I’m starting a new project to collect and analyze syllabi from surveys of ancient Greek and Roman philosophy. My goals are to get a better sense of how teaching is currently being conducted, share ideas for course designs, highlight neglected but promising texts, and consider new approaches.
I think it will be helpful to see what the selection of topics and readings looks like in current teaching. To what degree are surveys of ancient Greek and Roman philosophy still dominated by Plato and Aristotle? Do surveys spend time on early Greek philosophers? Do they include any Hellenistic or late ancient philosophers? I am also interested in topical coverage. Do most surveys balance out different topics or do some focus on ethics, epistemology etc.? Do the topics covered differ by period e.g. more coverage of ethics in Hellenistic philosophy and metaphysics and natural philosophy in early Greek thought? I also want to get a better sense of text assignment practices: how many people use anthologies or textbooks? How many people assign a few individual texts? My efforts here are inspired by Bob Pasnau‘s recent discussions and analysis of survey courses in medieval philosophy.
To make this project work, I need syllabi. Lots of them. That’s where you come in.
You can simply email your syllabi or you can complete the form here, which asks for some more details about your course structure and institution. I am interested in the teaching of ancient Greek and Roman philosophy around the globe, so syllabi in any language are welcome. You may also submit syllabi anonymously or without identifying information, if you prefer. If you have taught multiple version of an ancient philosophy survey course, please send a syllabus for each version you have taught. The more approaches shared the better.
I’m also looking for any innovative assignments that people have created and are willing to share with others in the ancient philosophy community, so please send me any assignments or group activities that you are willing to share with others.
Thanks to generous funding from the Dean’s Office of MSU Denver’s College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, I will be working with a student research assistant to analyze which authors, texts, and topics are most frequently covered and will be posting about that in the months to come. We also hope to spotlight and discuss any promising underused texts, approaches or assignments we discover.
I look forward to learning more about teaching ancient philosophy from others in the community!