The Symposium

  

Purpose

The purpose of this assignment is to articulate a response to one point you found to be subject to criticism.

Texts

  • Eve Sedgwick “Epistemology of the Closet”
  • Judith Butler “Imitation and Gender Insubordination”
  • Plato’s The Symposium

Topic

In his Symposium, Plato images a glittering array of Greek artists, thinkers, and leaders dedicating their time to praise the god Eros. In Greek thought, eros did not just mean sexual passion but included any of the bodily desires such as hunger and thirst. However, the men at this drinking party are largely concerned with sexual passion. They also celebrate pederasty besides homosexuality. Athenian culture had developed a social system that encouraged relations between younger and older men, with which Plato disagreed. In The Symposium, Plato will wrestle with Eros’s power, subdue it, and put it in the service of virtue.

Writing Assignment

Using a Gender Studies or Queer theoretical framework, respond critically to the following:

What can we learn from The Symposium

if we apply a Gender Studies or Queer Theoretical framework?

Directions

  • Please type three pages of double-spaced
  • Times New Roman
  • 12-point font
  • One-inch margins
  • Include an original title
  • Include quotes so that I can identify what specific words or ideas you are responding to
  • Quote from both Plato and Sedgwick or Butler

Tips

Responding critically means you look closely at logic, rhetoric, theory, metaphor, analogies, symbols, language, gender, ‘structures,’ opinions, beliefs, feelings, the mind, the setting (the context), the culture, and any other linguistically charged letter, word, or phrase to analyze a specific word, phrase, topic, sentence, paragraph, speech, dialogue, quote, or short passage.

  • Begin by introducing the author, the title of the text, and a summary of what you think the overall meaning of the text is.
  • Then, as you move into the body of your reader response narrow your focus to the point you found interesting in The Symposium.
  • Remember to provide specific evidence from the text; don’t rely on routine responses (i.e. avoid saying or repeating that you found this point interesting without telling me why.
  • And when you explain why one or two points are interesting, take your time to develop your ideas.
  • Don’t assume your reader will believe you if you just explain why something is interesting in a few words.

If you get stuck when writing, give yourself a break. Walk away from your work for a bit, have a stretch, close your laptop, discuss out-loud what you want to write, talk to someone about your ideas and have that person ask you questions that will challenge your opinions and assumptions until you feel confident that you ‘discovered’ the words you want to use.

Writing can be an art form. Artists take their time to perfect their work. So, don’t rush your writing. Make time for it.

  
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