The Program in Classical and Medieval Studies combines a uniquely interdisciplinary study of cultural history with an emphasis on empowering students to read and interrogate texts in the relevant ancient languages.
The program is distinctive both in scope and in linking the study of classical antiquity with that of the medieval worlds. It stresses the many diverse cultures that comprised “Greece” and “Rome” in classical antiquity, and encourages students to consider them in the context of the ancient Mediterranean more broadly, and in connection with the ancient Near East. The medieval worlds it examines stretch from West Africa and northern Europe across the Mediterranean to Central Asia, encompassing the civilizations of Islam, Latin Europe, the Byzantine Empire and beyond. The program aims to be truly interdisciplinary, integrating the perspectives of history, literature, philosophy, religion, the environmental sciences, art, architecture, archeology, and other material culture.
The program also aims to interrogate structures of power both in the past itself and in our collective understanding of the past. In doing so, we examine classical antiquity, the Middle Ages, and modern scholarship on these periods through critical lenses, considering questions of race, gender, class, and freedom and unfreedom, among others. Students are encouraged to study abroad in selected programs in order to deepen their understanding of the material aspects of these diverse cultures.