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greece and italy

An Artistic and Literary Odyssey
The Evergreen State College
Fall, Winter, and Spring 2006-2007

Bob Haft
Lab I 1004 x6474

Andrew Reece
Lab II 2251 x6146

Benedetta Reece
Lab II 2251 x6146

The legacy of the Greek and Italian cultures from antiquity through the Renaissance continues to hold considerable sway over contemporary cultures. The great writings and powerful visual arts that have been preserved from these eras established standards of excellence that succeeding generations have both paid homage to and struggled against up to the present day. In this program we study the history, texts, and monuments of some of the most dynamic and seminal cultures in European history: the Bronze Age Aegean kingdoms, Archaic and Classical Greece, pre-Roman Etruria, the early Roman Empire, and the late Medieval and Renaissance Italian city-states. Throughout the program we will learn about modern interpretations and adaptations of the works that we study as well as creating our own. By coming to a greater understanding of this rich and often controversial legacy, we expect to learn a great deal about ourselves as well. We do not approach the pots, poems, or palaces of the past as mere artifacts, but as living expressions of ideas and ideals that deserve serious consideration – not only in terms of their influence but also in terms of their contemporary viability. That is, Plato and Titian (to take a couple of examples) can help us deepen our understanding of desire; Pheidias and Dante have much to teach us about the intersection of piety and politics.

In the fall quarter, which we’ve christened “Naissance,” we trace the development of the Hellenic and Etruscan cultures from the third millennium to the fourth century B.C.E. Authors include Homer, Sappho, Pindar, Aeschylus, Euripides, and Plato; monuments include architecture, sculpture, frescoes, and painted pottery. Some students will begin learning ancient Greek; some, modern Italian; others, drawing. In the winter (“Renaissance”) we focus on the Roman appropriation of Greek art and thought and the later Florentine rediscovery and interpretation of the classical past. Authors will include Virgil, Dante, Vasari; artists….Students in Greek and Italian will continue their language study, while those who learned drawing in the fall will study photography. In the spring (“Odyssey”) we will travel to Greece and Italy for a seven-week journey, during which we will visit many of the sites and examine many of the artifacts and artworks that we encountered second-hand in the previous quarters. While in Europe we will have additional readings by modern authors, seminars, and more practice on our language and studio arts skills.


Bob Haft has been at Evergreen since Jimmy Carter was president! And if that doesn’t scare you, then you’re probably a good candidate for this program. He has degrees in Psychology and Fine Arts (Photography), both of which are from WSU. He taught there as well as at Diablo Valley College in the San Francisco Bay area before coming to TESC. Since being here, he has taught in an array of diverse programs and has taken students abroad on several occasions to places which include Mexico, Greece, Italy and France. In addition to teaching, he is a working artist and has had exhibitions of his photographs in New York, San Francisco and Paris. He is mentally able to leap tall buildings in a single bound.

Andrew Reece joined the Evergreen faculty in 2003. He earned his undergraduate and graduate degrees in Classical Studies from Earlham College and Indiana University. In the subsequent years B.C.E. (Before Coming to Evergreen, also known as the Dark Ages) Andrew taught at I.U., Earlham, and the University of Puget Sound. His specialty is Greek literature and philosophy, but he was seduced by Greece’s art and material culture during a 1995 summer fellowship with the American School of Classical Studies at Athens. When not teaching or sitting in his office daydreaming that he’s chasing Hector around Priam’s mighty citadel, Andrew may be found swimming, riding his bike, eating tzaziki, or chasing his two sons around the Reeces’ mighty suburban rambler.

Benedetta Reece was born in Modena, Italy, and came to the United States to study bio-anthropology fourteen years and one month ago. She has a Laurea degree in Ancient History and Archaeology from the University of Bologna, Italy, and an M.A. in Anthropology from Indiana University. She worked in museums, mainly doing research and cataloguing ancient materials, and went on archaeological digs in Italy, France, and Germany for years before she came to the U.S. Besides the main "job" of running after two children for the last nine years, she has been teaching private Italian lessons since she's been in this country.

Fall texts

Please acquire these specific editions and translations. We need to all be looking at the same words and pictures, on the same pages, when we discuss the books.


Homer, The Odyssey, translated by Robert Fagles (Penguin)
Greek Lyric: An Anthology in Translation (Hackett)
William R. Biers, The Archaeology of Greece 2nd edition (Cornell)
Aeschylus, The Oresteia, translated by Robert Fagles (Penguin)
J.J. Pollitt, Art and Experience in Classical Greece (Cambridge)
Euripides, Bacchae (in the Complete Greek Tragedies: Euripides V, translated by D. Grene, R. Lattimore, et al. [Chicago ])
Plato, Symposium, translated by Robin Waterfield (Oxford)
N. Spivey, Etruscan Art (Oxford)


S. Pomeroy, S. Burstein, W. Donlan, and J. Roberts, Ancient Greece: A Political, Social, and Cultural History (Oxford UP)

Fall Schedule






9-12 All- Program Meeting, Sem II A1105

2-3 Greek, Sem II E2107

9-12 Drawing, Arts Annex

9:30-11 Italian, Sem II C3109

11-12 Greek, Sem II E 3107

2-4 Seminars, Lab II 2211 (Bob) and CAB 108 (Andrew)

9-12 All-Program Meeting, LH 2

9-12 Drawing, Arts Annex

11-12 Greek, Sem II E3107

2-4 Seminars, Lab II 2211 (Bob) and Sem II E1107 (Andrew)

