CIV/WMST 315 Oral Report and Research Paper Guide

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Click HERE for the Writing Center's guide to citing sources.
Lastly, click HERE for a page listing links to useful Web sites, HERE for a link to the Diotima Website and HERE is a direc t link to the Perseus Website. 


Contents of this page:

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ORAL REPORTS:  The last four weeks of class will be crafted around ca. 10-minute (absolute maximum: 15 minutes) oral presentations that each student will be giving. The oral presentations will be on such topics as a major work of literature, a critique of modern scholarship, or an examination of some facet of the topic of women and gender in antiquity that we do not cover in depth in class otherwise. Each report will require a substantial amount of reading (ca 150-200 pages at a minimum) and since this is a major part (20%) of your grade for the class, careful preparation for the report will be expected.

In addition to your own report you will be asked to prepare two "shadow reports": you will do some of the reading for two of your classmates' reports, comment on the reports in class, and write 2-page critiques of each one to hand in. Your oral and written performance on these shadow reports will account for 5 of the 20% t hat the Oral Report component of your grade is worth.

Even when you are not reporting or doing a shadow report, you should pay attention and take notes while your classmates are reporting.  At the end of the semester, I will ask you to give me a list of five of the other topics your classmates gave reports on, at least one from each of the 4 weeks devoted to oral reports. On the final exam you will be asked to write brief essays on two of those topics. Extra Credit, up to 10 points on your oral report grade, will be granted to those students whose oral reports are chosen most frequently by their classmates for their list of potential exam topics (this is incentive for you to choose an interesting topic and delive r a stimulating report).

Your oral report topic must be approved by me in advance by Tuesday, MARCH 13 (First Tuesday after Spring Break).  You must choose your two shadow report topics by Tuesday, MARCH 20 (one week later).  Sh adow topics will be assigned (two per report) on a first-come, first-served basis.

LIST OF POTENTIAL TOPICS (for both oral reports and term papers):  The reports will be scheduled in a way that makes good thematic sense.  For this reason, the topics below are grouped under specific days.  This is just an approximation, however, intended to give you a general sense of when you would be giving a report if you choose a particular topic.  THE ACTUAL SCHE DULE OF REPORTS WILL BE DIFFERENT.

Also, this is not an exhaustive list.  From time to time I'll add to the list as ideas come to me, and you are welcome to come up with your own topic in consultation with me.  Some of the topics liste d here are quite specific, others are more general areas within which you and I can discuss a good focus for your report.  If you are intrigued by any of these topics and want to know more, please ask me.  More than anything else this list is of fered as a starting-point for discussion.

Apl 4 Theory and Non-Greco-Roman Topics
The Theories of Michel Foucault (as applied to antiquity)
The Theories of Jacques Lacan (as applied to antiquity)
Gender and Sexual Orientation in antiquity
écriture feminine in antiquity
Women in Ancient Egypt
Women in the Ancient Near East
Women in Ancient China
Women in Ancient India
Women in the Bible
Gender in Archaeology
Anthropological approaches: Cor relations between kinship, marriage and property systems
The Great Goddess
Matriarchy or Matrifocality in Antiquity
Amazons: Fact or Fiction?
Woolworking and weaving in antiquity

Apl 6: Topics in Greek Society:
Women in Bronz e Age Greece and/or Minoan Crete
Legal Rights of Women in Athens
Women in Greek Art
The Parthenon Frieze: Religious procession or heroic virgin sacrifice?
Greek houses and women's space
Critique: The Glory of Hera by Philip Slater.
Critique: The Chidren of Athena by Nicole Loraux
Critique: The Reign of the Phallus by Eva Keuhls
Women as priestesses and worshippers in Greek Religion
Hellenistic Queens (Olympias, Berenike, Arsinoe, etc.) < br> 

Apl 11 Topics in Greek Literature
Women in Apolloniusí Argonautika,
Women in Antigone of Sophocles
Women in Herodotusí Histories
The Sacrifice of Iphigeneia (various versions)
Electra in the pla ys of Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides
Helen in various works (Homer, tragedy, etc.)
Women in any number of tragedies we didn't read for class
Women in the plays of Menander
Sappho: something we haven't done to death about her
Greek female poets besides Sappho.
Critique: Tragic Ways of Killing a Woman by Nicole Loraux.

