partnership agreement with North Island College) and, through internet technology, on the VIU campuses in Cowichan and Powell River. LBST 210 is also available to students at the Nanaimo, Cowichan, and Powell River campuses of VIU. When specific instructions apply to only one group or the other, these will be noted in the syllabus.

Things To Do Immediately

Before Tuesday September 3, 2013:

•  Read the Books of Genesis and Job from the Old Testament of the Bible (any version).

•  Prepare your seminar note as explained under "Assignments" below, and hand it in at your seminar on September 10th (Nanaimo day-time) or Sept 12th (Nanaimo evening, Courtenay, Powell River, Cowichan).

•  During the week of September 17th we will be reading and discussing the epic poem The Odyssey , by Homer. It is a long poem. We advise you to begin reading it early so as to be prepared to discuss it with your seminar companions.

Orientation Week

The first week of the semester (September 3-5) is Orientation Week. During this week, the normal lectures and seminars will be combined with essential orientation and community-building activities.

The first week will involve getting to know the other participants in your seminar, as well as much more detail about the running of the program and the ways in which your performance will be evaluated. It will also focus on seminar discussion skills.

Staff  

 

 

Office

Phone

Office Hours

David Livingstone

Faculty

336

2175

TBA

Maureen Okun

Faculty

334

2174

TBA

 

Weekly Timetable  

There are several sections of LBST 210 and 310. They meet in different places and at different times. Find the section you are registered in on the following table and read across for the corresponding meeting times and locations.

LBST 210 F13N01 (Nanaimo)

 

Lecture

Tuesdays

10:30 am - 12:30 pm Nanaimo Campus, Building 355, room 107

Seminar

Thursdays

6:00 pm - 9:00 pm Nanaimo Campus, Building 305 (Library), room 274

LBST 210 F13D01

(Cowichan)

Lecture

Online

Details to follow

Seminars

Thursdays

6:00 - 9:00 pm Cowichan Campus D 700 135

LBST 210 F13R01

(Powell River)

Lecture

Online

Details to follow

Seminars

Thursdays

6:00 - 9:00 pm Powell River Campus

R 610 152

  LBST 310 F13N02

(Nanaimo)

Lecture

Tuesdays

10:30 am – 12:30 pm Nanaimo Campus, Building 355, room 107  

 Seminars

Thursdays

6:00 – 9:00 pm Nanaimo Campus,

Building 305 (Library), room 274

LBST 310 F13N01

(Nanaimo)

Lecture

Tuesdays

10:30 am - 12:30 pm Nanaimo Campus, Building 355, room 107

Seminars

Tuesdays and Thursdays

1:00 pm - 2:30 pm

Nanaimo Campus,

Building 355, room 108

LBST 310 F13D01

(Cowichan)

Lecture

Online

Details to follow

Seminars

Thursdays

6:00 - 9:00 pm Cowichan Campus D 700 135

LBST 310 F13R01

(Powell River)

Lecture

Online

Details to follow

Seminars

Thursdays

6:00 - 9:00 pm Powell River Campus

R 610 152

 

Lectures and Seminars

The lectures are held on Tuesday mornings, and they serve several purposes: to initiate discussion and debate around issues raised by the texts; to provide occasional background information that will make reading and discussing the texts easier; and, occasionally, to show how issues arising from the text are connected to issues in the modern world or to issues arising out of texts we have looked at before. For distance students only (Courtenay, Powell River, Cowichan) lectures will be delivered online (details to follow).

Seminars provide you with the opportunity to develop, deepen, and consider alternatives to your own interpretations of the texts. Active engagement is the key to successful learning, and seminars are an important venue for engagement. See the detailed explanation under "Seminar Participation" below.

Attendance

Please note: because of the essential participatory nature of Liberal Studies courses, it is department policy that attendance is required at all seminars and, for Nanaimo students, lectures. Students at other campuses are required to view all lectures online. Failure to attend regularly, and for non-Nanaimo students, to view the lectures, will have a significant negative impact on your mark for participation.

