Classics and General Humanities

Chairperson: Victoria Larson

Classics and Humanities examine the culture, ideas, and values of earlier western and related civilizations both in their original time periods and as they have been appropriated and transmuted by later cultures, especially American. The common goals of these programs are to develop a sense of how to conduct critical inquiry into past cultures and the modern manifestations of their ideas and values; to impart a feeling for the recurring patterns but also enormous diversity of human culture; and to explore how past cultures form the basis for modern cultures and cultural attitudes.

The major in Humanities is a broad program exploring the creative works of earlier cultures and their later influence, through multiple disciplines of the humanities (literature, history, art, philosophy, religion, music etc.), while the concentration in Comparative Mythology and Literature brings a special emphasis to the major, allowing for deeper familiarity with the myths and literatures of those cultures.  The minor in Myth Studies provides special training  in the narrative and symbolic foundations of culture and their continued influence on the contemporary world.

The major and minor in Classics are broad programs in ancient civilization which study the history, languages, literature, philosophy art, religion, and daily life of the ancient Mediterranean world as seen through texts and artifacts. The major and minor in Latin emphasize the study of literature in the original language; the major requires study of Greek as well. The Latin major with Teacher Certification in Latin leads to certification to teach Latin and Classics in New Jersey public schools. The Greek minor emphasizes mastery of classical Greek and reading literature in the language.   The minor in Ancient Mediterranean Civilizations examines the cultures and societies of the ancient Mediterranean region, recognizing that the geo-political boundaries that organize our world today were completely unknown, and cross-cultural contacts were the order of the day.  Additionally, the department is a cosponsor, together with the departments of Anthropology and Art and Design, of the Archaeology minor. Its archaeologists participate in the work of the Center for Archaeological Studies. (The Archaeology Minor is listed under Interdisciplinary Majors and Minors.)

The programs in Classics and Humanities are interdisciplinary liberal arts concentrations which provide ideal preparation for careers in business, for professions such as law and medicine, and for graduate work in humanities and social sciences. (Note: Students who intend to do graduate work in classical or ancient Mediterranean studies may need additional preparatory study and should consult with the department as early as possible in their college careers.)