Skip to main content

From the Chair

Welcome to Classics, the study of the cultural output of ancient Greece and Rome and its worldwide reception from late antiquity to today.

At Northwestern, faculty specializations include Greek history, comparative literary analysis, Roman economic & cultural history, ancient literary criticism, Greek mathematics, Latin and Greek language pedagogy, comparative Indo-European poetics, Greek political philosophy, theater & drama, ancient Near Eastern art, and a range of receptions topics.  Current visiting professors add the intersection of Greek tragedy and material culture and the history of Byzantium to that set. 

Our curriculum includes popular lecture courses on mythology and cultural history and small seminars that dig into the peculiarities of classical antiquity and ask questions about the persistence of the past in a wide range of contemporary affairs. We organize a credit-bearing summer course conducted in Greece and staffed by NU faculty. And we offer very strong programs in ancient Greek and Classical Latin  for majors, minors and language proficiency requirement students. Take a look at our course offerings.

For majors and minors we also offer a research methods course that introduces students to a variety of digital tools that fill out classics as a multi-disciplinary enterprise concerned to examine our evidence for the cultures of Greek and Roman antiquity. We encourage research activity by students either independently or as part of a faculty-led team.

Classics is a terrific pathway to a superb undergraduate liberal arts education. It has also proven to be an excellent springboard to a variety of demanding post-graduate activities. Our majors and minors have gone off to medical school and law school, careers in tech, business, environmental consulting, secondary education, the arts and, yes, to doctoral study and careers in the academy in fields as diverse as art history, computer science, paleontology, and classics. 

For doctoral candidates NU Classics provides extra training to students  in cognate fields working on any aspect of antiquity (e.g., in philosophy, art history, political theory, history, rhetoric, theater and drama, comparative literary studies and more).  We collaborate with the Graduate School’s Classics Cluster on programming that includes courses, certificates, workshops, events and reading groups.  The department also offers a teaching assistantships to students across fields who seek expertise in core humanities topics such as Mythology and Greek and Roman Cultural History. 

We invite communications from undergrad and grad alumni and their participation in campus events when possible.  

Some projects in the planning stages as I write this in January 2023 include staging a participatory marathon reading of Virgil’s Aeneid (reprising our fantastic experience doing the same with Homer’s Iliad a few years back), re-booting the digital humanities initiative The Classicizing Chicago Project,  building on the successful Ancient Rome in Chicago course by developing new courses in  Reception Studies (under the rubric Classics 380), and expanding our curriculum into ancient science with the arrival of Assistant Professor Nick Winters in fall 2023. 

We are alert to opportunities to address diversity, equity and inclusion in all our endeavors—research, course design, faculty recruitment and, centrally, by sustaining a respectful and welcoming environment for thinkers from all backgrounds interested in a variety of social justice concerns. 

Please peruse this website and review the 2021-22 Newsletter prepared by my predecessor as Chair, Professor Marianne Hopman, for more information. 

S. Sara Monoson
Department Chair