Textbooks

The following list indicates the required reading. We encourage you to do some of the reading before the course begins: we recommend at least the first three titles below. It is also important that, with the exception of the Bible, you endeavour to obtain the exact editions specified, for three reasons: different translations of the same work typically differ in significant ways; seminars run into reference difficulties when there are several editions of a text at the table; and instructors can have trouble following lines of evidence in written work if the student's citations don't match their own editions. In some cases the Bookstore may have been unable to obtain the edition specified; in those cases you may buy the edition that the Bookstore has marked for this course.

  • The Bible: any edition will do.
  • Homer: The Odyssey , trans. Fagles, (Penguin Classics).
  • Thucydides: On Justice, Power and Human Nature , trans. Woodruff (Hackett).
  • Plato: The Republic , trans. Bloom (Basic Books).
  • Aristotle: Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics , trans. Barlett and Collins (Univ. of Chicago Press).
  • Aristophanes: Clouds , in Four Texts on Socrates , trans. West and West (Cornell Univ. Press).
  • Sappho, Sappho: A New Translation, trans. Barnard (Univ. of California Press).
  • Boethius, The Consolation of Philosophy: Revised Edition trans. Watts (Penguin).

The following works will be included in a custom course work packet available on the Desire2Learn Web site (an online source). We recommend that you print this packet and bring it those classes when we will be discussing those readings:

  • Sophocles: Oedipus The King , and Antigone trans. Johnston.
  • Greek and Roman Art and Architecture (selected readings).

With the following exceptions, we will read the above books in their entirety :

  • The Bible: Genesis, Job.
  • Thucydides: pp. 1-16, 39-58, 66-76, 89-95, 102-123 and 141-154.

Recommended

  • The Broadview Guide to Writing -- fourth edition , by Doug Babington, Maureen Okun, Don LePan (Broadview Press, 2009). Available at www.broadviewpress.com .

Web Resources

There are a number of valuable and helpful web resources for your use in LBST 310:

1) The Liberal Studies Home-page : This departmental page contains a vast amount of information about the theory and practice of Liberal Studies courses, and all the links you will need to other resources. Please explore it at your leisure.

2) VIU has instituted a new learning management software system called "Desire2Learn." You can access your Liberal Studies courses on Desire2Learn by navigating your internet browser to http://d2l.viu.ca . Once you are there, log in using your "Discovery" id and password (the same ones you would use to access your student record). Once you are into the system, you should see LBST 310 and/or LBST 210 as one of the courses you can access. Click on the links, and you should see the course content displayed week-by-week. This is a relatively new system, and we may not have all of the kinks worked out by the first semester, so please be patient. There is an online help button. Go there first and try to answer any technical questions you have before you contact us about them. Since we are Liberal Studies professors and not IT specialists, even if you do contact us, we may not have an answer for you, in which case, you may need to contact the VIU IT Help desk.

Grades

In marking assignments, faculty will use letter grades. The following scale [identical in all VIU classes] will be used to assess the final grade for the class:

Percentage (%)

Letter Grade

Grade Point

90-100

A+

4.33

85-89

A

4.00

80-84

A-

3.67

76-79

B+

3.33

72-75

B

3.00

68-71

B-

2.67

64-67

C+

2.33

60-63

C

2.00

55-59

C-

1.67

50-54

D

1.00

0-49

F

0.00

 

Assignments

Your work during the semester will be divided into two categories: (i) ungraded, and (ii) graded. Upper-level students will be expected to display greater depth and quality in all components of evaluation.

Ungraded work will receive feedback and an estimated mark. Such marks will not count towards your semester grade, but failure to complete the work will have an indirect negative effect on your final grade, as explained below. The purpose of ungraded work is to allow you time to develop the skills important to success in the program without your feeling that you are falling behind with every non-perfect performance. The more effort you put into your ungraded work, of course, the more successful you will be on your graded work. Ungraded work will consist in writing a first draft of each of the two essays.