Apl 13: Topics in Greco-Roman Philosophy, Science and Medicine
Critique: Women's Bodies in Ancient Greek Science by Leslie Dean-Jones < br>Women as midwives and care-givers
Childbirth, contraception, abortion
Women in the Hippocratic Corpus
Soranus' Gynecology
Women according to Plato
Women according to Aristotle
Women according to the Stoics

< b>Apl 18: Topics in Roman Society
Livia Drusilla, wife of Augustus
Agrippina Minor, mother of Nero
Later Roman imperial women
Critique: Fathers and Daughters by Judith Hallett
Critique: War, Women and Children in Ancient Rome by J.K Evans
Boudiccaís revolt (British queen rebels against Roman rule)
Augustus' Marriage Legislation
Prostitution in ancient Rome
Women in the entertainment professions
Women in witchcraft and magic
Women as priestesses and wo rshippers in Roman religion
The cults of Isis or Cybele
Critique: The Roman Goddess Ceres by Barbette Spaeth

Apl 20 Topics in Roman Literature
Women in Ovidís Metamorphoses;
Women in Livyís History of Rome;
Women in Ro man Satire
Women in Roman Comedy
Women in the Tragedies of Seneca
Women in Roman love poetry (that we don't cover extensively in class)

 Apl 25 Comparative Studies: Greek, Roman and otherwise.
Make the reading you did for En glish (etc.) class do double duty.
Discuss the gender issues in a modern re-working of an ancient tale (e.g. Racine's
Phédre (Phaedra & Hippolytus); O'Neill's Desire Under the Elms or Mourning
Becomes Electra ; Anouilh's Antigone; James Joyce's Ulysses; Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra.

Or compare ancient Greek and/or Roman society with the tradition of Purdah in India or
to women in modern Islamic societies.

Some of the to pics listed under April 4 would also go well here.

Apl 27 Topics in Late Antiquity and Early Christianity
Hypatia of Alexandria (woman philosopher)
Egeria the pilgrim & her intrepid voyage to the Holy Land in the 4th c CE< br>Women in Gnostic Christianity
Women and St. Paul
Late Roman Empresses and Princesses (Theodora, Helena, Anna Comnena)

RESEARCH PAPER: A 2000-3000 word (7-10 pp.) paper that reflects inde pendent research into ancient sources and modern scholarship. Topics must be approved by me by April 4, and your topic may be related to your oral report topic (but do note that separate approval is required for the oral report and the term paper, and that not all oral report topics will make an acceptible term paper topic). You must hand in a tentative list of sources and an outline or rough draf t by April 20 (worth 10% of your grade). The final due date for the paper is May 8.  To ea rn a passing grade your paper must make reference (in the form of citations and/or quotations) to at least two ancient sources that we were not assigned to read in class, and at least three works of modern scholarship (post-1925).  T he more sources of both sorts that you are able to refer to, the better your chances of getting a really good grade.

What were those dates again?

April 4: Deadline for getting your topic approved
April 20: Deadline for ten tative outline/draft and list of sources
May 8: Final due date for the paper (NOTE that this is also the day of the final exam, so plan accordingly).

Paper Guidelines. Click on the links to go to a particul ar section:



Using Internet Sources

Guidelines for Citations

REQ UIREMENTS (in addition to ones already stated):

1. Papers should be typewritten or word-processed, and in either case DOUBLE SPACED. Any problems with legibility will diminish your grade.

2. Any words, thoughts or ideas you put in your pa per that are not original to you must be properly credited. Modern scholarship which you consult (including Internet sources) must be cited in footnotes, endnotes or in-text citations , and specific references to ancient sources must be given. P apers with insufficient citations and references will not receive a passing grade. Note the guidelines given below for citations and, more particularly, the guidelines for citing ancient sources (click HERE to go there).

SUGGESTIONS which may help you get the grade you want:

1. Read and cite ancient sources. Do not cite a modern author if he or she does nothing but repeat what a previous author says. Go back to the source.

2. With few exceptions, citing a general encyclopedia (even the Encylopedia Britannica) is usually a sign of an insufficiently researched paper. You may begin your research by reading an encyclopedia article, but don't let it end there. Similarly, m ost b ooks that have the word "Handbook" or "Dictionary" in the title should be used for quick reference and further bibliography; they should not be used as major sources of information for a university-level paper.

3. Avoid relying for information on works about the ancient world that do not specify and cite the ancient sources on which its assertions are based. Such works tend to be superficial and unreliable.

