Header Classical Roots Of (early) Modern Colonisation

Course: Classical Roots of (Early) Modern Colonisation


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Colonization has been a crucial phenomenon in the making of the modern globalized world. In modern society this imperial heritage and its connected colonial ideologies are considered problematical and the object of critique and resistance. On the other hand, a seemingly growing group of people is concerned that this deconstruction of the colonial past undermines national identity, traditions and ultimately the core values upon which western society is based.

Although the impact of colonization on the modern world order is well known, the deep historical roots of colonial ideologies and practices that date back to Classical Antiquity have remained underexplored. Also the formative role that classical thought has had on the formation of the “Western World” and the contemporary geopolitical order deserves close academic scrutiny. Renaissance humanists started to study the classical past in an attempt to map the world and reform contemporary society. As such they laid the ideological foundations for modern Western society, and offered the basis for ideas about western superiority and right to rule over others. Also in later periods, the scholarly disciplines of classical philology, history and archaeology continued to play an important part in legitimizing various colonial enterprises. Vice versa, the classical past became viewed and studied through the lens of such contemporary developments.

This course aims at uncovering these deeply rooted practices and ideas, and the interaction between scholarship and geopolitical developments, by taking an interdisciplinary approach in which not only the various disciplines focusing on Classical Antiquity and its receptions, such as (art) history and the history of science, but also perspectives from (pre)modern imperialism, international relations, political philosophy and the social sciences are taken into account. Rome is the ideal place for doing so, because of the wealth and variety of sources available here: from archaeological sites of ancient Roman colonies, to (early) modern colonial collections; and from monumental expressions of Rome’s imperialism, to books, maps and archives representing the (early) modern study of this legacy.

This course is intended as the kick-off of a larger research project with the same title, which is a collaboration between the RUG and KNIR, and in which several researchers from both institutions and beyond are involved.

Target group
This interdisciplinary course is open to (R)MA and PhD students of all disciplines relevant to the topics and questions raised in the Course Description (including but not restricted to Classics, (Art) History, Archaeology, Medieval/Renaissance Studies, Literary studies and Philosophy) from KNIR- partner universities (Universiteit Leiden, Universiteit van Amsterdam, Vrije Universiteit, Universiteit Utrecht, Radboud Universiteit and Rijksuniversiteit Groningen). A formal application, including a short CV and letter of motivation (max. 1 A4), is required before participation. Active involvement, curiosity and a general interest in issues of Classical Reception and Colonization are necessary; some background knowledge is appreciated.

Course format and assignments
The course is organised by Tesse Stek and Susanna de Beer and hosted at the KNIR, Rome. It consists of a two week intensive seminar. The course contains (guest) lectures, site visits, group discussions, and practical assignments. Excursions include trips to archaeological and historical sites, museums and collections. The course language is English.

During the seminar, each participant will deliver an oral presentation either at the KNIR and/or during excursions on a related topic of choice. Students will write their final essay on the presentation’s topic. Before and during the seminar, participating students will read selected literature on subjects related to this course.

The study load is divided as follow:
1. Before and during the course: independent study of the literature (2 ECTS);
2. During the course: active participation in all parts of the course, including an oral presentation and final essay (c. 3000 words) (3 ECTS);

Credits and assessment
The study load is the equivalent of 5 ECTS (or 6). Each student should arrange with his/her university coordinator or study advisor whether the course can be a part of the existing curriculum. After successful completion of the course, the KNIR provides a certificate mentioning study load and evaluation. The assessment and grading are based on:
1. preparatory work, including literature study (20%);
2. active participation, including presentation and discussions (30%);
3. final essay (50%).

Tuition and lodging at the KNIR is free for selected participants from the above-mentioned Dutch universities. Personal expenses, including meals, are not included. Students, enrolled in one of our partner universities receive a €100 reimbursement of their expenses for travelling to Rome after a successful completion of this course.

Facilities in Rome
All participants will be housed at the Royal Netherlands Institute in Rome’s Villa Borghese Park. From there, it is only a short walk to the historical center of Rome. The KNIR accommodation consists of shared bedrooms and bathrooms, and includes a living and dining space, a large kitchen, washing machine and wireless internet.* All residents have 24/7 access to the library and the garden of the Royal Netherlands Institute.

More info
E-mail: secretary@knir.it
Phone: (+39)063269621

15 september 2023
Please note that the decision of the selection committee is final and no correspondence will be entered into.