FYSM 1106A – Intersections of Identities in the Ancient Mediterranean
Fall 2022/Winter 2023 [1.0 credit]

Humans live at the intersections of various categories of identity including social class, race, gender, and sexuality. We express these facets of our identities in many different subtle and striking ways. Sometimes, our identities help us to connect better with others. At other times, they set us apart. All across the ancient Mediterranean, individuals and communities found themselves at intersections of identities just like today. Their categories and expressions of identity, however, differed in some ways from our contemporary terms. This is a full-year course in which we will investigate texts and artefacts from ancient Greek city states, Phoenicia, Asia Minor, and the ancient Roman empire. In the Fall semester of this seminar, we focus on ancient Greek city states, Phoenician trade, and diplomacy in Asia Minor. Students are invited to participate in an investigation of theories of intersectionality and identity and to examine these concepts in ancient Greek texts and artefacts including cups from bronze age Greece, Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey, plays by Euripides and Sophocles, Phoenician jewelry, and Greek colonies in Asia Minor. We will address questions such as: how did individuals construct and express identity in the ancient Mediterranean world? To what extent were individual and group identities intertwined? What factors condition how an individual or group might choose to express their identity? How did people living in the ancient world identify and interpret an “other?”