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Graduate Traveling Seminar to Egypt

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Graduate Traveling Seminar to Egypt

The Center for the Ancient Mediterranean at Columbia University organizes an annual graduate student educational tour in a Mediterranean region or specific country, led by professors from Columbia University and elsewhere. Through on-site presentations by graduate students and faculty members, the tour aims to give Columbia graduate students whose studies focus on the ancient Mediterranean world the opportunity to visit archaeological sites and museums that might otherwise be inaccessible, to expose them to the material culture, topography, and environment of a particular ancient Mediterranean culture, and finally, to foster the research and training of PhD students across a number of departments at Columbia. Prior to the trip, a series of preparatory seminar sessions will be led by the trip leaders in order to provide any necessary background and allow for the discussion of broader themes and any relevant literature. For more information about the Annual Graduate Tour, and for a list of places Columbia students have traveled with the generosity of CAM, please visit CAM’s website. 

Cities and Sanctuaries of Late Period and Greco-Roman Egypt

In 2019, the travel seminar was offered for the first time as a credit-bearing course through the Classical Studies program. Led by Ellen Morris (Barnard Classics) and Paraskevi Martzavou (Classics), the seminar's participants journeyed from the southern border town of Aswan to the Mediterranean port of Alexandria, studying the complex interplay of tradition and innovation on Egyptian society in the Late Period through the Greco-Roman Period and beyond. Research topics range from the theology of various deities (Amun, the Wandering Goddess, Osiris, Serapis, and Isis), the function and conversion of various sacred sites, as well as points of conflict, co-existence, and cultural interchange for various subgroups of Egyptian society. 

The graduate student participants will present their seminar papers at an upcoming conference scheduled for Friday, November 22nd, from 2:30-5:30 at the Italian Academy. More information, including a schedule of papers, will be available soon.

Course Description

Egyptians, Greeks, Libyans, Nubians, Babylonians, Persians inhabitants of Asia Minor and the Levant, Romans, Arabs, and travelers from all ends of the ancient Mediterranean world rubbed shoulders in the streets of Egyptian cities and occasionally etched their names and votive prayers in the outer walls if its temples. As peoples of different ethnicities and religions interacted, they influenced one anther in a manner that is clearly observable within the towns, temples, and tombs they constructed. By studying this dynamic multicultural period in Egypt’s history and visiting its monuments, participants will gain a strong sense of the various forces that have shaped Egypt’s past and present.

For more information, please visit the 2019 CAM Graduate Traveling Seminar Global Class page.