Note : Failure to attend seminars, or attend or view lectures will naturally affect your participation grade; failure to write drafts of the two essays and pass them through the rewrite process will mean that your seminar leader will not be required to give feedback on the second draft.

Graded work will count towards your semester grade, and will consist of the following: 

Seminar Participation 

25%

Seminar Notes

10%

Essay #1

20%

Essay #2

20%

Op-ed (editorial assignment)

10%

Final Exam

15%

Details on both graded and ungraded work requirements follow in the sections below.

Ungraded Work

Essay Drafts: Each of the two essays will focus closely upon one of the readings to be discussed in the seminar. There is a procedure to follow:

* Select material to write on: At the first or second seminar, choose two of the weekly readings on which you would like to write. You are required to choose one reading assigned for a seminar before the mid-term Study Week, and one assigned for a seminar after it.

* Choose a question: These will be provided before the essay is due.

* First draft: Write the essay and hand it in at the Thursday (Duncan, Powell River, Nanaimo evening) or Tuesday (Nanaimo daytime and Courtenay evening) seminar during the week following that in which the reading you are writing about is discussed. Your seminar-leader will return it to you with comments and a provisional mark, normally a week later.

For LBST 210 students, these essays should be approximately 1000 words long. For LBST 310 students, these essays should be 1250-1500 words long; they are not to be research papers but thoughtful responses to particular topics in the core reading. The essay must consist of a convincing argument for a thesis that captures a valid and well-supported point of view and constitutes an answer to the question selected. No outside reading is required before you write the essay.

Graded Work

Seminar Notes: At the start of the first seminar of the week (or for Courtenay, the Tuesday evening seminar, and for Duncan, Powell River, and Nanaimo evening students, the Thursday evening seminar), you must hand in some notes (200-300 words) on the text (or one of the texts) under discussion for that week. If you attend the lectures in person, your notes should have a single focus solely on the texts we are discussing from week to week. If, however, you watch the lectures online , your note in any given week should have two parts: one on the text under discussion, and one a response to the lecture on that text. The main purposes of these seminar notes is to encourage students to engage in critical reflection on the text under discussion, to have at least one thoughtful contribution to offer to the seminar, and, in the case of students who watch the lectures online, to have a means by which to "participate" in the lecture component of the course.

Although it must be written in complete sentences, the note is not an essay; it need not have a thesis statement, conventionally designed paragraphs, and so on. The notes must be typed on 8 ½ x 11 paper and double spaced. Unlike polished essays, seminar notes can be speculative and can take intellectual risks. The best seminar notes focus on a single aspect of a work rather than making generalizations about its entirety. Choose a feature that engages or puzzles you, and explore its possibilities.

However, there are some important guidelines to follow: a) your note should ask a question about some significant point with respect to the text, a question that takes one into the text rather than away from it, and that addresses interpretative issues rather than matters of fact or context that cannot be answered solely by reading the text; b) you should avoid making a list of many points, and stay firmly focused on one; c) you should avoid a mere summary or description of the text; and d) you shouldn't make each note simply a personal response to the text (e.g., an indication of whether you liked or didn't like the work). In marking the notes, which in all are worth 10% of your grade for the course, the instructors will be looking for evidence of engagement with the text, as well as attentive reading and thoughtful consideration. You may find, also, that your note can suggest an interesting topic for the rest of the class to explore in seminar discussion.

You do not have to hand in any seminar notes during those weeks when you are preparing to hand in an essay on the work under discussion in the seminars. However, you may at your discretion write seminar notes for these weeks, in which case your mark will be based on the best nine notes submitted.

