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Course Information

Instructor Info:Robert Meagher
Office Extension x5417
TA Info:Colby Colodner
Term: 2013F
Meeting Info: Tuesday Thursday
02:00 PM - 03:20 PM Franklin Patterson Hall (FPH) 106
02:00 PM - 03:20 PM Franklin Patterson Hall (FPH) 106

From Kurukshestra to Khandahar and from Troy to Baghdad, the experience of war has shaped and shattered lives as much in the ancient world as it does in our own and in much the same ways. This course will examine and compare the accounts of war and its wounds-visible and invisible-as well as the forms of healing, reconciliation, and forgiveness that are to be found in epic and dramatic literature, as well as philosophical and religious writings, ancient and modern.

Required Course Texts

Euripides, tr. Robert Meagher, Hekabe, Bolchazy ISBN:0865163308

Homer, tr. Stanley Lombardo, Iliad, Hackett ISBN:0872203522

Robert Meagher, Herakles Gone Mad, Interlink ISBN:1566566355

Jonathan Shay, Achilles in Vietnam, Simon&Schuster ISBN:0684813211

Required texts are available at Amherst Books, 8 Main Street, on Amherst town green. All other readings are available for download on the course website. Procedure for gaining access to films will be explained in class.

Course Objectives:

Attendance and Participation

Students are expected to come to class on time and to attend all scheduled class meetings. If you have to miss a class due to serious illness, religious observance, or family emergency, you should email the instructor and inform him of your absence prior to the missed class. Keep in mind that when you miss a class, it becomes your responsibility to contact your classmates to find out about the announcements and class discussion that you missed. Three absences from class are allowed for medical and other contingencies.  With four absences, for any reason, a student forfeits any right to formal evaluation of his or her work in this course.  In certain instances, however, evaluation may be possible, given exceptional circumstances and additional independent work.  The initiative for such an exception must be made by the student.  A sign-in sheet will be on hand for each class, and it is the student’s responsibility to check off his or her name on that sheet. Students are expected to complete the reading assignments and assigned film viewings before coming to each class and to be ready to take an active role in the discussion. Class participation is an essential element of the course requirements.

Evaluation Criteria:

Weekly Online Reflections/Responses

Each week you must submit one analytical reflection (150-300 words) on the assigned readings or films to the online discussion board as well as two brief responses (50-100 words per response) to the online reflections of your fellow classmates. Your analytical reflection should demonstrate that you have read the assigned readings closely and can articulate intelligently what you understand to be key issues and questions from the assigned readings. Therefore, the reflection should not be a simple summary or paraphrasing of the readings. Fellow classmates’ reactions to your reflection are meant to stimulate your own thoughts about the assigned readings. All writings should be free of spelling and grammatical errors, and should be written in a formal writing style.

The class will be divided into two groups (group A and group B) for this assignment. Group A will upload their Reflections (150-300 words) by Sunday night 10 PM whereas Group B will upload their Reflections by Wednesday noon. As for the brief responses (50-100 words per response) to the reflection of your fellow classmates, Group B will upload two Responses by Monday night 10 PM while Group A will submit their Responses by Wednesday night 10 PM. Full participation in this process is a crucial component for successful completion of our class.

Two Research Papers

You will be asked to write two short research papers (5-6 pages) for this class.  The first paper should focus on a topic appropriate to the first half of the semester, while the second should focus on a topic appropriate to the latter half of the semester. The first essay will be due in class on October 22 and the second essay will be due in class on December 10. These are to be research papers, which means that they must incorporate research beyond the required class readings and films.

Final Portfolio

Students should maintain their own portfolio keeping all work done for this course. This portfolio should contain 1) your self-evaluation; 2) printed selections from your online Reflections and Responses (five Reflections and five Responses);  3) your first research essay with the instructor’s comments, and 4) your second research essay. Your complete portfolio is due at our last class on December 10.

Additional Info:

Policy on Cell Phones and Laptop Computers

As a courtesy to your instructors and classmates, please turn off your cell phone for the duration of the class. If your phone rings, you have to bring cookies for everyone to share in the next class. Laptops are not permitted in class without formal arrangement with the instructor and the Office of Disabilities Services.


If any member of this class has a diagnosed disability, please notify the instructor at the beginning of the term so that special assistance or accommodations might be arranged for full participation in and completion of this course.