HIS203: UNDERSTANDING THE CLASSICAL WORLD AND ITS IMPACT ON MODERN LIFE
Offered: 2021 Term 3. Wednesday evenings 6:30-8:30pm. four consecutive sessions per Term. First class meets Wednesday 4 August 2021.
Location: Berkley Intermediate School, Berkley Avenue, Hillcrest, Hamilton. This course also has on-line distance-learning options. Details can be found in the Location tab below.
Week 1: Art and Architecture: Greek art laid the foundation for the history of Western art that found its full flowering during the Renaissance and lasted in various guises for another 500 years. It began with figure painting on amphora vases and reached its apotheosis in the work of sculptors who refined the classical ideal. It experienced a revival during the neo-classical period and was revisited again in the postmodern era. Not only in its style but also in its references to classical mythology do we witness the presence of ancient stories being retold in modern forms, presented for an audience with a contemporary twist. Architecture of the classical period has also had a profound influence upon the shape, forms, and styles of buildings down the centuries, that lasted well up to and including the twentieth century.
Week 2: Literature: From Homer to Aeschylus to Virgil to Horace to Sappho to St John, the world of classical poetry and drama provided models for later writers of Western literature. In modern times such influences are found everywhere. Knowing these references means we increase our understanding and appreciation of contemporary writing that alludes to such material. One of the famous works that exemplifies this stimulus is James Joyce’s novel Ulysses. T S Eliot’s The Waste Land is another. The movie Brother Where Art Thou is loosely based on Homer’s Odyssey.
Week 3: Philosophy: It has been said that the history of Western philosophy is merely a series of footnotes to the works of Plato. Such a seminal thinker at the beginning of western civilization certainly provided endless later commentaries on the intellectual conundrums that still bedevil us. Rationalism, Empiricism, Stoicism and Epicureanism are just a few of the legacies left us courtesy of classical thought. Contemporary philosophy has recently engaged with and revived the thinking of the Cynics and the ideas of the Sophists in the confrontation with the perennial question of what is truth and if we can ever be sure we possess it.
Week 4: Religion: It astonishes many to know that a good deal of what is found in the Western religious arena goes back much earlier than Christianity. Indeed some of the essential ideas of the Christian faith predate the advent of the cult. It grew up inside the classical world and therefore it should come as no surprise that it would be heavily indebted and coloured by concepts that were first alive in the ancient world of Greece and Rome. Almost every contemporary religious idea had its first outings in the pagan world.
Prerequisites: There are no prerequisites for this course.
Distance Learning: This course has distance-learning options for those unable to attend the live class sessions in Hamilton. Students have three options for attending our courses once they have registered:
- attend in-person classes in our Hamilton classrooms at the regularly scheduled day and time,
- attend our live on-line classroom sessions via Zoom at the regular scheduled day and time,
- watch the live-recorded class sessions at your leisure, at a time, day and place more suited to your schedule.
These options can be mixed and matched throughout the course to suit your own availability and location.
Peter Dornauf (MA, Dip Tchg) has taught in secondary schools, Wintec and Waikato University collectively for over 25 years. He is a well know Waikato artist, art critic and a writer of poetry, fiction and non-fiction. He currently teaches course for EarthDiverse in the fields of Art & Architecture, History and Philosophy. His book Days of Our Deaths serves as the basis for his “A Cultural History of Death” course, which is also offered in Term 3 this year.
In addition to our in-person classes in Hamilton, our Spanish language courses offer distance learning options for those unable to attend classes in-person. Live-streamed Hamilton classes are available via free Zoom software for those living outside the Waikato. Live-streaming allows you to participate fully in your own learning, ask questions of the instructor and participate fully in the same way as if you were in the physical classroom.
Those unable to attend the scheduled date and time of the actual class sessions, or those who need to miss a class or two due to previous engagements or unexpected illness, can watch any or all of the live-recorded video sessions on their computers, laptops, tablets or mobile devices and study at their own pace and in their own time.
Detailed instructions on how to access our distance learning components will be sent after completing your registration. There are no additional fees for this service. However, distance learners will need access to a desktop or laptop computer with a good quality web-camera (tablet devices and mobile phones can also access our live-streamed classes), a built-in microphone (most modern laptops have built-in microphones) or a headset with a microphone. You will also need to download and install the free Zoom software on your computer or device. Those accessing the video recordings will be able to do so with a simple web browser on any device.
- Detailed Syllabi are available at the start of each Term.
- Any Term can be taken independently of the others, and there are no prerequisites for any of the Term courses.
- This class has no assignments, required readings, quizzes, tests or exams.
- All classes encourage questions and group discussion.
- PDF copies of each class presentation are emailed to all participants the next day so that you are free to focus on class content rather than taking notes. You are most welcome to come, sit back, relax, take part in and enjoy the discussions!
- Course fees include a short tea/coffee/snack break in the middle of each session.
- There are no refunds for missed classes.
- Guests of registered participants are welcome to attend a single class at no charge.
- Certificates of Completion for any particular Term Course or Series are available for Professional Development purposes upon request at the end of each Term or Series.
Cost per person per Term (4 classes):
- Waged: $65 (includes GST + online registration fee)
- Unwaged (unemployed, students, seniors): $55 (includes GST + online registration fee)
LOCATION: This course is held at Berkley Intermediate School in Hillcrest, Hamilton. Please enter via Mullane Street and park in the car park towards the end on the left-hand side. If this carpark is full you can park along Mullane Street. EarthDiverse staffers will be there to greet you on the first night of classes and can direct you to the correct room for your course. Please view the map below for details. Bikes are also welcomed!
DISTANCE-LEARNING: You get to chose your location when you Zoom in to our live classroom sessions, or access our classes at your leisure and at a time and day of your choosing by watching the video recorded sessions from each class. This allows you to study at your own pace.