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Classical Receptions Studies

Classical reception studies” is a fast-growing area of academic inquiry in classics and in the humanities broadly that focuses on the recovery and examination of the ways in which aspects of iconic Greek and Roman sources (texts, images, material objects, figures, practices) have been utilized by post-antiquity actors to make meaning in and for their own times (later-antiquity to contemporary times). Reception studies opens up our awareness about how we constantly re-create the past and about the complex epistemological status of "ancient" sources. Sometimes referred to as the study of the “afterlife” of classical antiquity, the field addresses patterns of reception across languages, media and geographic boundaries. The field is rooted in Classics because study of engagements with the record of Greece and Rome is its defining feature. Methodologically, its scholarly practice journeys into other academic fields, producing work distinctive for its trans- or multi-disciplinary character.

CLASSICS 400 Classical Receptions Workshop
Meets ad hoc Fridays 12-2. (Classics seminar room Kresge 4-364)

Professor S. Sara Monoson (Professor of Political Science, Classics and Philosophy, Chair of the Department of Political Science and Director of the Graduate Classics Cluster)

This class will introduce students to the field of classical receptions studies by way of theoretically informed case studies, seminar meetings with visiting scholars and student projects that draw on their own fields of expertise to be presented to the group. The case studies will include examination of the Classicizing Chicago Project based in the Department of Classics and possibly a museum exhibit in Chicago. Confirmed visitors include pioneers of the field—Edith Hall and Glenn Most. Graduate students from any discipline are welcome. Advanced undergraduates may enroll with permission of the instructor.

At Northwestern, classical receptions has been the topic of an NU Kaplan Institute for the Humanities Research Workshop for several years. Accordingly, there will be optional follow up events in the spring quarter that dovetail with the activities of that Workshop (i.e., a group outing to an Aristophanes event in Chicago in April and a graduate student receptions conference in Urbana in May).

2015-2016 Classical Receptions Workshop Calendar

2014-2015 Classical Receptions Workshop Calendar

Our group also oversees the nascent Classicizing Chicago Project, an investigation of the scattered traces of a changing, sometimes antagonistic, but always keen relationship with the Greek and Roman past evident in Chicago history. The Classicizing Chicago Project is building a digital archive of examples of this cultural mingling across time and space, and a collection of interpretative materials of interest to scholars, students, teachers and the general public. 

Undergraduate curricular initiatives are collected in the Department of Classics’ list of “Classical Traditions” courses.

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