The Classics program offers courses in English and beginning and advanced courses in Latin and Ancient Greek. In the Classics courses students learn about the literature and civilization of the ancient world as it is presented in the original writings of ancient poets, historians, orators, and philosophers. All reading is done in translation.
The Greek and Latin courses provide students with a reading knowledge of the ancient languages. We offer a Classics major or minor, and majors in Ancient Greek and Latin.
This proposal adds a track in Classical Studies in order to make a major program available to students interested in the culture of the ancient Greek and Roman worlds who do not wish, or are not able, to complete the programs in ancient languages. This track will also incorporate courses in ancient studies from other departments (especially Philosophy, History, and Art) as well as from the Classics section, thereby broadly encouraging the study of the classical heritage. The new program will offer an opportunity to concentrate in this area to transfer students, education students, BALA or Journalism students, or any students who come to the subject after their freshman year or who wish to combine it with other, more professionally-oriented training, while providing a liberal arts concentration which is a useful background for careers in law, publishing and communication, creative work and the arts, or education.
The concentration in Classical Studies emphasizes cultural knowledge acquired through courses using materials in translation, and will make the experience of the language an optional part of the curriculum. This program will:
- Provide a liberal arts concentration which is a useful background for careers in law, publishing and communication, creative work and the arts, or education.
- Prepare those students who choose to study ancient languages within the program for graduate study in, e.g., Ancient History, Medieval Studies, or Comparative Literature as well as Classics.
- Foster the study of classics across the curriculum by drawing attention to the ancient studies courses offered in other departments which can be applied to this major.
- Encourage the study of Latin and Greek by offering a track in which those credits can be utilized even by students who do not finish the sequences.
Although each program has a distinctive character, there will be sufficient overlap among the programs in Greek, Latin, Classics and Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies to allow students to shift their choice of major as their interests develop.
While the language-based programs remain the best preparation for graduate study in Classics (because they give students direct access to the sources) and provide a traditional option for distinguished undergraduate scholarly achievement, they now represent only one approach to the subject matter. While Classics at the graduate level has always been an interdisciplinary field with a language base, in the last three decades scholarship in Classics has evolved in such a way that the methods for evaluating source material (involving a knowledge of, e.g., history, religion, literary theory, comparative cultural studies) no longer need to presuppose linguistic mastery, and the critical examination of ancient texts and sources can be taught at the undergraduate level to students who have not studied the languages.