Using Technology to Deepen Democracy, Using Democracy to Ensure Technology Benefits Us All

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Syllabus for My "Patriarchal Philosophistry" Summer Intensive at Berkeley

Rhet 103A: Approaches and Paradigms in the History of Rhetorical Theory:
Patriarchal Philosophistry

Course Description

Rhetoric was conceived in antiquity as the art of speaking well. But the act of speaking in public was always also a doing of deeds, and even well done it could do you in -- whether one was declaiming in the assemblies and courts of the radical (and radically exclusive) democracies and anti-democracies of the Greek city-states, or drawing up ideal Republics in dreamy discourses among scholars, or engaging in the rough and tumble of state-craft and electioneering in the all too real and corrupt Republic of Rome, or circulating satires among sardonic snickers in the shadow of Emperors. In Plato, Aristotle, Cicero, Quintilian engagements with and through rhetoric delineated critical, deliberative, civic, pedagogical visions of human agencies fraught with inhumanity.

The societies of Greek, Roman, and Christian antiquity were conspicuously patriarchal, they were societies in which Homeric heroes made history and conquered death with great words and deeds in an aspirational fantasy of masculine agency; they were horrific rape cultures in which women were conceived as beasts, slaves and dutiful wives, a patriarchy finding perhaps its quintessential expression in the Roman paterfamilias, the authoritarian male head of the household who held the power of life and death over his children, female relatives, and household slaves. But in philosophy and in poetry, in Greek tragedies and in Roman comedies we find glimpses of a considerably richer and more complicated world of gendered relations, erotic imaginations, and human possibilities, we encounter profound anxieties, ambivalences, and resistances to patriarchal practices and prejudices.

Although we will be reading texts in which philosophy declares its opposition to rhetoric's opportunism and deceit, we will read them as rhetorical skirmishes in the politics of truth-telling. Although we will read discourses on civic deliberation, we will read them as anxious testaments to ubiquitous corruption and violence. Although we will be reading orations aspiring to a world of Heroes and of Men, we will read them as brutal reflections on a world in which many were not heroes and many were not men. We will be reading works by Aristophanes, Aristotle, Augustine, Marcus and Quintus Cicero, Euripides, Gorgias, Homer, Juvenal, Libanus, Petronius, Plato, Quintilian, Sappho, Seneca, Suetonius, Terence, and Thucydides. All of the readings will be available either online or in a course reader.

Rhet 103A: Patriarchal Convention and Conviction in Classical Antiquity
Summer 2015

Instructor: Dale Carrico,,
Course Blog:
Session A, May 26-July 2, 2015, TWR 4-6.30pm, 160 Dwinelle

Participation/Attendance/In-Class Activities, 10%; Reading Notebook, 30%; Precis 1, 2-3pp., 15%; Precis 2, 2-3pp., 15%; Final Paper, 5-6pp., 30%. (Rough Basis for Final Grade, subject to contingencies)

Provisional Schedule of Meetings

Week One

May 26 –- Introduction, and a selection of poems by Sappho
May 27 –- Homer, Books I, II, IX, and XXIV from the Iliad, Gorgias, "Encomium of Helen"
May 28 –- Thucydides, Books I and II and The Melian Dialogue from the History of the Peloponnesian War, Plato Menexenus

Week Two

June 2 –- Euripides, Hecuba, Plato, Protagorus
June 3 –- Plato, Apology, and also Book V and Book VII from Republic
June 4 –- Aristophanes, Wasps; Plato, Symposium

Week Three

June 9 -- Plato, Gorgias, Phaedrus
June 10 –- Aristotle, Rhetoric, Book I and Book II and from Topics
June 11 –- Aristotle, Rhetoric, Book III and from Poetics

Week Four

June 16 –- Marcus Tullius Cicero, Against Verres, Against Cataline, Against Antony -- First Essay Due (5-6pp.)
June 17 –- Marcus Tullius Cicero, On the Ideal Orator
June 18 –- Terence, Eunuchus; Quintus Tullius Cicero, Commentariolum Petitionis

Week Five

June 23 –- Juvenal, Satires
June 24 -- Quintillian, from Institutio Oratoria: Book I -- Preface, Chapters 1-3; Book III -- Chapters 1-5; Book VI -- Chapter 1; Book VII -- Chapters 8-10; Book VIII -- Chapter 1-3, and also Chapter 6; Book IX -- Chapter 1; Book XII -- Chapter 1
June 25 –- Workshopping Final Paper

Week Six

June 30 –- Suetonius, Caligula; Seneca, Apocolocyntosis (divi) Claudii
July 1 –- Gaius Petronius, Satyricon
July 2 -- Augustine, from City of God, Read as much as you will, but Books I and XI are crucial, Libanius, "The Silence of Socrates" -- Final Essay Due (5-6pp.)


Lorraine said...

"Patriarchal Philosophistry?"


Dale Carrico said...

I have joked that ALL western philosophy amounts to mansplaining... teaching this seminar each summer I've gotta say it feels like no joke.