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Interdisciplinary Studies (X)

Many of the most exciting questions in the contemporary study of the ancient world cannot be adequately approached by the standard techniques of philology, philosophy, history or archaeology on their own. They require approaching ancient culture simultaneously with the whole range of disciplinary tools. ‘X’ or ‘Interdisciplinary Classics’ was founded in Cambridge to explore these questions at all levels of teaching and research, and offers what has rapidly become one of the most popular groups of courses in the Faculty. It capitalizes on Cambridge's unique range of intellectual resources to provide a different sort of classical study from that offered by other departments in Britain.

For undergraduates

Each year ‘X’ offers two part II courses, each of which takes a central issue in Classics, examining it from several different angles and through diverse genres of evidence (literary, visual, philosophical, linguistic, ancient and modern). Discussion is paramount: lectures are supplemented by two-hour classes in which areas of expertise are shared and ideas tested. Courses change regularly as the most pressing questions in contemporary Classics change. On offer at the moment are ‘Idols? Imagining Gods and Heroes in the Greek and Roman Worlds’ and ‘Prostitutes and Saints’. Previous papers include ‘Myth’, ‘Cultural Identity’, ‘Personal Politics’, ‘Time’, ‘Rhetoric’, ‘The Body in Antiquity’, ‘Death’, and ‘Sexual Ethics’. Many students also elect to do their third-year dissertation in an interdisciplinary area.

For postgraduates

‘X’ teaching, and the collaborations and debates that this has fostered, have helped produce some of the finest recent research and contributed greatly to Cambridge's outstanding reputation for the application of modern approaches to the study of the ancient world. Many successful Ph.D. thesis-projects have been directly inspired by it, and many others have reflected its influence. The Faculty is exceptional in having a large number of its members working on interdisciplinary topics (many of them with a ‘reception’ angle) at any one time.

Who are we?

Initiated by John Henderson and Geoffrey Lloyd in the 1980s, the 'X' Caucus has embraced a broad cross-section of internationally distinguished scholars known for their interdisciplinary interests. Below is a list of faculty-members whose research interests fall under 'X' and who contribute to 'X' teaching.

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Unveiling the Invisible: Analysing Roman pottery

Feb 25, 2021

Archaeologists Alessandro Launaro, Senior Lecturer, and Ninetta Leone, Research Associate, have been working as members of the Cambridge MACH group to develop mathematical approaches to the classification of Roman pottery, part of the “Unveiling the Invisible” project funded by the Leverhulme Trust.

The Faculty reports with great sadness the death of John Easterling

Feb 23, 2021

A Fellow of Trinity from 1958, and Secretary of Trinity College Council for very many years, John was a University Assistant Lecturer in Classics (Ancient Philosophy) before he was appointed to the Office of University Draftsman at the Old Schools. John died on 23 February after a long illness.

Facilitating school visits and learning Latin with MoCA

Feb 23, 2021

Justyna Ladosz, Education and Outreach Coordinator in the Museum of Classical Archaeology, explains how she continues to facilitate lessons for school groups whilst the Museum remains closed, and how the Faculty’s students continue to deliver the Learn Latin with MoCA project.

Rebecca Flemming has been appointed a Joukowsky Lecturer

Feb 23, 2021

Dr Rebecca Flemming, Senior Lecturer in Ancient History and Fellow of Jesus College, has been appointed as a Joukowsky Lecturer for the Archaeological Institute of America (AIA) for 2020-21. Rebecca also recently featured on BBC Radio 4’s In Our Time discussing the Justinianic Plague.

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