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Welcome to the Department of Classical and Mediterranean Studies! Our department views antiquity as a dynamic world of creativity, exchange, and innovation with a long and rich legacy. Since 2016, when dozens of faculty from across the university gathered to re-envision the former Department of Classics as a new community with expanded horizons and a deeply interdisciplinary scope, our community of scholars, teachers, and students has flourished. Classical and Mediterranean Studies at Vanderbilt stands with several leading universities at the academic cutting edge.

We recognize the Mediterranean Sea and its contiguous regions, a central geographic zone with particular environmental conditions, as a uniquely important context for the development of society, economy, religion, and thought over the long term of world history. Our study of the Mediterranean world examines not only the achievements of the Greeks and Romans, but also their interaction with neighboring peoples, alongside the emergence of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam to the East. We also investigate the premodern to modern development of southern Europe, north Africa, and western Asia, which have variously responded to the ancient and medieval past, from Renaissance Italy to Byzantine Constantinople and beyond to popular culture today.

In teaching and research, our faculty promote the integrated study of past and present through both written and material sources—textual, artifactual, structural, visual, spatial—and they embrace advances in the digital humanities, the social and natural sciences, and critical theory. Our students thus have the opportunity to learn several ancient and medieval languages of Europe and the Middle East, to pursue a curriculum of interdisciplinary breadth, and to engage in experiential learning both on campus and abroad, including archaeological fieldwork. Moreover, our research explores the deep roots of themes and processes that are urgently relevant to our 21st-century experience: migration, ethnicity, diversity, violence, citizenship, health and disease, and urbanism.