Hist 115. XXX: Love, Sex, and Marriage in Pre-Modern Civilizations Cara Delay The College of Charleston Course Description and Goals



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HIST 115.xxx:

Love, Sex, and Marriage in Pre-Modern Civilizations
Cara Delay

The College of Charleston
Course Description and Goals
This general education course examines the history of love, sex, and marriage from the first civilizations to approximately 1600 in Europe and the Mediterranean. Students will study how and why ideas about love and sex interacted with the political, economic, social, intellectual, and cultural developments that have shaped the history of civilization. We will explore issues such as the connections between religion and sexuality, the changing meanings of “love,” gender and the formation of state systems, the role of marriage and the family, “deviant” sexualities, and the relationship between gender, sexuality, and the law. Throughout the semester, we will read a variety of works, with a particular focus on primary-source documents. We will also hone our skills in critical reading, writing, and analysis. In this general education course, you will:

* develop knowledge of the history of human civilizations, societies, and cultures and an awareness of the historical experience through the study of political, social, cultural, and intellectual aspects.

* cover substantial historical developments and periods, rather than only specific episodes.

* learn how to situate primary historical records in their contexts and use these sources to construct historical arguments.

* learn to critically appreciate earlier eras of the human past so as to gain a greater understanding of the contemporary world.

Assignments and Grading

Assignment Percentage of Final Grade

Reading Analyses (total of 3) 10% each = 30%

Midterm Examination 15%

Research Assignment 20%

Cumulative Final Examination 20%

Attendance and Participation 15%


All essays and assignments must be handed in at the beginning of class on the assigned due date. I may not accept late submissions; if I do, late essays and assignments will be marked down one full letter grade per day late. Essays or assignments handed in more than a few minutes after the start of the class period will be considered one day late. Missed exams and quizzes and assignments not handed in will receive a grade of zero or F. Any student who does not complete ALL required assignments, essays, and exams may fail the course.
Attendance

Given the nature of this course, it will be impossible for you to do well if you do not come to class. I expect all students to attend all classes, to arrive on time, and to turn off all electronic devices when they enter the classroom. If you do miss class, you are responsible for contacting me about missed work, announcements, or handouts; for turning in any missed assignments; and for getting notes from another classmate. You may miss 4 classes (unexcused/undocumented) without penalty; if you miss more than that, you will fail the attendance/participation portion of the final grade.
Readings and Class Participation

Students must complete readings in a timely fashion to make possible full participation in class discussions and exercises. Make sure that you analyze all readings carefully and critically by the beginning of the class period for which they are assigned. Come to class with notes on the readings and be prepared to both answer and ask questions about the readings. Participation grades will be calculated based on both the frequency of your contributions in class and, more importantly, the quality of your comments. In particular, I am looking for evidence that you have completed the readings and that you are connecting them to the themes we have discussed in class. When I calculate final attendance and participation grades, I use the following general guidelines:

A = student has attended almost every class, participates regularly, demonstrates knowledge of readings, makes thoughtful and insightful comments, and asks relevant questions.

B = student has attended almost every class and participates regularly. Comments and questions are relevant but could be more thoughtful; student could engage more deeply with the readings or course materials.

C = student has attended almost every class but does not participate regularly.

D = student demonstrates spotty attendance and rarely participates.

F = student has attendance problems and does not contribute to class discussions in any meaningful way.

Classroom Conduct

The College’s Classroom Code of Conduct is available at www.cofc.edu/studentaffairs/general_info/honor_system/classroom_disruption.html. Please note that conduct in class constitutes part of your attendance and participation grade; repeated or excessive disruptions may result in further penalties. Do not talk with classmates, allow cell phones to ring, or email/text in class.


Academic Dishonesty

Academic dishonesty of any form will not be tolerated in this course.

Lying, cheating, attempted cheating, and plagiarism are violations of our Honor Code that, when identified, are investigated. Each incident will be examined to determine the degree of deception involved. Cases of suspected academic dishonesty will be reported directly by the instructor and/or others having knowledge of the incident to the Dean of Students. A student found responsible by the Honor Board for academic dishonesty will receive a XF in the course, indicating failure of the course due to academic dishonesty. This grade will appear on the student’s transcript for two years after which the student may petition for the X to be expunged. The student may also be placed on disciplinary probation, suspended (temporary removal) or expelled (permanent removal) from the College by the Honor Board. Students should be aware that unauthorized collaboration--working together without permission-- is a form of cheating. Unless the instructor specifies that students can work together on an assignment, quiz and/or test, no collaboration during the completion of the assignment is permitted. Other forms of cheating include possessing or using an unauthorized study aid (which could include accessing information stored on a cell phone), copying from others’ exams, fabricating data, and giving unauthorized assistance. Research conducted and/or papers written for other classes cannot be used in whole or in part for any assignment in this class without obtaining prior permission from the instructor.

Students can find the complete Honor Code and all related processes in the Student Handbook at http://www.cofc.edu/studentaffairs/general_info/studenthandbook.html. If you have any questions about what constitutes academic dishonesty, please ask me.

