Classics 025. The Classical Heritage in America (4 units)

Classics 025. The Classical Heritage in America (4 units)
Melissa Stem

TR 12:10-1:30P
1020 Wickson Hall
CRN 74613

Course Description: How have Americans engaged with the classics, the legacy of the Greco-Roman world? We will examine how Americans have appropriated classical antiquity and explore how different groups have used ancient Greece and Rome in efforts to articulate political and cultural identities. We will track and study the diversity of American perceptions and uses (and misuses) of classical antiquity – the classical heritage in America – and thereby gain an understanding of American intellectual history.

The readings have been selected to introduce you to principal Greek and Roman texts, ideas, myths, and visual and physical culture that have been at the core of classical influence in America from the revolutionary period to contemporary America. We are not focusing on texts from antiquity and no prior knowledge of the texts is required. Instead, the readings address the authority invested in classical examples, as well as the refashioning of ideas and ideals in an American tradition. There will be several short papers, student presentations, and essay exams.

This 4-unit course meets GE requirements in American Cultures, Governance & History, Arts & Humanities, and Writing Experience.

Prerequisite: None.

GE credit (Old): Arts & Humanities and Writing Experience.
GE credit (New): Arts & Humanities, American Cultures, Governance & History and Writing Experience.

Format: Lecture/Discussion - 3 hours; Term Paper.


  • Margaret Malamud, Ancient Rome and Modern America  (Wiley-Blackwell, 2008)