Each note will be given a pass or fail grade and returned to the student. Only notes with passing grades will count toward the 10% final seminar note grade. Be aware, as well, that you will receive a passing seminar note grade (that is, 5% or more) only if you hand in at least nine seminar notes during the term, regardless of whether the notes you do hand in have individual passing grades.

 

Seminar Participation: Participation is a critical part of this program, and the skills of intellectual discussion are among the most important it endeavours to foster. Some of the criteria for good performance in a seminar are explained in the document Advice on Seminar Participation ; this should be read before the first seminar. Some important aspects of your seminar participation are the quality and quantity of your contributions to discussion, your helpfulness to others in maintaining a successful conversation within the seminar, and your ability to listen as well as to talk.

The seminar experience is absolutely central to what Liberal Studies is trying to achieve, and we are very concerned to see that students all contribute effectively, especially those who may still find themselves somewhat reluctant to speak up in a group discussion. Any student who continues to find this a problem after the first few weeks should discuss the matter thoroughly with the seminar leader, so that together they can work out some ways of resolving the difficulties. To help you become a good seminar participant you may be asked to complete a short self-evaluation approximately halfway through the course.

The following scale gives a guide to the factors the seminar leader will consider in evaluating seminar participation, as well as a rough picture of their impact on your mark:

•  F: is physically absent without a valid reason;

•  D: has written a seminar note and is physically present, but otherwise quite absent;

•  C-: provides some potentially useful participation, but is very poorly prepared or insensitive or uncooperative in the group setting;

•  C: is present, evidently prepared and interested, but offers quite limited verbal contributions to the discussion;

•  C+ to B-: is present, well prepared, and offers some useful comments (which might be more incisive or more relevant or further developed);

•  B to B+: is present, very well prepared, maintains a good relationship with the others (i.e., contributes actively to the dynamics of the seminar), and offers useful comments in a constructive way;

•  A range: makes a major contribution and not just to the understanding of the material but to the social dynamics of the session, a contribution which would be difficult to imagine being any better.

Two Essays (Second Drafts): One week after you receive a provisional grade on an essay (see "ungraded work" above), you will hand in the final draft, along with your provisionally marked first draft . The second draft of your essay will then be given the final mark for the assignment, which will be a grade for the final draft only (that is, not an average of the two grades). You will engage in this process twice in the semester (again, see "ungraded work" above).

Op-Ed (editorial assignment) : One of the purposes of the Liberal Studies program is to develop critical thinking, which we define as thinking creatively and analytically, addressing complex issues precisely and cogently, and speaking and writing clearly and effectively. Liberal Studies also situates you in a conversation about the perennial questions for human beings, a conversation that is pitched at a high level, avoids superficial generalizations, and is enriched by the thoughts of intelligent people from the past and the present. In this exercise, you will bring these elements together by addressing a contemporary topic in the form of a well-crafted persuasive argument similar to what might appear in an editorial in a serious newspaper.

It's a good idea to read several op-eds from different newspapers in order to get a sense of the style used. Op-eds are signed opinion pieces, written usually by staff columnists but sometimes by guest columnists, that normally appear on the page opposite to the unsigned commentary written by the paper's editor. You should look at several op-ed pieces at least a few weeks before beginning to write your own op-ed.

Your article should present a cogent, concise, balanced, and insightful argument in no more than 750 words; to deliver a persuasive argument in so few words, it will need to be tightly focused and precise. Write as though you were submitting it to a national newspaper for publication (maybe you will).

The best editorialists approach their subject with a good, general knowledge (a Liberal Studies education!). Your piece must connect to the themes and ideas discussed in Liberal Studies 310/210, or to a work we have studied, as a way of anchoring your discussion; however, your article must appeal to a wide audience composed of many who are not familiar with the works and authors we have studied.

Final Exam : This examination will occur after classes are finished. Students will have the opportunity to answer questions that assume a careful reading of all course materials and close attention to lectures.

