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Classical Studies

The classical studies department approaches the ancient Mediterranean world through the humanistic disciplines of language and literature, history and philosophy, and art and archaeology.

Classical Studies investigates the societies, languages (Latin and Greek), literatures, and cultures of the ancient Mediterranean world. Students develop critical and creative thinking skills by investigating fragmentary, contradictory, and biased evidence from ancient Greece, Rome, Egypt, North Africa, and the Near East.

Students often study overseas in Italy, Greece and the United Kingdom, and regularly participate in archaeological excavations. We offer majors and minors in Greek, Latin or classical civilization, and a minor in classical archaeology. Our majors pursue a wide range of careers in areas such as law, medicine, business, journalism, education, technology, public service, theater, and the arts.

This broad, deep, and varied historical training helps students become:
resilient (able to adapt creatively and compassionately to rapid local and global changes);
engaged (self-directed learners who can thoughtfully discern, evaluate, and act on information);
inclusive (self-reflective individuals sensitive to cultural difference and marginalization by understanding the perspectives and voices of past peoples from diverse cultural contexts);
communicative (mindful of rhetorical strategies and narrative structures, and proficient in written and oral expression).

With a commitment to social justice and in solidarity with colleagues and students, DePauw's Department of Classical Studies endorses the following statements from our governing organizations:

The Society For Classical Studies:
"The Society for Classical Studies condemns the relentless horror of police brutality and murder of black men, women, and children, including George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Atatiana Jefferson, Rekia Boyd, Sandra Bland, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, Freddie Gray, Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice, and Rodney King, to name just a few of the victims. Brutality perpetrated by the police and others stands with mass incarceration and unequal access to healthcare, education, and housing as symptoms of longstanding systemic, structural, and institutional racism in American and European cultures. These are deep problems in society that will not be fixed without radical policy changes at every level of government and across all institutions.
Police brutality and the systemic racism that underlies it are the concerns of the Society for Classical Studies for two main reasons. First, every institution and organization in this country must speak against the continuing violence against people of color. Second, the Society for Classical Studies recognizes and acknowledges the complicity of Classics as a field in constructing and participating in racist and anti-black educational structures and attitudes. SCS itself has not been immune from acts of prejudice and intolerance…" [Read the Full Statement]

The Archaeological Institute of America:
"Archaeologists examine the physical remains of humankind to answer questions animated by our present. The material record helps us understand the production of inequality, the representation of power, and the targeted discrimination of communities. Archaeological research that describes the lives of everyday people also gives voice to those who lack privileged representation in the dominant historical record. Violence perpetrated against African Americans, Native Americans, women, immigrants, and other minorities in our own society have antecedents in the ancient and more recent past. So too does the use of propaganda to legitimize authority, silence dissent, and maintain control. Our tools carry a professional and ethical obligation to call attention to these connections and to share the context of different human experiences…" [Read the Full Statement]