It might be a little far into the semester/period/year for this, but what’s everyone learning this year?
My stuff: I declared dual History and Classical Studies majors at the end of last year, and after counting up the credits I had left available to me, I might even be able to swing a German minor, depending when certain classes are scheduled. For this semester I have:
History 001: American History 1763 - 1877
-Ugh. Dull, dull, dull. This course was created for freshman, but I’d say it’s more worthy of high schoolers that college. Repetitive, slow, and easy, it offers nothing but more work to do from which I derive little pleasure or other benefit. Oh, and I have it three days a week at 8:45am, which is just an added kick in the nuts. This is what happens when you declare your major at the last possible moment.
History 104: The American Revolution
-It is a good course, but it’s unbalanced. Whereas most textbooks focus on the military/founding father aspects of the War for Indedpendence, the course focuses almost entirely on the nature of society in the colonies/states before, during, and after the war. While what we do is new and interesting to me, I can’t help but feel that leaving out battles and strategies from the actual military war is unfortunate. We focus on what the “common” man felt/did/perceived during the Revolution, which our instructor refers to in general terms as a wide period of history beginning in the late 1760s to…well, undetermined as of yet. I am VERY suspicious of the way in which our instructor attempts to explain history according to particular set ideologies rather than determine the reasons behind each event as they were specific to that event.
History 122: History of the Presidency
-An excellent class thus far that traces the development of the presidency from its inception (and executive power before that, even) to current times. We don’t spend equal time on each president, but all get their due mention. We’re at Lincoln now.
CL 020: The Ancient World: Greece
-A nice overview course of ancient Greek history on its own, but the problem is that I’ve covered all this material already in a similar class my very first semester freshmen year. Whereas that one met three times a week and featured readings from Herodotus and Thucydides, playwrights, and more, this course meets twice a week and consists mainly of lecture. My university is small, though, and other than Latin and Greek this was the only course offered in Classics this semester, so I took it for the sake of my major. I tend to read things for other classes in the back of the lecture hall for this one.
-The third semester of the program in which I’m learning Attic Greek, the stuff they spoke in the heyday of Athens 2500 years ago. We’ll finish up our two-textbook series this semester. The textbook has started to include passages from Thucydides as our grammar becomes more advanced, a fact about which I’m incredibly pleased. Last semester there were eleven people in this class (rather, it’s previous incarnation). This year there are four. It is an intensely personal class, and provides the kind of student-professor contact that the deans of public universities and large public colleges can only wet their pants about. In the next three semesters, two of which will most likely be independent study, we’ll be able to pick what we want to read, be it Aristophanes’ plays (<i>Lysistrata’s</i> a real kicker, I recommend it for anyone), Herodotus’ histories, or anything else from the classical period.
Result: 20 credits out of 20 credits available. Any more and I’d have to pay extra.