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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.

People specializing in this area

Upcoming events

Meet the Greeks

Aug 21, 2017

Museum of Classical Archaeology

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Roman Britain

Aug 07, 2017

Faculty statement concerning ethnic diversity in Roman Britain

Access, Outreach and Alumni Administrator

Jul 28, 2017

Details of how to apply for this post are now available online. Closing date: 25 August 2017.

British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship scheme

Jul 18, 2017

Details of how to apply for this scheme, for entry in 2018, are now available online.

Inaugural Lecure: Professor James Clackson

Jun 06, 2017

Watch again: the inaugural lecture by Professor James Clackson, Professor of Comparative Philology, " 'Dangerous Lunatics’: Cambridge and Comparative Philology".

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