CMS Program Objectives

Basic Knowledge

All CMS students, regardless of their areas of interest within the program should attain:

  • reading knowledge of a classical or medieval/pre-modern language
  • understanding of  major philosophical, artistic, literary, religious, political and/or social contours of one or more historical societies from 1200 BCE to ca.1500 CE
  • understanding of how this particular society influenced subsequent societies
Critical and Analytical Skills

All CMS students should be able to:

  • identify theses, arguments, evidence, opinions and distinguish amongst these in the primary and secondary sources they encounter
  • evaluate both primary and secondary sources for their reliability and validity as sources for academic inquiry
  • understand the aesthetic, political, social, and intellectual claims and aspects of their own and others’ writings
  • recognize and understand interpretative communities within the ancient and medieval worlds they study and the modern world in which they live
  • identify and understand the systems, broadly defined, that organize knowledge of the past and present
  • form ideas and lay out a persuasive argument in writing for a specified audience
  • interrogate claims about the ethnic, racial and class composition as well as the cultural values of the “Western” world

All CMS students should be able to use their training in and knowledge of classical and medieval worlds to:

  • inform and contextualize a thoughtful engagement with the contemporary world
  • develop the intellectual autonomy and authority to assert the relevance of the past and take a critical view of the present, thereby avoiding “presentism”
  • place current political, social, and cultural circumstances and productions in a historical context, likewise avoiding “presentism”
  • Understand both the colonial circumstances in which the fields of the study of the ancient and medieval world were developed, and the values and hierarchies these fields have been used to perpetuate, and also how these fields have been and continue to be sites of resistance against many forms of oppression and bigotry.