4. Avoid citing something a professor (yes, even me) says in a class lecture. If you think so mething a professor says might be useful, talk to the professor to get tips on published sources.

5. Proofread your paper before handing it in. Frequent mistakes in spelling or grammar will result in a lower grade.

6. Avoid Quo tationese. Here is a particularly bad example of Quotationese:

The Parthenon was "the cornerstone of Pericles' building programme" (Johnson, 23), which made Athens "the architectural and artistic epicentre of the Greek world" (Smith , 105) and was "certainly one of Pericles' greatest acheivements" (Ehrenberg , 181) . The only circumstance in which extended direct quotations from modern authors are desirable is when you wish to take issue with, or call attention to, the p articular words or ideas that an author expresses. Otherwise, put it in your own words.
7. Make sparing use of the passive voice. The following sentences illustrate the difference between the active and passive voices of verbs: active voice: The dog ate my homework.

passive voice: My homework was eaten.

The passive voice is a weak, weasely way of expressing yourself, and it is usually used to absolve someone of respo nsibility (as the dog in the second sentence) or to avoid responsibility yourself. You might for instance try to avoid the resear ch necessary to find out who defeated the Romans at Carrhae in 53 B.C. by writing "In 53 B.C. the Romans were defeated at Carrhae." This will impress no one.


There's a lot of very useful and beneficial information available on the World Wide Web. It is a particularly good place f or finding maps, illustrations translations of ancient texts, etc. When it comes to modern scholarship, however, you ha ve to be cautious. There is some good stuff out there, but unfortunately there's also a lot of material you should never be caught dead using in your paper, such as high school term papers, government and tourist-office propoganda, and your crazy uncle Al bert's theories on the pyramids. In general, you can use the same criterion for web material that you use for old food in your refrige rator: when in doubt, throw it out. More specifically, do not use or cite material on the web unless:

You can identify it as the work of a competent professional scholar and

It includes specific references to ancient and modern source s

If you have questions about the reliability of a particular item you find on the Web, consult me.

You can find a number of recommended Websites (where the ratio of useful material to BS will be relatively high) through the "Sites for studying the Ancient World" link on the course home page. Two sites that has a huge amount o f reliable material of all sorts are the Diotima website and the Perseus web si te, links to which are given at the top of this page.  Another good place to look is the Argos search engine (link on the "Sites for studying the Ancient World" page), which limits its searches to sites where the quality control is high. Ev en for these sites, however, you must exercise critical judgment on deciding what to use for your paper.  Remember "when in doubt, throw it out" and see me if there are any questions about whether a site is appropriate or not.

Other lis ts of pre-screened Websites can be found on the following resource page from Swem Library: To learn how to cite Web sites properly in your paper, visit this site:


Citations may take the form of footnotes, endnotes or references in brackets () within the text of your paper. There are many methods of citation in use. You may adopt any method as long as it is consistent and easy to interpret. In general, for moder n works (published after ca. 1700), citations and/or lists of sources should include at least the following information: Authorís name, Title of work, Place of publication, Date of publication, PAGE NUMBER(s). The most popular citation meth od in the huma nties is the MLA (Modern Langague Association) standard. For a description and examples of this standard, go to: T here are special rules for citing ancient works. Most ancient works exist in several editions and translations, and page numbers will vary from one edition to the next. For this reason you should NOT refer to page numbers when citing ancient sources. Inst ead, most editions will preserve ancient numbers for books (= volumes), sections and paragraphs (in prose works) and line numbers (for poetry). It is these numbers you should cite, since these numbers will (theoretically) allow anyone reading your pap er to look up your citiations regardless of whether they have the same translation you used. You should be able to figure out the numbers, which usually occur at the beginnings of paragraphs or run down the margins. Here are what some typical citations fr om various ancient works look like: Only in the rare cases where you have to use a translation that does not preserve the original numbering should you cite the page number, and include the publication information for the edition you are using in your lis t of sources.

Homer, Iliad 1.23. = Homer, Iliad Book 1, line 23.

Plutarch, Pericles 17. = Plutarch, Life of Pericles, section 17.

Aeschylus, Agamemnon 280. = Aeschylus, Agamemnon line 280.

Thucydides 2. 16. = Thucydides, History of the Peloponnesian War, Book 2 Section 16. (When an author, like Thucydides, is known for only one work, you need not put the title of the work)

If you are unsure how to make citations to any ancient work, consult me.