An Overview of Classics at Carleton

Classics is the study of the ancient Greco-Roman world in all its various manifestations. The evidence from the classical past derives primarily from texts and artifacts that have survived from antiquity, and the work of Classics as a discipline is to understand these texts and artifacts in as full a cultural context as is possible. Therefore, the study of Classics comprises several complementary areas of knowledge including language, history, politics, social institutions, literature, material culture and art. Within these knowledge areas, Classicists recover cultural context by deploying a number of discrete skills of inquiry and analysis, many of which are common to other disciplines, but which are tailored to the needs and conventions of the evidence from classical antiquity. Successful classicists develop habits of mind that allow them to bring fresh approaches and apply evidence in new ways in order to analyze and interpret elements of the classical world.

Through our four major programs of study (Classical Studies, Latin, Greek, or Classical Languages,) some of which require greater proficiency in the ancient languages than others, we seek to provide a suitable introduction to these skills and areas of knowledge for our majors, with the expected learning outcomes listed below. Our aim is to provide our students with multiple opportunities to gain the knowledge and practice the skills we have identified, recognizing that learning is an iterative process that involves as many productive failures as successes. Our senior integrative exercise requires integration of the skills and knowledge to engage in scholarship in the discipline and gain a sense of the wider world of intellectual inquiry, and we attempt to foster the higher order thinking skills necessary for this type of research. At the same time, we acknowledge that our majors are novice practitioners of the discipline and seek to nurture their learning and skills at a level that is appropriate for undergraduates.