GRC30320 Classics in Popular Culture

Academic Year 2020/2021

This module draws on the theory and practice of reception studies in order to explore the reception and retelling of stories from the Greek and Roman worlds in a contemporary context. We will cover three depictions of the ancient Greek and Roman world in modern popular culture, in three different media:

• one movie, Troy, Warner Brothers 2004.
• one collection of graphic novels, Eric Showalter, Age of Bronze: A Thousand Ships, Image Comics 1998
• and one video game, Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey, Ubisoft 2018. (Students will only be expected to acquire the “Discovery Tour” edition, a stripped-down version of the game that limits itself to depicting 3D recreations of ancient Greek cities and other significant sites and offering guided tours narrated by historians: see https://www.pcgamesn.com/assassins-creed-odyssey/assassins-creed-odyssey-discovery-tour, accessed 8/11/2018.)

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

1. To demonstrate knowledge of modern depictions of classical myth, history and philosophy in contemporary media
2. Through communication and collaboration with colleagues, to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of academic arguments, both their own and others’
3. To analyse the ways in which contemporary biases, political or otherwise, have shaped the ways in which contemporary artists have appropriated material from the ancient Greek and Roman worlds
4. To evaluate the contributions modern appropriations of classical material have made to our understanding of the ancient Greek and Roman worlds

Indicative Module Content:

Lecture 1: Introduction to reception theory.
Lecture 2: Lecture on film criticism
Lecture 3: Lecture on game criticism, including the theory and practice of constructing game narratives
Lecture 4: Lecture on comic narrative style and criticism of the graphic novel

6 tutorial sessions focusing on content of course materials

7 group work sessions

1 peer review session

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours
Specified Learning Activities

24

Autonomous Student Learning

52

Seminar (or Webinar)

24

Total

100

Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
Classes will be taught through a combination of lectures, tutorials, group work, and peer review exercises. The limited class size of 24 means that there will be plenty of opportunities for working in small groups, but there will also be some expectation that the students will assume a certain degree of responsiblity for their own and each others' learning within those sessions. The module co-ordinator will teach all classes on this module. 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.


Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Not applicable to this module.
 
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade
Project: Students will submit a 3000-word paper analysing the significance of any one text studied on the module, on an agreed topic (see "Proposal"). Coursework (End of Trimester) n/a Graded No

50

Assignment: Students will submit a proposed title and short outline plan of an end-of-semester paper. Their proposal and plan will have been peer-reviewed in pairs in a mid-semester session. Week 6 n/a Graded No

20

Presentation: Students will bring a text or artefact of their own choice and present it to the class, explaining and interpreting its significance in line with important interpretive themes. Week 10 or 11. Varies over the Trimester n/a Graded No

30


Carry forward of passed components
Yes
 
Resit In Terminal Exam
Autumn No
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, on an activity or draft prior to summative assessment
• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment
• Peer review activities

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

At the end of week 5 students will receive electronic feedback from the module co-ordinator on their final proposals. This will take the form of one or two further questions that the student ought to consider, questions which will be picked up by the students in the week 8 peer review session, in which students will pair up to read each other’s proposals for the final paper and offer feedback on argument and content. Feedback on the presentations will be delivered individually by email post-session.


Core texts:
• one movie, Troy, Warner Brothers 2004.
• one collection of graphic novels, Eric Showalter, Age of Bronze: A Thousand Ships, Image Comics 1998
• and one video game, Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey, Ubisoft 2018. (Students will only be expected to acquire the “Discovery Tour” edition, a stripped-down version of the game that limits itself to depicting 3D recreations of ancient Greek cities and other significant sites and offering guided tours narrated by historians: see https://www.pcgamesn.com/assassins-creed-odyssey/assassins-creed-odyssey-discovery-tour, accessed 8/11/2018.)


Bakhtin, M.M., The Dialogic Imagination: Four Essays. Tr. C.Emerson & M.Holquist. University of Texas Press 1981.
Beard, M., & J. Henderson, Classics: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford University Press 2000.
Hardwick, L., Reception Studies. Greece & Rome New Surveys in the Classics. Oxford University Press 2003.
Hardwick, L., & C. Stray, A Companion to Classical Receptions. Blackwell 2008.
Kocurek, C.A., “Walter Benjamin on the Video Screen: Storytelling and Game Narratives.” Arts 7.69 (2018). https://doi.org/10.3390/arts7040069.
McCloud, S., Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art.
Pomeroy, A.J., A Companion to Ancient Greece and Rome on Screen. Wiley-Blackwell 2017.
Rockwell, G., “Gore Galore: Literary Theory and Computer Games.” Computers and the Humanities 36 (2002): 345-358.
Winkler, M.M. (ed.), Troy: From Homer’s Iliad to Hollywood Epic. Blackwell 2007.
Name Role
Dr Christopher Farrell Lecturer / Co-Lecturer