History

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Image courtesy of Clifford Ando

The University of Chicago has offered instruction in Classics since its foundation. In the summer of 1892, William Rainer Harper, the first President of the University, hired Paul Shorey as Professor of Greek from Bryn Mawr College and William G. Hale as Professor of Latin from Cornell University. Harper himself taught classes in both Greek and Latin. In 1906, Classical Philology, a quarterly journal devoted to the study of the life, languages, and thought of the ancient Greek and Roman world, was launched under the managing editorship of Edward Capps. The Editor and Associate Editors continue to be appointed from faculty members at the University of Chicago, and the journal continues to be published by the University of Chicago Press.

Numerous distinguished scholars have served on the Department’s faculty throughout its history, including R.J. Bonner, Gertrude Smith, Oscar Broneer, Blanche Boyer, Benedict Einarson, Anne Pippin Burnett, Arthur Adkins, and W. R. Johnson.  Research and teaching on classical antiquity are carried on by faculty both inside and outside the Department, and members of the Department collaborate on courses, workshops, conferences, and publications with colleagues in Art History, the Committee on Social Thought, Comparative Literature, the Divinity School, English, Germanic Studies, History, the Law School, Linguistics, the Oriental Institute, Philosophy, Political Science, Romance Languages, and Theater and Performance Studies. Many of the Department’s current faculty also hold concurrent appointments in several of these departments.

The Departments current faculty are leaders in the discipline across many forms of contemporary inquiry:  poetry and poetics; embodiment and the material turn; the ancient economy; ancient magic; the science of archaeology; and the history of the book; to name only a few.  This work has been recognized with an extraordinary array of fellowships, prizes and invited professorships.  The Departments faculty have won the Charles J. Goodwin Award of Merit from the Society for Classical Studies four times; it includes three fellows of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation; four fellows of the American Council of Learned Societies; the faculty have been members of institutes for advanced studies at ten institutions in five countries; and serve as editors or members of editorial boards of journals in classical studies, literary studies, religion, law, anthropology and the history of knowledge.