You are not permitted to access any online sources when you are writing your reading analyses unless you have received my permission to do so.
Special Accommodations

The College will make reasonable accommodations for persons with documented disabilities. Students should apply at the Center for Disability Services/SNAP located on the first floor of the Lightsey Center, Suite 104. Students approved for accommodations are responsible for notifying me as soon as possible and for contacting me one week before accommodation is needed. Contact the Center of Disability Services at 953-1431 with any questions.


Getting in Touch With Me

The easiest way to get in touch with me is by email (delayc@cofc.edu), but please note that, during the week, it may take me up to 24 hours to return your email. On weekends, I check email more infrequently and may not get back to you until Monday. When you email me, you must use your CofC account, not a personal email account. You are welcome to try and reach me by phone, but I check my voicemail less frequently. I keep at least four office hours per week; please feel free to stop by during office hours or make an appointment to see me at other times. I am happy to meet and talk with you about how you're doing in the course or to discuss themes or issues that come up in the course.


Required Books (available for purchase at the bookstore)

Note: the bookstore will send back unpurchased books around the middle of the term, so be sure to buy your books early in the semester. It is your responsibility to procure a copy of each book before you need to read it. If you purchase books from a source other than CofC's book store, make sure that you have the correct edition.




  1. Stephanie Coontz, Marriage, A History: How Love Conquered Marriage

  2. Lisa Di Caprio and Merry Wiesner, eds., Lives and Voices: Sources in European Women’s History

  3. The Letters of Abelard and Heloise

  4. Steven Ozment, Magdalena and Balthasar: An Intimate Portrait of Life in 16-c Europe Revealed in the Letters of a Nuremberg Husband and Wife


Course Schedule and Assignments (subject to change)
Week One: The Study of Love, Sex, and Marriage in History

Read and be prepared to discuss in class:



  • Coontz, Marriage, A History: How Love Conquered Marriage, introduction and chapters 1-5

Week Two: The First Civilizations

Read and be prepared to discuss in class:


  • Primary sources in Lives and Voices: Sources in European Women’s History, chapter 1: Enuma Elish, Genesis, Akkadian Rituals for Childbirth

Week Three: The First Civilizations, cont.

Read and be prepared to discuss in class:


  • Primary sources in Lives and Voices: Sources in European Women’s History, chapter 1: Hammurabi’s Code, Israelite Laws

Week Four: Greece: Marriage and Love

Read and be prepared to discuss in class:


  • Primary sources in Lives and Voices: Sources in European Women’s History, chapter 2: Plato, Aristotle, Xenophon, Sappho

Week Five: Greece: Sex and the Body

Read and be prepared to discuss in class:


  • Primary sources in Lives and Voices: Sources in European Women’s History, chapter 2: Plato, Hippocrates, Galen

Week Six: Rome: Marriage and Parenthood

Read and be prepared to discuss in class:


  • Turia Inscription (handout)

  • “The World of Family” and “The World of Marriage” at Online Companion to the Worlds of Roman Women by Ann Raia and Judith Sebest (URLs below). Scroll down on each page to the Images section and look at all of the images. http://www.cnr.edu/home/sas/araia/family.html http://www.cnr.edu/home/sas/araia/marriage.html

Week Seven: Rome: Love and Sex

Read and be prepared to discuss in class:


  • Primary sources in Lives and Voices: Sources in European Women’s History, chapter 3: The Twelve Tables, Justinian, Funerary Inscriptions

Week Eight: Christianity

Read and be prepared to discuss in class:


  • Primary sources in Lives and Voices: Sources in European Women’s History, chapter 3: New Testament, Gospel of Mary Magdalen

Week Nine: Medieval Courtship and Marriage

Read and be prepared to discuss in class:


  • The Letters of Abelard and Heloise, selections

  • Michael S. Berger, “Two Models of Medieval Marriage: A Preliminary Study” in Marriage, Sex, and Family in Judaism

  • E. Jane Burns, “Courtly Love, Who Needs It? Recent Feminist Work in the Medieval French Tradition,” Signs 27, no. 1 (Autumn, 2001), 23-57.

Week Ten: Marriage and the Household Economy

Read and be prepared to discuss in class:


  • Primary sources in Lives and Voices: Sources in European Women’s History, chapter 4: Sumptuary Laws and Manuscript Illuminations

Week Eleven: Same-Sex Relationships in the Renaissance

Read and be prepared to discuss in class:


  • Michael Rocke, Forbidden Friendships: Homosexuality in Renaissance Venice, selections

  • Aphra Behn, “To the Fair Clarinda”

Week Twelve: Early Modern Families

Read and be prepared to discuss in class:


  • Steven Ozment, Magdalena and Balthasar

  • Film: The Return of Martin Guerre

Week Thirteen: The State and the Body

Read and be prepared to discuss in class:


  • Primary sources in Lives and Voices: Sources in European Women’s History, chapter 6: Brothel Regulations, New Laws

  • Merry Wiesner, Women and Gender in Early Modern Europe, chapters 4 and 5

Week Fourteen: Conclusions



Read and be prepared to discuss in class:

  • Stephanie Coontz, Marriage, A History: How Love Conquered Marriage, chapters 5-7 and 17









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