Greece is one of the most fascinating and beautiful places in the world. With a base in Athens and trips to some of the most storied sites in all of Europe—Delphi, Marathon, Olympia, the Greek isles—this program combines a long-term view of the Greek world with courses and practical training in a variety of academic disciplines. In addition to a core course on the history, landscape, and material culture of Greece, students will choose from several elective courses concerning the contemporary world: legacies of empire, human mobility and migration, and the politics and economy of this cultural crossroads between Europe, Africa, and Asia.
Message from Faculty Director
Welcome to the home page for Carleton’s new OCS program in Greece! My name is Alex Knodell, and I am an archaeologist specializing in the ancient Mediterranean and Middle East. I’ve been a professor in the Classics Department and Archaeology Program at Carleton since 2014.
My work as an archaeologist has taken me to a lot of interesting places over the years. I’ve done fieldwork in Jordan, Guatemala, and the US, and traveled more broadly to visit and study archaeological sites on five continents. The one place I keep coming back to, though, again and again, is Greece. My research in Greece focuses on long-term social change in a variety of regional contexts, mostly through team-based international survey projects like the Mazi Archaeological Project and the Small Cycladic Islands Project. I also wrote a book called Societies in Transition in Early Greece, which focused on central Greece in the Late Bronze Age and Early Iron Age—the very cusp of history, in which we see the development of Greek city-states, writing and the poetry of Homer, and a more interconnected, multicultural Mediterranean world.
I’ve been coming to Greece for over 15 years. I’ve lived in Athens (off and on) for about four of them. While Greece is obviously a place where I work and study, I’ve also developed a deeply personal connection to the people, language, and culture (especially the food!). I’ve enjoyed sharing all of these things with Carleton students over the years, both on campus and on field projects. I couldn’t be more excited to introduce a new group of students to Greece on this OCS program. Πάμε! (let’s go!).
Alex Knodell, Associate Professor of Classics, Director of Archaeology
This program is a collaboration between Carleton and College Year in Athens (CYA), an international academic center in Athens, which will provide housing in apartments, custom programing, and elective courses with expert faculty based in Greece. Students will take one core course taught by the faculty director, Alex Knodell (CLAS 200 – Greece at a Crossroads: History, Landscape, and Material Culture), and choose two of the four supporting courses offered by CYA faculty (see below). This combination provides opportunities for students in all majors and backgrounds— students in classics, archaeology, and history, as well as students interested in contemporary politics, literature, international relations, economics, digital humanities, and European and Middle East studies.
This program provides a long-term view of the history, landscape, and material culture of Greece, from prehistory to the present day. It also provides practical training from several disciplinary perspectives, focused particularly on personal observation and the study of primary sources, whether geological features, archaeological objects, texts, or ethnographic interviews.
Within this framework, the program has three overarching goals:
- to examine the role of geography and regional history in situating Greece at a cultural crossroads at the intersection of Asia, Africa, and Europe;
- to understand what is unique about the history of Greece during its rich and storied past;
- to consider how particular methods of inquiry—archaeological, historical, literary, ethnographic—can be applied in a variety of site-specific contexts.
Students will take a core course on the history, landscape, and material culture of ancient Greece (including also forays into medieval and modern periods), then select from electives that allow for more detailed engagement the contemporary culture and recent past of Greece in its wider European and Middle Eastern context (especially with respect to migration and multiculturalism); archaeological methods in the digital age; or Greek and Latin literature in context. Students will all learn “survivor” Greek and there will also be the possibility to organize tutorials in Ancient Greek or Latin for students who wish to continue in those language sequences.
There are no prerequisites, but a previous course in Classics or the history of the eastern Mediterranean is strongly encouraged.
Required Core Course
CLAS 200: Greece at a Crossroads: History, Landscape, and Material Culture (6 credits)
This course provides a long-term view of the history, landscape, and material culture of Greece, from prehistory to the present day. While the monuments of ancient Greece are cultural touchstones, Greece has a remarkably diverse past, occupying a borderland between continents, empires, and cultures, both ancient and modern. Classroom study and on-site learning examine the wide range of sources that inform us about the Greek past (texts, archaeology, the environment), and focus especially on the stories told by places and things. Site visits in Athens and on trips throughout Greece highlight the importance of local and regional contexts in the “big histories” of the eastern Mediterranean.
Instructor: Alex Knodell
Humanistic Inquiry, International Studies; Classics: Archaeological Analysis; Archaeology: Core Courses
College Year in Athens Electives (choose two courses)
SOAN 327: The Culture of Modern Greece: The Ethnography of a Society in Transition (6 credits)
This course focuses on the culture(s) of Modern Greece from the 1960s onward, drawing on
authors from across the social sciences to identify key realms that make life in Greece distinct.
Theories and methods of anthropology will be discussed with special attention to how
ethnographies in Greece have changed over the past decades. Students will try on different
lenses as they conduct ethnographic research and examine the world through theories of
space, ritual, performance, gender, and symbol. This structure will allow students an
understanding of contemporary Greek society and a developing awareness of their own cultural
conditionings and ethnocentrisms.
Local Instructor: Aimee Placas
Social Inquiry, International Studies
CLAS 111: Myth and Reception (6 credits)
This course aims to familiarize students with important Greek mythological stories and figures
as represented in Greek literature and art. During the course students will be introduced to
select methods of studying and interpreting myths and will explore how myths helped the
Greeks organize their understanding of the world and approach issues and problems that
affected the lives of individuals and communities. Students will study the way in which myths
have been received, interpreted, re-imagined, and rendered into artwork, theatrical
performances, opera, and dance pieces in modern times and will discuss their relevance today.
Local Instructor: Nina Papathanasopoulou
Humanistic Inquiry, International Studies; Classics: Literary Analysis
ARCN 251: Digital Archaeology and Virtual Reality (6 credits)
Archaeological methodology has been changing at a revolutionary pace throughout the last
decade. Today old ways of recording and interpreting archaeological data are being replaced by
digital and computational methods, and virtual reality has become a key component of
archaeological projects and cultural heritage management (CHM) alike. The main aim of this
course is for the student to develop a comprehensive understanding of the new possibilities
offered by the most recent tools and methods in analyzing the past, as well as to acquire a
practical skill set, which will be useful in both archaeological fieldwork and cultural heritage
Local Instructor: Hüseyin Çınar Öztürk
Lab Science, Quantitative Reasoning Encounter (QRE); Archaeology: Core Courses
Borders, Boundaries and Human Mobility (Political Science)
CYA will provide housing, dining, and teaching facilities in Athens, and will organize hotels and transportation for excursions outside of Athens. Apartments are located in the Pangrati neighborhood of Athens and are within easy walking distance of CYA’s Academic Center, grocery stores, cafes and restaurants, bakeries, dry-cleaning shops, banks, and other amenities. A typical apartment has 2 to 3 bedrooms (each containing one or two single beds), and also includes a common area, kitchen (stocked with tableware and basic cooking equipment), bathroom and balcony. Apartments are simply but fully furnished, with clima units (heating/cooling) in each bedroom, and WiFi Internet access. Linen and a weekly housekeeping are provided by CYA.
The term will include on-site teaching at the museums and archaeological sits of Athens, as well as day trips around Attica and other areas close to Athens. The program will also include several multi-day trips to the Peloponnese (to visit sites like Olympia, Nafplio, Mycenae, Epidaurus); Central Greece (Delphi, Thebes, Meteora, Euboea); and the Greek islands.