HIST 241-2/ANCMED 202R-2: Facing the Slave in Classical Antiquity and the Modern Museum

The white marble statues and busts that typically fill galleries of Greek and Roman art, including those of Emory's Carlos Museum, present a familiar idealizing vision of the classical past that is often also an idealizing vision of the West's cultural inheritance and contemporary identity. This course looks behind that fa├žade to face the realities of slavery as represented in Greek and Roman art and literature. Students will read primary texts depicting the slave experience or discussing the problem of the chattel slavery itself and will have the opportunity to examine the material evidence for slavery in the Greek and Roman worlds. Students will also consider the ways in which ancient slavery has been presented by museums, using the Carlos as a case study. All students in the class will have the opportunity to research an object in the Carlos Museum collections and produce a new interpretative label to be displayed in the galleries and online as part of a temporary gallery intervention revealing the presence of slavery in the classical world.