Assignment 1 Narrow the Scope

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roman spectacle.jpeg

Due: By noon on Saturday, November 10, you must post a proposal on your group's blog.

This proposal must contain the following information:

1. What specific time period do you plan to research? [100 BCE-476 CE] Roman Empire [27 BC - 476 AD]

2. What artist(s) and/or work(s) do you plan to focus on specifically? [Plautus, Terence, Seneca... Lucius Annaeus Seneca-- Seneca the Younger; 4 BC - AD 65], Circus Maxiumus playwrights(?)]

3. What social [Circus/private games] and/or political events [holding private games for better (?) political standing] are happening at the time you are investigating? Wars (see timeline on "Links" page), political leaders...

4. Briefly describe how you reached consensus on the scope of your group project.
After thorough research in the library and Jstor, we were able to find topics within the broader topic that we are interested in, and will work from there.
We started with a google search to find out what "Ancient Roman Spectacle" is... the spectacle part, anyway. It's violence. We went on to see who would have been a part of "Spectacles", was it simply games? Did it have anything to do with political things at the time. Were things more Grecian or Roman? Was one adopted be another. >>Mostly taking place during the Roman Empire [27 BC - 476 AD]

5. What materials did you consult to help you make your decision (MLA)
Boatwright, Mary T. "Theaters in the Roman Empire." The Biblical Archaeologist 53.4 (1990): 184-92. American Schools of Oriental Research. JSTOR, Dec. 1990. Web. 8 Nov. 2012. .

Damen, Mark. "413 Roman Theatre, Classical Drama and Theatre." Classical Drama and Society- USU EDU. N.p., 2012. Web. 08 Nov. 2012. .

Hammer, Dean. "Roman Spectacle Entertainments and the Technology of Reality." Arethusa 43.1 (2009): 63-86. Project Muse, 2010. Web. 8 Nov. 2012. .

Klar, Laura S. "Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History." Theater and Amphitheater in the Roman World. Metropolitan Museum of Art, n.d. Web. 08 Nov. 2012. .

Parker, Holt N. "The Observed of All Observers: Spectacle, Applause, and Cultural Poetics In the Roman Theater Audience | Holt Parker -" Studies in the History of Art. Ed. Bettina Bergmann and Christine Kondoleon., 1 Jan. 1997. Web. 08 Nov. 2012. .

So far we have looked at: The Roman Empire, Seneca the Younger, gladiator battles, relationship between theatre and politics, chariot racing, circuses, mime and pantomime, Masadonian Wars, amphitheatre vs coliseum, Circus Maximus

rough breakdown:
Grace: circus and playwrights, Circus Maximus
Kelsey: structure of theatre, politics
Josie: spectacles themselves, chariot racing,
Jane: gladiators, spectacles of death, public killings
Britty: The Roman Empire, Rome at time

what is meant by spectacle?: spectacle in ancient Rome may refer to spectacles of death, gladiator battles, and public executions. (we have chosen to focus on the spectacles of death and not chariot racing/circus)
What is the difference between theatre (proper) and spectacle?: spectacle: unscripted, brutal killings,higher stakes, stark reality, blood/violence in front of audience, less predicability. Theatre: scripted, killings not seen onstage, less violence, not reality.

This proposal must do two things: 1.) It must reveal the work you've done to make your decision.
2.) It must begin to map a research agenda that will bring your final presentation to fruition.


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Hi Group,
I think you need to do some more narrowing. The "Spectacle" dimension of your project is extremely important. What do scholars say about the distinction between Roman theatre and Roman Spectacle? Of the sources you've listed, and without being familiar with them, it looks like you might find answers to that question in Hammer's article. The other sources seem to point toward theatre and away from spectacular events like Gladiators, Charriot races, munera and stuff like that. You'd also benefit from reading the introduction to the source I mentioned in class, Donald G. Kyle, Spectacles of Death in Ancient Rome.

Ideally, by reading the sources you've listed so far, you will be able to answer the key question: What do they mean by "spectacle"? And then: What's the difference between theatre (proper) and spectacle? Answers to these questions will help you narrow your long list of artists and events.

So as not to hinder your progress, I'm not going to ask you to resubmit your proposal. Instead, I'm asking that you post an addendum to the proposal (as soon as possible) that answers the questions I'm posing above and that narrows your scope to a more manageable scope.

Minor note regarding citation formatting: You did a good job with the structure of the citations, but remember that you must italicize book and journal titles. In what journal, for example, does the Booth article come from? Utilize HTML tags to italicize and bold things.

GRADE for "Narrow Your Scope": 80%

RE: Addendum
You are moving in the right direction, but I want to stress the need to think through the full complexity of these ideas and to present complete thoughts. You have chosen to focus on spectacles of death, but instead of foregrounding that choice you relegated it to a parenthetical note. What about spectacles of death do you want to research? Are you referring to Donald G. Kyle's work? If so, what about his research interests you.

There are similar issues with your differentiation between theatre and spectacle. Instead simply listing descriptors of each genre, explain why the difference is significant for students studying theatre history. (Also, I'm not sure that death happened offstage in Roman theatre. You could check on that.)

As your group progresses in its research, make sure you are taking time to investigate your topic in depth. I haven't seen much depth yet, but I think you'll have a chance to rehearse nuanced thinking with the "Divide and Conquer" assignment.

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This page contains a single entry by ukes0005 published on November 7, 2012 6:25 PM.

starting to "narrow the scope" (notes 11/6) was the previous entry in this blog.

Assignment #2 Format of Presentation is the next entry in this blog.

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