General Writing Requirements

Word-Processing: All written work should be typed or printed at font size 12, double spaced on standard paper (8.5" x 11"). For essays, the first page should clearly identify the writer, course, instructor name, assignment title, question answered (if applicable), and date submitted.

Plagiarism: You should be familiar with the policy on academic misconduct outlined in the Vancouver Island University Calendar and take care to avoid such practices. Plagiarism consists in passing off the work or ideas of others as your own. It ranges from word-for-word copying from other sources to summarizing their content in one's own words, when this is done without acknowledgement. When you do borrow from other people, you must indicate the source to the fullest extent possible. Otherwise, you will incur severe penalties for intellectual dishonesty: a plagiarized paper will normally receive a mark of zero, and the student will not have an opportunity to make up the assignment. A report of the offense will be filed with the Dean and placed on the student's permanent academic file. A second occurrence will result in a mark of F for the course, and further disciplinary action may be taken by the VIU authorities.

Inclusive Language: Wherever appropriate, students should follow good contemporary practice and use language free of gender and other biases in their writing and speech. Such language is always more accurate than its biased counterparts, and moreover shows respect and consideration for others, a vital part of the collective work that Liberal Studies aims to achieve.

Photocopying: You should always retain a photocopy of any written assignment you hand in. This will insure against loss and enable you to ask for a mark review if this is necessary. Photocopy services are available in the library.

Schedule of Topics (Courtenay students, please use the second table)

Week of (Tues)

Tuesday Lecture (Lecturer's name is given in brackets)

Seminar

Sep 3

Orientation; Welcome to LBST 310/210

Orientation

Sep 10

Genesis & Job (Okun and Livingstone)

Genesis/Job

Sep 17

Homer: Odyssey (Okun)

Odyssey

Sep 24

Thucydides (see selections, above) (Livingstone)

Thucydides 

Oct 1

Sophocles, "Oedipus the King," and "Antigone" (Okun)

Sophocles

Oct 8

Aristophanes, The Clouds /Sappho (Livingstone/Okun)

Aristophanes/Sappho

Oct 15

STUDY WEEK (no LBST classes. Note: all other VIU classes are in session)

STUDY WEEK

Oct 22

Plato: Republic (books 1-3) (Livingstone)

Republic

Oct 29

Plato: Republic (books 4-6) (Livingstone)

Republic

Nov 5

Plato: Republic (books 7-10) (TBA)

Republic

Nov 12

Aristotle: Nicomachean Ethics (Livingstone/TBA)

Ethics

Nov 19

Boethius: Consolation of Philosophy (Okun)

Boethius

Nov 26

Greek Art and Architecture (Livingstone)

Greek Art and Architecture

Class Schedule for Courtenay

Week of (Tues)

Tuesday Lecture (Lecturer's name is given in brackets)

Seminar

Sep 3

Orientation; Welcome to LBST 310/210

Orientation, Psalm 23

Sep 10

Genesis & Job (Okun and Livingstone)

Greek Art and Architecture

Sep 17

Homer: Odyssey (Okun)

Genesis/Job

Sep 24

Thucydides (see selections, above) (Livingstone)

Odyssey

Oct 1

Sophocles, "Oedipus the King," and "Antigone" (Okun)

Thucydides

Oct 8

Aristophanes, The Clouds /Sappho (Livingstone/Okun)

Sophocles

Oct 15

STUDY WEEK (no LBST classes. Note: all other VIU classes are in session)

STUDY WEEK

Oct 22

Plato: Republic (books 1-3) (Livingstone)

Aristophanes/Sappho

Oct 29

Plato: Republic (books 4-6) (Livingstone)

Republic

Nov 5

Plato: Republic (books 7-10) (TBA)

Republic

Nov 12

Aristotle: Nicomachean Ethics (Livingstone/TBA)

Republic

Nov 19

Boethius: Consolation of Philosophy (Okun)

Ethics

Nov 26

Greek Art and Architecture (Livingstone)

Boethius

 

 

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