Welcome

The interdepartmental Classical Studies Program (CLST) at Columbia University (contact information here) brings together faculty from Art History and Archaeology, Classics, History, and Philosophy. Students in the program pursue a Ph.D. or an M.A. in Classical Studies, meeting requirements in three fields relevant to the study of Greek and Roman antiquity as well as the larger Ancient Mediterranean. Together with the Center for the Ancient Mediterranean, Classical Studies is the home of a vibrant community of scholars working in ancient studies at Columbia University. Learn more…

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Classical Studies Essay Award

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Beginning with the academic year 2013/14, CLST introduces the Classical Studies Essay Award, an annual competition that awards $300 to the best paper in Classical Studies. Students are asked to submit research papers, which are assessed for academic originality and the quality of the scholarship involved in researching and writing the paper. This year’s deadline is May 31, 2014. Your paper should be 15-25 pages. Please submit it by email to Chair and Vice-Chair of the program.

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Call for Applications: Classical Studies Summer Fellowship 2014

The interdepartmental Classical Studies Graduate Program at Columbia, CLST, is offering fellowships to be used as additional summer funding for CLST Ph.D. students. The fellowships are intended as an additional financial resource to GSAS summer funding as well as other fellowships you may have. We wish to support academic projects that will significantly further your education. Applications must include a description of your project, its relevance to your educational path, as well as a budget. Plausible projects include: research in libraries and archives, travel to excavation sites or other places of relevance to your studies, and language training, and more. At the end of the summer, recipients of the fellowship must submit a report. Two recipients will be awarded a small additional sum for outstanding completion of their summer project. Relevant submissions at the end of the summer include completed conference or journal papers, dissertation proposals that are innovative and especially promising, dissertation chapters, and more. Please send your application by email to the Chair and Vice-Chair of the program by the end of Spring Break, March 23.

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Classical Dialogues: Ancient Theories of Color by Katerina Ierodiakonou

As part if its Classical Dialogues series, the Classical Studies Graduate Program CLST at Columbia University is pleased to welcome Professor Katerina Ierodiakonou from the University of Athens and Université de Genève. On March 7, 2014, 11am-1pm, Professor Ierodiakonou will discuss two papers from her research on Ancient Theories of Color, “Aristotle and Alexander of Aphrodisias on the notion of ‘the transparent’” and “The ancient Atomists on the nature and perception of colours.” Comments by Simona Aimar (Oxford) and Colin Webster (Columbia). Location: Philosophy Hall 716, Columbia University. Please see below Professor Ierodiakonou’s abstract.

Ancient Theories of Color

Abstract: Ancient views on color have been among the oldest ones discussed in the secondary literature and are among the most contested. There are many perspectives from which scholars have investigated what the ancient Greeks had to say about colors: classical philologists have been interested in the origin and use of Greek color terms; archaeologists have examined the ancient painters’ accounts of the choice and mixing of colors; historians of medicine have studied ancient writings on the anatomy and physiology of the human eye, while historians of science have tried to reconstruct Euclid’s and Ptolemy’s optical theories on the propagation of light. My main interest is in the ancient philosophers’ theories about what exactly makes things colored and how we perceive colors; that is to say, my main interest is in the metaphysics and epistemology of color. The book I am currently working on discusses the views about the nature and perception of color presented by the Presocratics, especially Empedocles and Democritus, by Plato and Aristotle, by the Hellenistic philosophers, by the Aristotelian commentators and by Galen. The questions on which I focus are the following: What is, according to different ancient philosophers, the nature of color? Is it something which characterizes an object independently of whether it is perceived, or is it something which exists only insofar as it is perceived? If it is something which characterizes an object independently of whether it is perceived, what is it precisely that makes an object have the particular color it has? On the other hand, if it is something which exists only insofar as it is perceived, what does actually happen when we perceive a particular color?

In its Classical Dialogues series, the interdepartmental Classical Studies Graduate Progam CLST at Columbia University invites authors of recent work in ancient studies that is exemplary for the kind of study that CLST aims to foster. All faculty and students at Columbia and beyond are cordially invited. CLST students are required to read carefully at least one chapter or article in advance and prepare questions and comments for discussion.

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