Council of Independent Colleges

Seminar Dates: Juy 25-31, 2016

Ancient Greek in the Modern Classroom

In July 2016 the Center for Hellenic Studies and CIC will cosponsor a seminar for faculty members in all fields. The seminar, designed for non-specialists, is led by Gregory Nagy, Francis Jones Professor of Classical Greek Literature and professor of Comparative Literature at Harvard University, and Kenneth Scott Morrell, associate professor of Greek and Roman Studies at Rhodes College.

The Histories of Herodotus, the so-called father of history, will be the focus of the seminar, which will explore his description of the interactions between Greek-speaking peoples and other societies as a way to articulate a more precise understanding of what it meant to be a Hellene at a time of intensified cross-cultural interaction in the Mediterranean.
Accordingly, the seminar will be of interest to a wide variety of participants. For example, historians can gain insights into the formation of their field and the origins of historiography; anthropologists can trace their discipline back to the “field studies” about the Egyptians and Scythians; those specializing in literary history and theory can view the Histories as a set of thematically connected “tragedies” influenced in no small part by the Athenian playwrights and other artistic contemporaries of Herodotus; political scientists can see how biography evolved as a way of understanding and describing political organizations; and those in religious studies can trace the rise and significance of hero cult alongside the worship of gods, as both a local and a Panhellenic phenomenon. Although readers today tend to view the Histories as part of a textual or written tradition, this seminar will situate the work within a tradition of public performance. The overall goal of the seminar is to equip participants to use the Histories in a broad range of courses and to enrich the general education programs of their institutions.
This workshop is designed primarily for non-specialists. Faculty members in all disciplines who might have occasion to use the Histories in their courses are encouraged to apply. Materials for the workshop will be available in electronic formats in advance of the seminar. Participants will be expected to read the Histories and share some of their preliminary impressions with the other participants through the website for the seminar before arriving in Washington. They will also have the opportunity to participate in an inter-institutional course on the Histories during the spring semester of 2017 and contribute to the planning for the course as part of the seminar in Washington.
Successful applicants will have the opportunity to nominate their students to participate in the Center’s summer seminar internship program from July 18-August 7. More information about that program is available on the CIC-CHS Summer Internship page.

This seminar and internship are made possible through the generous support of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.


​There is no fee to participate in this seminar. Lodging, meals, and seminar materials will be covered. Participants or their institutions are expected to provide transportation to and from Washington, DC; however, CIC reimburses up to $200 in travel expenses following the seminar.

Contact Information

Questions regarding the the Ancient Greece in the Modern College Classroom program should be directed to Stephen Gibson, CIC director of programs, at sgibson(at) or (202) 466-7230