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Majors and Minors
Faculty and professional interests
Lawrence Breitborde, Anthropology and Sociology, chair
Brenda Fineberg (on leave Winter and Spring 2016)
Latin language and literature, ancient Mediterranean culture, critical theory
Greek language and literature, Greek art and architecture
Roman art and architecture, Roman epic poetry, visual and literary culture of classical antiquity
Greek philosophy, Roman satire, Greco-Roman medicine, historical linguistics
Cooperating faculty from other programs
Classical Studies focuses on the cultures of the ancient Mediterranean world that flourished from about 2000 BCE through the end of the Roman empire, with emphasis on the cultures of Greece and Rome. Because the ancient evidence is fragmentary and dates to more than 2,000 years ago, information must be assembled from several disciplines to reconstruct a full picture. Accordingly, Classical Studies takes an integrated, multi-disciplinary approach, using many different disciplinary lenses - literary, historical, art historical, and others - in an attempt to recover what are, in effect, two lost cultures.
Classics offers three major (and minor) options: Greek, Latin, and Greek and Roman Culture. Some of our students have gone from Knox to graduate school in Classics to pursue careers as professors Classics; but many Classics students - indeed the majority - study the classics primarily for two reasons. Greece and Rome mark the beginning of Western culture and so prove an especially valuable background for students of literature, history, philosophy, and art history as well as creative work in writing, studio art, and theatre. More broadly, however, the Classics occupy a time-honored place in a liberal arts education because study of the ancient languages and cultures has proven valuable as a way of thinking. Study of the ancient languages develops strong analytic skills and an eye for detail, and many of the issues that remain central to us in the 21st century - political, legal, social, artistic, and others - were first articulated and deeply considered by the ancient Greeks and Romans. Indeed, the American Founders looked to the ancient authors as they laid out their plans for the new Republic.
In addition to the classicists in the department, members of other departments contribute courses to the program. This diversity in faculty, as well as the wide range of disciplines embraced under the umbrella of classical studies, lends the program a special interdisciplinary character and serve to build bridges between classics and other areas of the curriculum.
Classics students regularly spend a term studying in an off-campus program; among these are the College Year in Athens, the Intercollegiate Center for Classical Studies in Rome, and the Associated Colleges of the Midwest Florence and London/Florence programs. Summers have taken Classics students to archaeological excavations close to home in Southern Illinois and as far away as Jordan. One student worked as a summer intern at Global Informational Systems learning sophisticated computer mapping skills; another spent a summer working with a scholar on another campus to gain specialized knowledge prior to embarking on her senior thesis at Knox. Some of our majors, in their senior year, write an honors thesis - an extended, independent research project under close faculty supervision. Recent honors work has included a close study of the Roman satirist, Juvenal; work on the idea of place in the Roman poets of the Augustan period, a linguistic analysis of the New Testament book of Hebrews, and an interpretative commentary on a book of Homer's Iliad. These honors projects, as well as classroom research projects, are supported by an excellent library and a range of research technology. The Knox College library maintains subscriptions to TLG and PHI databases of Greek and Latin texts, Perseus, a broadly based collection of images and texts, and ArtStor, which includes images of art and architecture from ancient cultures.
Knox supports a local chapter of Eta Sigma Phi, the national honorary society for students of Greek and Latin. Knox has a flourishing Classics Club that enjoys participation from students across campus, including majors in philosophy, history, classics, English, and physics. All are welcome.
Courses in classics include Greek and Latin language courses as well as courses that require no knowledge of the ancient languages. The language courses develop a reading comprehension that opens the way to a more subtle understanding of the ancient texts. The Classics courses that require no knowledge of Latin or Greek (listed as CLAS) are intended to develop skills of reading, seeing, and interpreting the texts and material remains of ancient cultures.
Teacher Certification in Latin
Knox offers State of Illinois certification in Latin (grades six through twelve). In general terms, students can qualify for certification by completing a major in Latin, completing a major in Educational Studies, and passing the State of Illinois Certification test in the Latin subject area.
Since the specific requirements are complex, it is important that students interested in certification in Latin consult with the Department of Educational Studies early in their college careers about current requirements.
The departmental curriculum contributes to the College's Key Competency Requirements as follows:
Departmental Learning Goals
Students completing a major in Greek [or Latin] will be able to:
Students completing a major in Greek and Roman Culture will be able to:
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