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 1485 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 the reliability and validity of sources from Aristotle to “wikipedia”
  • 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

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”
  • interrogate claims about the ethnic, racial and class composition as well as the cultural values of the Western world