The first assignments have arrived from the 120 students enrolled in the paper and Dr Salapata marking them is already proving interesting.
“One of the options for the first assignment called on them to create a magical curse tablet or erotic charm and so far I’ve received everything from “voodoo” dolls to elaborate curses.”
However, the fanciful assignments must be backed up with research. “These things are not just made up,” she says. “The format of a curse or spell must be based on real examples from the classical period and reflect the beliefs of the practitioners.”
You can find out more about this assignment here.
I’m on the fence about this. On one hand, learning by doing is a time-honored methodology, and the fact that this is plainly an optional assignment should deal with any objections that people are obligated to do it, let alone the fact that the course can hardly be required and can be easily bypassed if a student doesn’t want to take it. On the other hand, using curses seems destined to end in some eventuality in which a student “places a curse” on someone to whom something bad happens subsequently, which I would imagine might do quite a number on the student.
Still, we’ll keep our eyes open and see how this goes.