he department offers majors and minors in Humanities and Classics. Courses are taught
by faculty trained in languages and literatures from around the world including Ancient Greek, Latin, Russian, German, French, Italian, Japanese, and Arabic.The Department of HUMANITIES-CLASSICS offers students a unique opportunity to pursue courses in Western and Non-Western comparative literatures and cultures, often combined with a study of visual and other arts. The department offers an array of courses with varied focus: for example, thematic courses (myth, love, gender, rites of passage), genre courses (tragedy, comedy), and period courses (Ancient, Medieval, Renaissance, Modern, and Post-Modern) in the traditional Great Books and in other creative masterpieces (architecture, art, and music). The Hellenic, Roman, Hebraic, and Italian Renaissance traditions are fundamental to this study of Western civilization. The lasting achievements of Homer, Sappho, Cicero, the Bible, and later writers such as Heloise and Abelard, Marie de France, Dante, Boccaccio, Erasmus, Shakespeare, George Sand, Tolstoy, Chekhov, Dostoevsky, and Kafka continue to provoke, stimulate, and challenge contemporary thought.
The Department of Humanities-Classics equally embraces the study of other civilizations whose cultural foundations are not based on a Greco-Roman or Judeo-Christian tradition. Students learn about the extraordinary wealth of ancient and recent texts from East Asia, North Africa, the Middle East, and India that have become essential for an educated citizenry in the world today. Courses are therefore structured to encourage students to compare the values and artistic strategies of different traditions and to observe different formulations of enduring questions regarding freedom and constraint, love and sexuality, self-knowledge and personal desire versus social duty. Famous works from East Asia (The Tale of Genji, Dream of the Red Chamber, The Monkey and the Monk), India (The Ramayana and The Mahabharata), the Arab World (1001 Arabian Nights), and Iran (The Shahnameh: The Persian Book of Kings) extend our knowledge of world literature. We offer comparative literature courses in which topics, perspectives, and problems in various ethnic, religious, and literary traditions widen the field of vision based on the theoretical writings of people such as: Foucault, Said, Fanon, and Cixous. Many of these courses question traditional canons and hierarchies constructed both long ago and in recent decades.
The Department of Humanities-Classics also offers instruction in Greek and Latin languages and literatures at all levels, from elementary to advanced. Within the first two years, the student may read the epics of Homer, the tragic lyrics of Euripides, the dialogues of Plato, the works of Cicero, Virgil, and Ovid, in the original languages. The study of Greek or Latin provides a basis for independent insights into ancient Mediterranean languages and societies, which are significant sources of current American concepts in social and political thought.
*Theory-to-Practice Grants fund individual research throughout the world.
*Faculty led trips to Greece, Rome, and Japan
*The Herbst Award funds student travel to a part of the world related to courses offered in the Humanities-Classics Department.
*The Robinson Prize is awarded to a Humanities and/or Classics graduate pursuing an advanced degree related to the HMCL curriculum.
*Archaeological excavations provide opportunities for students to participate in digs such as those in Crete, Isthmia, Etruria, the Athenian Agora, Atheniou (Cyprus), Rome, and Pompeii.
*College Year in Athens allows students to study Greek civilization—ancient, Byzantine, and modern—at its source and to work with distinguished professors of Greek language, literature, history, philosophy, art, and archaeology. Study tours are also included.
*The Intercollegiate Center in Rome and the American Institute for Roman Culture offers study and travel in the Eternal City. Students also can study for a semester in Florence, Italy, under a program sponsored by Syracuse University in Florence.
*The department hosts all-campus readings of classical texts, such as Homer’s Odyssey, Virgil’s Aeneid, and Ovid’s Metamorphoses. Twelve or more hours pass quickly steeped in the magic of great poetry. Students and faculty from all over campus may participate.
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