9:30-11 Italian, Sem II C3109

GIALO* Ambitions

To learn about – and from – the art, literature, and history of the Greek and Italian cultures from the Bronze Age through the Renaissance, particularly the Late Bronze Age on Crete and the southern Balkan peninsula; the Archaic and Classical periods in the Greek poleis, particularly Athens in the 5th century B.C.E.; Etruria before the Roman domination of Italy; the early Roman Empire; and Renaissance Florence

To appreciate the significance of the cultural accomplishments of these peoples for their own societies, for subsequent societies, and for us

To understand the influence of one culture on another and the ways in which peoples appropriate the thought and forms of expression of those who came before them or those whom they have conquered or dominated

To scrutinize modern ideas about the pre-modern past and the ways in which evidence from literary texts, myth, iconography and archaeological remains support varied interpretations of past civilizations

To master the vocabulary and syntax of scholars who study past cultures – that is, to recognize the style and artist of a painting or sculpture, to date pottery, to argue for an interpretation of a poem, and, finally, to come to some valid general conclusions about the Zeitgeist of a certain people at a certain place at a certain time

To develop skills in the analysis of texts and monuments, descriptive and persuasive composition, discussion, and learned globe-trotting

To enjoy doing all this, and more, in the company of excited and devoted explorers

GIALO Program Expectations, Requirements, and Evaluations

The program endorses and seeks to promote Evergreen’s Six Expectations, the Five Foci, and the Social Contract. We add or emphasize the following expectations and requirements:

Being there Attendance at, and participation in, all program meetings by all members of the program is absolutely essential. The success of this year’s endeavor depends on the commitment of the entire group to its ambitions. At a minimum, this means showing up on time for everything, completing all readings and other assignments on time, and joining discussions. But who wants to just do the minimum?

We cannot stress overmuch the importance of timeliness. Just as the student who arrives late for the bus in Heraklion misses the site, so too the student (or faculty member!) who arrives late for seminar misses the wit and brilliance of his or her comrades. Our practice imitates that of many theaters: if you arrive late for a class, wait outside the room until intermission (or for an invitation to enter in medias res from those within). Use the time to cultivate a sense of shame and ignominy and/or to review the reading. Repeated late arrivals are tantamount to absences.

Students who miss more than a class or two cannot expect to win the full credit award for any given quarter, nor can they expect to join us on the trip to Europe in the spring.

Getting into it Your faculty have fallen under the spell of the Greeks and Italians to an almost embarrassing degree. It’s not an uncritical passion that consumes us, but it is a passion nonetheless. We expect you, too, to be pumped about this curriculum. We want to see fire in the eyes, ink stains and paper cuts on the fingers, Puccini and Theodorakis on the Ipods, Chianti and Ouzo in the kitchen cupboards (for those of age), Greek fisherman’s caps on the heads and Vespa motorbikes in the driveway (for those with a license and a lot of spare coins). Most importantly, we want to see you doing the best, most exciting and excited work that you’re capable of doing. Listen intently in lecture and seminar. Scribble furious notes. Speak up in every discussion. Shy? Pretend you’re Italian, and parla!

Showing your stuff on essays, exams, discussions, and performances. In the fall, we have three essays on literary texts and two exams which test your ability to identify images and account for their significance in addition to discussing them in the context of your readings. Additionally, in the last week students will perform scenes from Greek dramas (either comedy or tragedy) in groups of 8 or so. All assignments must be completed when due, and they must demonstrate at a level of quality that the faculty deem appropriate for college undergraduates. We will not accept late essays or essays that are fraught with usage errors or that lack citations of evidence. We will not arrange for make-up exams or in-class writing. Exams must show a substantial command of the material they cover. Participation in discussions must be consistent, well-informed, pertinent, and respectful. We will describe the assignments in greater detail during our all-program meetings.

Being good citizens In addition to the expectations and requirements above,

we expect everyone in the program to abide by certain protocols that we feel a successful learning community needs to have:

Staying put: Once you have arrived promptly to a class meeting, you should remain in the room until a break or the end of the class. Please do not get up to wander about, have a smoke, use the toilet, or make a phone call in the middle of things. To do so shows disrespect for the faculty or guest speaker and to the other students present. One of the skills we want to develop is the ability to pay sustained attention to images and texts; this is a skill that seems to be disappearing from our culture in the internet age, but we’re holding fast to our belief in its importance. Sometimes we need to be able to practice it even while (mirabile dictu) hungry, tired, nicotine-deprived, or with a full bladder.

Unplugging oneself: Please turn off and stow away electronic devices before a class begins. These include cell phones, personal music players, and whatever other nickel-cadmium-battery-gobbling gadgets people hang about their persons these days. We want your attention focused squarely on the book, the slide, or the speaker. We discourage the use of portable computers for note-taking (what’s wrong with pens?), though we are willing to be persuaded that some need to use them. But be forewarned: the tippity-tap of computer keys drives Andrew stark, raving mad, and you don’t want to see this.

One conversation at a time, please: In seminar, particularly, conversations should be among the whole group (or small group), with one person talking at a time and everyone listening to that person. Side conversations during class drive Bob stark, raving mad. You definitely don’t want to see this happen.

Learning together: GIALO needs us all to regard one another as potential sources of wisdom, and as such worthy of our respect and our esteem. We must negotiate and appreciate differences between us with candor, kindness, and good humor. Words or actions that seek to demean individuals or groups have no place here.

Evaluations At the end of each quarter all students must write self-evaluations and evaluations of their faculty seminar leaders. The self-evaluation is due with the end-of-quarter portfolio, and the faculty evaluation should accompany the student to the evaluation conference.

*GIALO is of course the acronym of the program’s title and subtitle. It also is a homophone for the Italian word for “yellow,” giallo, which also designates a genre of Italian pulp fiction and lurid films. Make of this what you will.

pdf of syllabus111.22 KB