History 401
Race, Culture, and Ethnicity in Herodotus' Histories

Professor Craige B. Champion
Wednesdays 12:45-3:45 PM
Newhouse 212
Office Hours: MWF 9:30-10:30
Maxwell Hall 310B
ext. 2781

"In winter, on your soft couch by the fire, full of food, drinking sweet wine and cracking nuts, say this to the chance traveler at your door: 'What is your name, my good friend? Where do you live?
How many years can you number? How old were you when the Persians came?'"

"And what now will become of us without Barbarians?
Those people were a kind of solution."
~Constantine P. Cavafy

"The utilizing of man for a purpose must of necessity breed the sense of the superior and the inferior, the one who is near and the one who is far, the one who knows and the one who does not know. This separation is psychological inequality, and it is the factor of disintegration in society."
~Jiddu Krishnamurti

Course Description
Herodotus has been called the father of history, the first anthropologist, the first ethnographer...and the father of lies. He was a product of ancient Greece, and the Greeks defined themselves in cultural terms in opposition to non-Greeks, or 'barbarians.' We study Herodotus' work in light of this cultural framework and consider the ways in which Herodotus responded to the Greek-barbarian bipolarity. Readings and discussions often will be framed within the context of present-day problems of the divisiveness and conflicts arising from national, ethnic, and religious stereotypes.

Structure of Course
This is a writing course in historical research. We read Herodotus' Histories in their entirety. The research paper must be on some aspect of collective representation in the Histories (that is, Herodotus' representation of political, cultural, ethnic, or religious human communities). The final paper has a target length of 20-30 pages, and it should be constructed in stages (outline, bibliography, rough drafts) throughout the semester. Letting it go until late November is a sure ticket to failure. We meet together once a week for the first ten weeks of the semester, reading one book of the Histories and assignments from the Reading Packet each week. These readings and in-class discussions of them should enable you to formulate a paper topic. Thereafter, you are on your own for several weeks to write, but I will be available throughout this period for discussion and guidance. We come together in the final two weeks to share synopses of papers and to get peer feedback for final polishing of the project.


Books to Buy
Primary Source

The Landmark Herodotus, edited by R. Strassler (New York: Pantheon Books, 2007)


Key to Reading Assignments:
Herodotus, Histories = H

For full bibliographical references for assignments in the Reading Packet, click here.

Week One
Course Introduction (brief meeting)
Assignment: H Editor's Introduction and Book One; Champion, "Group Stereotypes and the Nature of Prejudice"; RP Allport; Leyens, Yzerbyt and Schadron

Week Two
Discussion of H Book One; Stereotypes and Stereotyping
Assignment: H Book Two; Champion, "Group Stereotypes Among the Greeks"; GB Hartog, "Greeks as Egyptologists"; Morpurgo Davies "Greek Notion of Dialect"

Week Three
Discussion of H Book Two; Stereotyping and the Greeks; Hartog and the Egyptian "Other"
Assignment: H Book Three; Champion, "What Is A Polis?"; RP Banton; Hannaford

Week Four
Discussion of H Book Three; Polis; Conception of Race
Assignment: H Book Four; Champion, "Life and Times of Herodotus"; RP Barth; Jonathan Hall, Hellenicity

Week Five
Discussion of H Book Four; Ethnicity and Ethnic Consciousness
Assignment: H Book Five; Champion, "Persian Wars"; GB Rudhardt, "Greek Attitude to Foreign Religions"; Lissarrague, "Athenian Image of the Foreigner"

Week Six
Discussion of H Book Five; Persian Wars; Herodotus on the Scythians
Assignment: H Book Six; Champion, "After 479"; RP Benedict, Patterns of Culture; Dirks, Eley, and Ortner; GB Redfield, "Herodotus the Tourist"

Week Seven
Discussion of H Book Six; Athenian Empire; Culture and Cultural Politics
Assignment: H Book Seven; GB Walbank, "Greek Nationality"; Nippel, "Construction of Other"

Week Eight
Discussion of H Book Seven; Greek Construction of Non-Greeks; Problem of Greek Nationality
Assignment: H Book Eight; Aeschylus, Persians; RP Edith Hall, Inventing the Barbarian; GB Goldhill, "Battle Narrative and Politics"

Week Nine
Discussion of H Book Eight; Aeschylus' Persians and the Barbarian Stereotype
Assignment: H Book Nine; RP Miller, Athens and Persia; GB Browning, "Greeks and Others"; Edith Hall, "When Is A Myth Not A Myth?"

Week Ten
Discussion of H Book Nine; The Uses and Abuses of Hellenism
Assignment: Independent Work-Continue Researching and Writing Paper

Weeks Eleven through Thirteen
Independent Research and Writing

Weeks Fourteen and Fifteen
Meetings to Present Synopses of and Discuss Research Papers