Dr. Fran Bender
Star Wars and the Roman Empire
The Star Wars saga has been a worldwide cultural phenomenon for over thirty years. While it is widely accepted that the earliest film owes a tremendous debt to Kurosawa’s Hidden Fortress, subsequent releases in the series have drawn more from the cultural and historical legacy of the Romans and, in particular, from the so-called sword and sandals films of the last century such as Ben Hur and Spartacus. This course provides an introduction to the history of the ancient Mediterranean world - as related to and interpreted through the Star Wars films.
Note: Please check the schedule of classes for the most up-to-date information about meeting times, locations, and availability.
About the professor
Dr Covino’s academic life has been bracketed by the Star Wars saga: his treat for completing his first day of pre-kindergarten was a visit to the cinema to see the original film and, similarly, his reward (to himself) for completing his Ph.D. was seeing Revenge of the Sith on opening night (the last bits of the Ph.D., he notes, were rushed so as to make this happen…). In the period in between, he somehow acquired expertise in the field of ancient history - and, yet, the only time he's ever been on national radio (in New Zealand of all places) was to discuss Star Wars! At UTC, he teaches at all levels, including the Gen Ed course World Civilizations I, the University Honors course Classical and Medieval Political and Social Thought, and specialized upper-division course in Greek and Roman history.Email address: Ralph-Covino@utc.edu