Critical Ancient Greek
What can the study of ancient Greek teach us about canonical texts, from the Iliad to Heraclitus to Plato’s Republic, that have made the language a recurring touchstone for thinking about poetics, politics, philosophy, and psychology? In Critical Ancient Greek, students will undertake the formal acquisition of ancient Greek, while attending, throughout, to reception history, keywords, and approaches to reading and interpretation. We’ll begin with the alphabet and basic morphology, before proceeding to complex grammar and syntax, rhetoric, the history and theory of textual transmission and reception—and, by program’s end, the translation of canonical texts. As we go, BISR faculty in philosophy, literature, and psychoanalysis will lead seminar sessions exploring critically the contexts in which literary and philosophical Greek emerged and its utilization across discourses. Our aim is not only to learn a language, but also to learn how to read: How can we understand the linguistic strategies, keywords, and concepts that structure classical Greek, and that remain central to philosophical, political, and psychoanalytic thinking today?
Critical Ancient Greek is organized across three, 12-week trimesters: Winter (February 11th-April 29th), Summer (May 20th-August 5th), and Fall (September 2nd-November 18th). Students may enroll in the program in its entirety or on a trimester-by-trimester basis. Our textbook will be C. A. E. Luschnig’s An Introduction to Ancient Greek, to be supplemented throughout by readings from Greek philosophical and tragic writers. The class size is capped at 12 students. Enrollees will have the opportunity to enroll in specialized reading groups, set to debut in Summer 2023. For more information and to enroll in Critical Ancient Greek, please visit the course page.
Supplementing Critical Ancient Greek, BISR Language Learning and Critique will be offering, later in 2023 and in 2024, trimester programs in Sanskrit, Arabic, and German—combining, in each case, formal language learning with the critical exploration of key literary, political, and philosophical texts and their continued reception and resonance in contemporary culture and thought into the present day.
In summer 2023, BISR Language Learning and Critique will also introduce specialized readings group, first for works in ancient Greek and later, as additional language courses are introduced, in Sanskrit, Arabic, and German.
If you have any questions regarding either Critical Ancient Greek in particular or the BISR Language Learning and Critique program as a whole, please email email@example.com.
Program Head: Bruce King
Bruce M. King‘s teaching and research focuses on the ancient Greek and Roman world. He is especially engaged by anthropological, psychoanalytic, queer, comparative, and materialist appraches to the ancient world. He has published articles on Homer, the pre-Socratics, Sophocles, and Plato, as well as on reception history. He recently co-authored an article on the queer reception of Achilles and Patroclus, including in the tv show Hannibal and the video game “Hades.” Forthcoming work includes a book on the Iliad, entitled Achilles Unheroic, and a co-edited volume on radical materialism and the archaic Greek world. Bruce has a PhD in Classics from the University of Chicago; he has been a Fellow of the Center for Hellenic Studies (Washington DC) and of the Reid Hall Center for Scholars in Paris, as well as the Blegen Fellow at Vassar College.
BISR Language Learning and Critique
BISR Language Learning and Critique is not simply a language learning program. Drawing on faculty working in an array of disciplines, from philosophy to literature to psychoanalysis, BISR Language Learning and Critique integrates intensive formal language acquisition with the critical exploration of the historical and ever-evolving cultural contexts in which languages and texts are read, understood, and applied. Over three, 12-week trimesters, students will study in an intimate setting, alongside a primary instructor and guest lecturers, working cumulatively through the alphabet, morphology, grammar, and syntax, all the while addressing overarching questions of translation theory and reception history. The program debuts with Critical Ancient Greek; courses in Sanskrit, Arabic, and German will follow.