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Kinship and Community: Ancient Texts and Modern Theories

Semester and Year FA 2017
Course Number IDSEM-UG1739
Section 001
Instructor Bruce King
Days MW
Time 4:55 PM - 6:10 PM
Units 4
Level U
Requirement   HUM, PREMOD



What is the relation of the family to larger structures of community and of state? Do kinship bonds provide a model for those of community or must they be superseded in the interest of a more enlightened state? To what degree do contemporary aspirations for gender equality entail a radical renovation of our understanding of the family? We consider these questions through a close reading of ancient texts, from the Greek and Judeo-Christian traditions, which we read in conjunction with some contemporary thinkers on kinship and the state. Primary readings include: Aeschylus  Oresteia , Homeric  Hymn to Demeter , Sophocles  Oedipus Tyrannus  and  Antigone , Euripides  Ion , Plato  Republic , Aristophanes  Ecclesiazusae , Longus  Daphnis and Chloe , Genesis and Exodus, Paul  Romans  and  Galatians ,  Martyrdom of Perpetua , Kushner  Angels in America,  Nelson  The Argonauts;  theoretical texts include: Freud  Totem and Taboo  and  Moses and Monotheism , and selections from Engels, Lévi-Strauss, G. Rubin, P. Clastres, A. Rich, and J. Butler.


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Course Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)