Classical Studies offers a multidisciplinary approach to the civilizations of ancient Greece and Rome and the broader Mediterranean world. Our students take courses in the languages (Greek and Latin) and literature, archaeology, history, mythology, and religion of these societies presented both in their historical context and as avenues for current inquiry. Classical Studies connects us to a shared past which expands our notions of the present, and offers a new language with which to think about - and change – the modern world.

Students have the choice between two majors, CLASSICS and CLASSICAL CIVILIZATION. Students in both majors need to learn at least one of the classical languages, but the Classics major puts more emphasis on reading texts in the original.

In both majors, courses are grouped around three broad conceptual categories, which foreground different analytical tools and facets of antiquity.  

  • Poetry and Performance explores the aesthetics and political force of poetry and public expression in Classical and modern contexts and investigates their use as social and often subversive media. 
  • History and Social Justice examines the dynamics and strategies of communities and governments in antiquity as they adapted their institutions, legal structures, and media to serve diverse populations and strategies. It places ancient conceptions of democracy, constitutional design, and collective action in conversation with modern notions of the same.
  • Archaeology and Archaeological Science focuses on material evidence from the ancient Mediterranean. Students learn to apply both traditional and scientific tools to interpret archaeological data and to reconstruct phenomena ranging from the small experiences of daily life to large scale ecological change.

The very notion of a liberal arts education that encompasses scientific training, analytical reasoning, and creative thinking goes back to the ancient world. Our students engage rigorously with rich and diverse materials and analytical tools. By gaining expertise in the ancient world, they gain perspective - not just information but inspiration.

 

CLASSICS MAJORS IN ACTION:  THESIS PROJECTS

Jackson Barnet ('18): "From Democracy in Name to Democracy in Practice?  Contextualizing the Transition to Oligarchy of 411 BCE in Athens."

Katie Barnes ('18):  "The Not So Wild Country East of Dikte:  A Multivariate Analysis of Late Bronze Age East Cretan Tomb Assemblages."

Ward Archibald ('17) translates and stages new production of the Bacchae

Beth Alexion '16 explores how the Athenian model of transitional justice could be implemented in modern war-torn communities.

For additional projects, see here.