CLAS 2037 - Athenian Democracy: Reacting to the Past

North Terrace Campus - Semester 2 - 2021

Have you ever wondered where democracy originated and how it operated? This course offers an innovative, immersive approach by re-enacting Athenian democratic practice, ultimately the basis for all western democracies. The first half of the course recreates the intellectual dynamics of a formative period in western political history, when Greece went through a crisis at the end of the fifth century BCE. By using a format of role play it offers an educational experience of the democratic process of Athens. This method brings the discussions about the value of democracy to life on the basis of literary sources (e.g. Herodotus, Plato, Thucydides, Xenophon). The second half of the course returns to academic analysis, exploring the fundamental questions regarding the value of democratic rule in seminars. The story begins in 403 BCE, when, after thirty years of war, Sparta crushed the democratic rule, destroyed the city's great walls and warships, occupied the city, and installed a ruthless regime, 'the Thirty Tyrants'. You will debate the doubts about democracy raised in the post-war period by the Greeks, expressed most ingeniously by Socrates and his young supporters: can Athens retain a political system where all decisions are made by an Assembly of 6,000 or so citizens? Will leaders continue to be chosen by random lottery? Will citizenship be broadened to include slaves who fought for the democracy and foreign-born inhabitants who paid taxes in its support? You will take on the roles of radical and moderate democrats, oligarchs, and Socratics to debate these issues. You will learn about the origin and ordeals of Greek democracy and its importance for later ages.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code CLAS 2037
    Course Athenian Democracy: Reacting to the Past
    Coordinating Unit Classics
    Term Semester 2
    Level Undergraduate
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 3 hours per week
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange N
    Prerequisites At least 12 units of Level I undergraduate study
    Assumed Knowledge Broad knowledge of the ancient world of Greece & Rome, including basic historical understanding (eg Classical Studies in SACE or introductory CLAS or HIST courses). Without any foundations, pre-reading in consultation with the lecturer may be required.
    Course Description Have you ever wondered where democracy originated and how it operated? This course offers an innovative, immersive approach by re-enacting Athenian democratic practice, ultimately the basis for all western democracies. The first half of the course recreates the intellectual dynamics of a formative period in western political history, when Greece went through a crisis at the end of the fifth century BCE. By using a format of role play it offers an educational experience of the democratic process of Athens. This method brings the discussions about the value of democracy to life on the basis of literary sources (e.g. Herodotus, Plato, Thucydides, Xenophon). The second half of the course returns to academic analysis, exploring the fundamental questions regarding the value of democratic rule in seminars. The story begins in 403 BCE, when, after thirty years of war, Sparta crushed the democratic rule, destroyed the city's great walls and warships, occupied the city, and installed a ruthless regime, 'the Thirty Tyrants'. You will debate the doubts about democracy raised in the post-war period by the Greeks, expressed most ingeniously by Socrates and his young supporters: can Athens retain a political system where all decisions are made by an Assembly of 6,000 or so citizens? Will leaders continue to be chosen by random lottery? Will citizenship be broadened to include slaves who fought for the democracy and foreign-born inhabitants who paid taxes in its support? You will take on the roles of radical and moderate democrats, oligarchs, and Socratics to debate these issues. You will learn about the origin and ordeals of Greek democracy and its importance for later ages.
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Professor Han Baltussen

    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    1. Interpret the key evidence for Athenian democracy of the fifth and fourth c. BCE
    2. Explain the impact of war on social and political life in ancient Athens
    3. Relate the development of ancient Greek democracy to the social and political circumstances of modern democracies
    4. Use a scholarly approach to and methodology for historical interpretation of all the evidence for this period
    5. Articulate and debate their views and show leadership in small-group discussions
    6. Deliver coherently and logically argued written material which has a scholarly approach to analysis and presentation of ideas
    7. Employ learning technologies relevant to the University’s learning environment
    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)
    Deep discipline knowledge
    • informed and infused by cutting edge research, scaffolded throughout their program of studies
    • acquired from personal interaction with research active educators, from year 1
    • accredited or validated against national or international standards (for relevant programs)
    1,2,3
    Critical thinking and problem solving
    • steeped in research methods and rigor
    • based on empirical evidence and the scientific approach to knowledge development
    • demonstrated through appropriate and relevant assessment
    3,4,6
    Teamwork and communication skills
    • developed from, with, and via the SGDE
    • honed through assessment and practice throughout the program of studies
    • encouraged and valued in all aspects of learning
    4,5,7
    Career and leadership readiness
    • technology savvy
    • professional and, where relevant, fully accredited
    • forward thinking and well informed
    • tested and validated by work based experiences
    2,5,6,7
    Intercultural and ethical competency
    • adept at operating in other cultures
    • comfortable with different nationalities and social contexts
    • able to determine and contribute to desirable social outcomes
    • demonstrated by study abroad or with an understanding of indigenous knowledges
    1,2,3,5
    Self-awareness and emotional intelligence
    • a capacity for self-reflection and a willingness to engage in self-appraisal
    • open to objective and constructive feedback from supervisors and peers
    • able to negotiate difficult social situations, defuse conflict and engage positively in purposeful debate
    5,6
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    Textbook

    Ober, J., N.J. Norman, and M.C. Carnes (eds) The Threshold of Democracy. Athens in 403 B.C. (4th ed., W.W. Norton & Company, New York - London)

    Other resources

    Additional materials (scripts for role play, slides and handouts) will be provided by tutor before the relevant classes.
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    This course uses a well-tested and innovative teaching mode, combining traditional learning with roleplay and re-enactment of historical situations. Students will experience the cut-and-thrust of debate in the Athenian assembly between political parties by using scripted roles (enhanced with their own additional historical research). The course is part of the series Reacting to the Past.
    Workload

    No information currently available.

    Learning Activities Summary

    No information currently available.

    Small Group Discovery Experience
    The course makes use of role play and re-enactment, and these activities are preparaed and executed in groups.

    The immersive method tries to create a more engaging approach to learning on this important subject. By making the students participate in the process of Athenian debate in the assembly and taking up the roles of various parties involved, the experience of considering the points of view and arguments will offer students a deeper and more lively engagement with the origins and characteristics of western democracy. Lectures will support preparations for the game sessions, and guide the students in their reading of primary sources. While they will be eased into the materials with fully scripted roles, students wil need to research the historical background of the late fifth century on the basis of primary sources.
  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary
    TASK TASK TYPE WEIGHTING LEARNING OUTCOMES
    online quiz Formative and Summative 10% 1,2,3,6,7
    prepared short speech (800 words) Formative and Summative 10% 1,2,3,4,6,7
    Group assessment Formative and Summative 10% 1,2,3,6
    short paper (1,400 words) Summative 30% 1,2,3,4,5
    long essay (2,000 words) Summative 40% 1,2,3,4,6

    N.B.  "speech": participation in the roleplay and group assessment is essential in this course format to have a fruitful student experience and obtain the full benefit of the learning outcomes



    Assessment Detail

    No information currently available.

    Submission

    No information currently available.

    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy (http://www.adelaide.edu.au/policies/101/) course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

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  • Policies & Guidelines
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