Chair, Professor MEREDITH HOPPIN (First Semester)
Professor KERRY CHRISTENSEN (Second Semester)
Professors: CHRISTENSEN, HOPPIN***. Harry C. Payne Visiting Professor of Liberal Arts: PORTER. Assistant Professors: DEKEL, WILCOX***.
The course offerings in Classics enable students to explore the ancient Greek, Roman, and Greco-Roman worlds from various perspectives: art, archaeology, philosophy, religion, and especially literature and history. Courses are of two types: language (Greek and Latin) and translation (Classical Civilization). The 100-level language courses are intensive introductions to Greek and Latin grammar; the 200-level language courses combine comprehensive grammar review with readings from Greek or Latin texts of pivotal historical periods; the 400-level language courses explore in depth selected authors or topics and the methods of analysis appropriate to each of them. Courses in which texts are read in translation provide both introductory surveys and opportunities for more specialized study of the ancient Greco-Roman world from earliest historical times through late antiquity.
Majors and prospective majors are encouraged to consult with the department's faculty to ensure a well-balanced and comprehensive selection of Classics courses appropriate to their individual interests. A course or courses in ancient history are strongly recommended. Majors may also benefit from advice on courses offered in other departments which would complement their particular interests in Classics. A reading knowledge of French, German, and Italian is useful for any study in Classics and is required in at least two of these modern languages by graduate programs in classics, ancient history, classical art and archaeology, and medieval studies.
The department offers two routes to the major: Classics and Classical Civilization.
Classics: (1) Six courses in Greek and/or Latin, with at least two 400-level courses in one language; (2) Three additional courses, elected from the offerings in Greek, Latin, or Classical Civilization or from approved courses in other departments.
Classical Civilization: (1) Either Classics 101 or 102 and either Classics 222, 223, or 323; (2) Three additional courses from the offerings in Classical Civilization or from approved courses in other departments. (3) Three courses in Greek or Latin with at least one at the 400 level, or four courses in Latin at any level; (4) A senior independent study is normally required to complete the Classical Civilization major. Several of the courses elected, including the independent study, should relate to each other in such a way as to reflect a concentration on a particular genre, period, or problem of Greek and Roman civilization, including topics in ancient art and archaeology, religion in the Greco-Roman world, and ancient philosophy.
Appropriate courses from other departments or from approved study abroad programs may be elected for the major, with the approval of the Chair of Classics. Approval may depend on the specific shape of an individual's major. Examples of such courses at Williams, which may vary from year to year, are ArtH 412 (Monsters and Narrative: Greek Architectural Sculpture), ArtH 224 (Romanesque and Gothic Art and Architecture), Religion 201 (The Hebrew Bible), Religion 212 (The Development of Christianity), History 225 (The Middle Ages), and Political Science/Philosophy 231 (Ancient Political Theory).
Senior Colloquium: Senior majors are required to enroll in CLAS 499 in both semesters. The topics and activities of this colloquium, which meets about every other week, vary according to the interests of the participants. Junior majors are also encouraged to participate.
THE DEGREE WITH HONORS IN CLASSICS
Students who wish to be considered for the degree with honors will normally present a thesis or pursue appropriate independent study in the fall and winter study of their senior year. The thesis or independent study offers students the opportunity to work in depth on a topic of their choosing and to apply and develop the techniques and critical methods with which they have become acquainted during their regular course work. It may also include relevant work with members of other departments. In order to write a thesis, students normally must have a minimum GPA of 3.3 in their major courses and must submit a thesis proposal before the end of the spring semester of their junior year that earns departmental approval. To be awarded the degree with honors in Classics, the student is required to have taken a minimum of ten semester courses in the department (not including the thesis or independent study) and to have demonstrated original or superior ability in studies in the field both through course work and through the thesis or equivalent independent study.
COURSE NUMBERING SYSTEM
Language Courses: The numbering of courses through the 300 level reflects the prerequisites involved. The only prerequisite for any 400-level course is Greek 201 or Latin 302, or equivalent language preparation. The numbering of the 400-level courses partially reflects the order in which they are offered over a two-year period for Greek and a three-year period for Latin. It also indicates a good order in which to take the 400-level courses but not an essential order, and individual students may enter the sequence at any point. While not every student will take every course, the rotation of 400-level courses is arranged to permit exposure, in a three- to four-year period, to most of the important periods and genres of classical studies.
Classical Civilization Courses: The numbering of these courses often suggests a recommended but rarely necessary sequence of study within a given area of classical studies. Most of the translation courses do not assume prior experience in Classics or a cross-listed field.
We strongly encourage Classics majors to study abroad in their junior year, at programs in Italy (especially the semester-length program at the Intercollegiate Center for Classical Studies in Rome), at programs in Greece (especially the College Year in Athens, which students need only attend for one semester), and in the Williams at Oxford Program. Our majors have also had excellent Classics experiences in other study-abroad programs in Italy and Greece and at various universities in Europe and the United Kingdom. In addition, we encourage students to take advantage of opportunities available in the summer: study abroad programs in Italy and Greece, archaeological digs, or even carefully planned individual travel to sites in Greece, Italy or other areas of the ancient Greco-Roman world. When the college cannot do so, the department may be able to provide some financial support for summer study abroad. So that students may learn more about all these opportunities, as well as how best to prepare for them, the department holds open meetings twice each year. The department's faculty are always available to advise students, the chair has materials to share, and students can visit the department's website for information and links to helpful internet sites.