Departmental Learning Goals
Greek, Latin, & Classical Studies Learning Goals
- Students will learn ancient Greek or Latin (or both), cultivating an urgent connoisseurship of the word. Through this “love for words upon words, words in continuation and modification” (Eudora Welty), they acquire the power to analyze and interpret foundational texts of western philosophy, history, oratory, fiction, and poetry in their original forms.
- Students will connect with thought-provoking and influential texts from antiquity and consider the benefits of the canon — and its dangers. They can recognize their role in a continuing story of communication and reassemblage: “Break a vase, and the love that reassembles the fragments is stronger than that love which took its symmetry for granted when it was whole” (Derek Walcott).
- Students will read carefully, deeply, looking to vital context, with reservations and with appreciation of crucial detail, in dialogue with others and with confidence in their own insights, with doors left open, with delicate fingers and eyes (Nietzsche, Daybreak 1881).
- Students will confront the most persistent questions about the nature of things, heeding the Socratic warning that “the unexamined life is not worth living” (ὁ δὲ ἀνεξέταστος βίος οὐ βιωτὸς ἀνθρώπῳ, Plato, Apology 38a).
- Students will carry their education with them, becoming speakers of words and doers of deeds (μύθων τε ῥητῆρ’ ἔμεναι πρηκτῆρά τε ἔργων, Homer, Iliad 9.443), striving to become individuals to whom nothing human is foreign (homo sum: humani nil a me alienum puto, Terence, HT 77).
- Students will strive not to amass a cache of the trivial or ephemeral but to create a community of learning in partnership with faculty and students in the full spirit of our collegiate mottoes (Haverford: non doctior sed meliore doctrina imbutus and Bryn Mawr: veritatem dilexi).
- Students will, at the culmination of their studies, explore important questions about classical culture or its reception with theoretical rigor, in dialogue with the work of other scholars, in collaboration with their peers, and under the auspices of a faculty Mentor.
- Students will question the lives that speak in multiple pasts, presents, and futures. As we turn our gaze and tune our ears to the pulse of life from the past, and see how bygone people “step into the thick of emotions which blind and bewilder an age like our own” (Virginia Woolf), we forge our future selves and others through engagement, critique, and interpretation.