The Classical World is always with us. The history and culture of Classical Antiquity have passed down to us through generations of thinkers: writers, artists, scholars have worried about the Classical past and the lessons that it can teach us. The Classical legacy has shaped modern thought. Consequently, the Classical has shaped the modern. This Masters by Research leads students to explore that legacy and to develop skills in research and methodology in this fascinating and growing field of intellectual history.
The Masters is structured so as to provide students with a training in research skills. These skills can be applied in further study (for a PhD) or in researching in other fields. The centre-piece of the experience is the writing of a major piece of individual research in Classical Reception. The taught course (Making the Classical Past) is taught in the first term and prepares students for the dissertation by introducing a whole range of methodological and theoretical issues in the study of Classical Reception. These are explored further in term two and three, during which students will be engaged in research work for their dissertation. Students will be guided in their dissertation through a number of seminars and presentations and supported by expert advice from the teaching team and their own designated advisor.
The Royal Holloway team has special expertise in literary-theoretical, philosophical and political receptions of the Classical world. Professor Richard Alston works in political theory and the history of the city. Professor Ahuvia Kahane and Dr Efi Spentzou work on artistic, literary and philosophical receptions, with a particular interest in literary theory.
The Masters by Research builds on recognised expertise at Royal Holloway in the Classics and Theory and the Classics and Comparative literature and is associated with a thriving research centre (The Centre for the Reception of Greece and Rome).
Core course units:
Making the Classical Past (40 credits)
You will be introduced to a range of theoretical approaches to Classical Reception organised in three inter-related themes: The Reception of Myth; Empire and City and Philosophy, Poetics and Form. You will explore issues relating to gender, post-colonialism, radical politics, political theory, urban design and theory, aesthetics, critical theory, and time. You will have the opportunity to deploy a range of material from fine art, cinema, poetry, philosophical tracts and political writings. The course provides a thorough introduction to the theories underpinning research in Classical reception studies and is assessed by three research reports (one on each strand) and an essay.
Dissertation (140 credits) You will be guided in selecting a topic in the first term and that topic will be refined during that term. From term two onwards, the teaching focus will be on the dissertation, with individual sessions with supervisors, detailed planning and feedback, and presentations to tutors and others in the group. The support is designed to allow student to make the transition from undergraduate studies.
The dissertation will give an opportunity for the students to develop an extended research project in Classical Reception. The dissertation will be an extended study of a subject or theme in Classical reception. The subject or theme may relate to an author, a literary or philosophical genre, or an issue of political or philosophical or literary importance in which the Classical has been a significant element in the discussion. Students will be prepared for the dissertation by individual and group sessions with supervisors and through the core course, Making the Classical Past
On completion, the student will be able - Research a project
- Present a research project in extended form according to the formats and styles appropriate to the academic discipline
- Understand, evaluate and explain methodological problems in a chosen area of Classical Reception
- Understand, evaluate and explain intellectual traditions derived from the Classical world
- Identify research issues and appropriate methodologies for the discussion of those issues.
- Discuss different approaches to Classical Reception and Intellectual history
- Explore the impact of the Classical tradition in modern intellectual life
- Exploit and use appropriate bibliographical resources
On completion of the course graduates will have:
-- a detailed understanding of the role the classical tradition has played in intellectual debates in the modern era -- an advanced knowledge of a variety of critical approaches to the Classical Reception -- enhanced time management and organisational skills including working to deadlines, prioritising tasks and time management the ability to use research resources, libraries and archival materials appropriate to the field of study.