Welcome to the Department of Classics at the University of Kansas!
IMPORTANT: The KU Department of Classics wishes to express, in no uncertain terms, that we strongly oppose racism in all its forms. We are horrified and heartbroken at the killing of George Floyd at the hands of police, one of the most recent in a long list of instances of police brutality against people of color. We condemn these violent acts and all other injustices perpetrated against countless other people of color that have taken place, and continue to take place, across the country. We stand with the protestors and activists and support their right to denounce these abhorrent and grievous acts of violence.
We also recognize that racial injustice is not limited only to acts of police brutality but that it is both systematic and pervasive, and infects all areas of our society, including academia and our own discipline. But simply admitting this fact and taking time for deep self-reflection as individuals, as institutions, and as communities is not enough. We must take action. We must do more. Our department is committed to doing our part to enable change, not only because we wish to see it, but because it is morally imperative for all of us to do so. We believe that black lives matter in all places, at all times, and in all contexts. What happened to George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Sandra Bland, Tamir Rice, Trayvon Martin, and many others should not happen to anyone.
We will say their names, we will stand with those who fight against a racially unjust system, and we will work to enact change.
Classics is the integrated study of ancient Greek and Roman civilization through its languages, its literature, and its artistic and archaeological remains. This broad field includes the study of the great texts of classical antiquity, such as Vergil's Aeneid, Homer's Iliad and Odyssey, Plato's Symposium, Sophocles' Antigone, and the love poems of Sappho and Catullus, but also encompasses research into everyday life in the societies that produced those great works.
In addition to training in the classical languages (Greek and Latin), the department introduces students to a range of work in literary criticism and cultural studies. Topics include archaeology and ancient art, ancient theatre, mythology, women's history, Greek and Roman humor, cultural exchange across the Mediterranean, the translation of Greek and Latin poetry, and the history of slavery, sexuality, and ethnicity in ancient society.