The Department of Classics seeks to offer a transformative education to its majors and minors and to students who take only one or two classes with us. We have as our central commitment the study of the ancient Greek and Latin languages and of the literatures written in those languages. We are also engaged, both in teaching and research, with broader cultural issues. Our goal is to understand and appreciate the Greek and Roman worlds as wholes and to consider their influence, for better and often for worse, on the modern world. In spring 2020, for example, we offered a Classics seminar titled “Ancient Worlds, Modern Crises,” and our divisional classes (including Classics Beyond Whiteness and Women, Gender, and Sexuality in Antiquity) examine these issues as a matter of course. A recent alumn characterizes our department as “inclusive, intersectional, critical in a productive way, and valuing conceptual knowledge over nitty gritty facts.”
As teachers, our department seeks to educate students in the ancient Greek and Roman languages, literatures, cultures (broadly conceived), and traditions and receptions, not only as a way to explore aspects of the human condition that transcend time and place but also to use that study as a means to think and question more critically, write and speak more cogently, and live more conscientiously, reflectively, meaningfully, and empathetically. Our students consistently report that they feel that we care about them, both as learners and as people. The intellectual challenges and collegial support we offer encourage students to reach new summits of personal and academic growth; in the words of a student in one of our recent classes, “I took this course not really knowing what I was getting myself into and I am so glad I decided to leap into the unknown.” As scholars, our department aims to produce innovative scholarship and open, but critical, thought about the ancient world, with a focus on Greek and Latin literary cultures and ideology. As members of Wake Forest University and the larger academy, we aim to be a model department, collegially engaged in fostering the above pursuits and in supporting our discipline and the humanities writ large as a necessary and good curricular element of a transformational educational experience.