Confronting the Classics

The Ancient Past in Modern Rome & Athens

Date: 8-22 June 2015

Deadline for applications: 1 March 2015


Rome and Athens loom large over our modern world. The two cities are considered to be the birthplaces of the West, heralds of art, philosophy and civilization and timeless representatives of democracy and empire. At the same time, they are the capitals of relatively young nations with turbulent recent histories. What is the significance of antiquity in this modern context?

In this course we will confront Rome with Athens and thus confront the classics in our modern world. Spending one week in each city, we will discuss the international lure of ancient heritage from the Grand Tour to mass tourism, discover the impact of archaeology on contemporary cityscapes, and analyse the political uses of the classical past from Napoleon to the European Union.

Topics of research and discussion range from nationalist, totalitarian and universalist narratives and uses of the ancient past, to strategies of preservation, reconstruction and musealisation of classical heritage.

dr. Arthur Weststeijn, dr. Nicholas Karachalis, guest lecturers

Target group
Outstanding students at MA and PhD-level in history, archaeology, classics, heritage studies and related disciplines from KNIR/NIA partner universities: Universiteit van Amsterdam, Vrije Universiteit, Universiteit Leiden, Universiteit Utrecht, Radboud Universiteit, Rijksuniversiteit Groningen.

Course format and assessment
The master class comprises an intensive stay of fourteen days in Rome and Athens, including lectures at the KNIR and NIA and excursions and presentations in the two cities. Before the start of the course, an introductory meeting will take place in Amsterdam (date to be scheduled). Assignments include:

– an exploratory literature survey (800 words), deadline 1 June 2015

– a concluding research paper (5000 words), deadline 6 July 2015

– two on-site presentations: one presentation in Rome, the other in Athens, focusing on key locations that offer interesting perspectives of comparison.

The topics of the presentations are chosen and prepared before the course starts; students have two afternoons in Rome and Athens to prepare the presentation on site and do some final literature research.

Assessment takes place on the basis of preparatory study of course material (20%), active participation and on-site presentations (30%), and the concluding paper (50%).

Course material
A selection of articles (ca. 250 pp.) and the essay Salvatore Settis, The Future of the ‘Classical’ (2006), to be purchased by participants.

The study load is the equivalent of 6 ECTS (168 hours). Each student should arrange with his/her home coordinator 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 study load is based on:
a) Before the master class: independent study of course material and preparatory assignment: 1 ECTS (28 hours)
b) Intensive course period in Rome and Athens (14 days): active participation, two presentations and draft paper: 3 ECTS (84 hours)
c) After the master class: paper of ca. 5000 words: 2 ECTS (56 hours)

Participating students will receive free accommodation at KNIR and NIA. After succesful completion of the final paper, travel costs will be reimbursed up to €100,-

Application and admission
The master class is a selective course with a maximum of 10 participants. The selection of participants is based on grades, the positioning of the course in the student’s curriculum, and a letter of motivation.

Students can apply via the link below; include in your application:
b) a letter of motivation
c) a cv
a) for MA students: a recent list of grades officially supplied by your university

Deadline applications
1 March 2015. Information on the selection of candidates is communicated before 1 April 2015.

More info