Essay prompt:

So far, we have seen in this course many examples of connections between social and political power structures and positions toward sex and sexual behavior. In your essay, please discuss three ancient texts (from among those studied in this course) that present specific takes on the place of sex in the political or social system.

For each one of those texts, explain its historical context and substantiate your arguments by using specific quotes from the text and by pointing to specific themes.

Make an effort not only to analyze each text you chose separately, but also to create a thesis that will put the three texts you chose in relation to each other (e.g., they all have a shared trope, they present different perspectives on the same issues, they can be seen as arguing with each other, etc.)


Your essay should include an introduction which will present your thesis statement, and a conclusion that will reiterate your thesis statement. Organize the evidence and the analysis in a compelling and well-argued order. Note that this is a synthesis paper, not a summary paper. You are not expected simply to summarize the readings and reiterate what was said about them in lectures, but rather to create an interesting and coherent argument by looking at different things you studied this quarter in connection with one another.

Note that the general argument “there is a connection between sex and politics” or “sex is political” does not count as a thesis statement – that is the premise of the course and it is a given. Your thesis statement has to be more specific than that and address the particular readings you chose to discuss.


You may use any and every reading we used for this course, but please cite every source you are using. Use the following format for citations: author, name of text, page number. For example:

Plato, Symposium, 2
Livy, History of Rome, 4
If you are citing texts that appeared on the PowerPoint slides but were not part of the assigned readings, please use the following format:

Catullus, Poem 16, Lecture 13.b slide 7
You can cite your sources in-text (in parenthesis) or use footnotes, whichever you are more comfortable with.

I advise you against using sources that were not assigned for the course, but if you wish to use them please consult me. Note that most random sources you’ll find on the internet will do you more harm than good.

If you are only using the lectures and the readings on Canvas in your paper (which is what I recommend), there is no need to include a Works Cited page.


The recommended length for the essay is 5–7 double-spaced pages, in font Times New Roman 12. Please do not adjust the font size or margin size to make your paper seem longer or shorter.


I wholeheartedly recommend not starting this essay the night before it’s due, but taking some time to outline it and draft it. I’ll be happy to help you as you are planning your essay, so please feel free to consult me. I will not, however, be able to be of much help if you start it 24 hours before it’s due (or 4 hours before it’s due).

Please write clearly, concisely, and independently. I’ll be using a plagiarism detection software for this assignment (Turnitin), and I beseech you to avoid collaborations or use of external sources that breach the code of academic integrity and will lead to further inquiry.

Please submit the assignment by the deadline of Wednesday, May 6 at 2 pm. Late submissions will be penalized with the reduction of 1/3 of a letter grade for each late day. If you have a legitimate reason to ask for an extension, please contact me ahead of time.

Good luck!

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