How do cultures and communities construct, preserve, re-purpose, and destroy spaces and places to achieve new political, social, or religious aims or to press new ambitions and sensibilities? How do urban and rural landscapes and sites come to play vital roles in the realization of political or religious ideas? How do cities as complex agglomerations of people, places, and activities develop, and by what historical forces are they shaped? How do historical legacies shape and enable yet also constrain a city’s present?

Centered in Rome, a city with one of the richest historical pasts in Europe, this program will provide students with diverse opportunities to explore these broader questions through the close examination of texts, images, sites, and landscapes produced during Late Antiquity, the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, and beyond. A central purpose of the courses in the program is to have students experience and explore the city and environs in-depth and to learn how to integrate this experiential knowledge with academic sources of insight and information. Each course will therefore have a significant number of site visits inside and outside Rome as well as assignments that require independent exploration.