Classics Department Mission & Diversity Statements

Mission Statement:

The Department of Classics at the University of Pittsburgh is dedicated to studying and teaching the rich history of the ancient world including literature, language, art, rhetoric, politics, and philosophy—a history that profoundly shaped and reshaped our world through its reception in the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, and Modernity. The department represents a core discipline in the humanities, and its intellectual contribution reaches far beyond language proficiency. As the foundation of a traditional liberal arts education, Classics participates in the broad interdisciplinary conversation that addresses pressing questions of the present by opening a unique viewpoint from the distant past.

The thorough appreciation and critical examination of this perspective contribute equally to our self-knowledge as individuals and as a community of nations, offering in-depth understanding, novel insights, and lasting inspiration. In preparing our students to embark on their various careers, the department

  • develops students’ skills in oral and written communication and in critical thinking,
  • fosters an understanding of the formative power of language and material culture,
  • instills in students a historical awareness of how the environment they live in has been shaped by the civilizations of the remote past,
  • raises awareness of the questions, answers and methods of ancient thinkers, and
  • promotes interdisciplinary approaches and global perspectives.

In carrying out its mission, the department is committed to creating an inclusive and welcoming environment for all who share an interest in the study of the ancient world.

The past has no borders; it is open to all.

Diversity Statement:

The Classics Department at the University of Pittsburgh is guided by our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion in all that we do, including our hiring, teaching, and curriculum development. In particular, the department commits to building and supporting a diverse faculty and student body and promoting an equitable, inclusive, and welcoming environment in and out of the classroom. 

As a department, we acknowledge the exclusionary history of the field of Classics, and we are committed to actively challenging elitist attitudes in our field today and to supporting scholars from backgrounds traditionally excluded from the study of the classical world. To build a diverse faculty and enrich our curriculum, the department is determined to recruit candidates from underrepresented groups.

We are furthermore committed to engaging and serving Pitt’s diverse student body to the fullest extent possible. With this goal in mind, the department has been developing innovative courses, revitalizing our existing curriculum, and hosting events and programs that involve students outside the classroom. By encouraging students to engage with the rich diversity of identities in both the ancient and modern worlds and to incorporate inclusive teaching methods into our courses, we are creating a community that fosters a meaningful learning experience for students of all backgrounds.

A selection of faculty, student, and departmental projects and initiatives promoting diversity and inclusion within the Classics Department and the field of Classics are:

  • “Interrogating the Hidden Curriculum: First Steps for Designing Inclusive and Accessible Courses.” Workshop sponsored by the Graduate Student Issues Committee at the 116th Meeting of the Classical Association of the Middle West and South, May 2020, Dr. Ellen Lee. 
  • Representing Race in the Ancient Mediterranean,” Archaeological Institute of America Iowa Society Lecture Series (virtual), 2020, Dr. Maggie Beeler.
  • Teaching Race and Material Culture in the Ancient Mediterranean,” Archaeological Institute of America, Critical Conversations on Race, Teaching, and Antiquity Webinar Series (virtual), 2020, Dr. Maggie Beeler.
  • Global Classics (Routledge 2021), Dr. Jacques Bromberg. 
  • Marginalised Populations in the Ancient Greek World: The Bioarchaeology of the Other (Edinburgh University Press, 2022), Dr. Carrie Sulosky Weaver.
  • Marginality in the Ancient Greek World: Race (course), Fall 2022, Dr. Maggie Beeler.
  • “The Future of Book Reviews: Best Practices and New Directions for Authors and Editors,” Society for Classical Studies/Archaeological Institute of America Annual Meeting panel, 2023, Rhea Classical Reviews (co-founded by Dr. Maggie Beeler). 
  • “Teaching an Antiracist Archaeology of the Ancient Mediterranean,” in Ethics in Practice (S. Costello and S. Lepinski, eds.), American Society of Overseas Research, Dr. Maggie Beeler and Nadhira Hill (forthcoming).
  • “From Pandora to Psychopathy: A History of the Concept of Evil.” Course taught every other Spring semester, Dr. Christian Wildberg.
  • Antiquity Now (course), Spring 2023, Dr. Ellen Lee.

Syllabus Statement:

The Classics Department at the University of Pittsburgh is committed to building and maintaining an equitable, inclusive, and welcoming community in and out of the classroom. In our classes (including this one), you will be part of a learning community that values engagement with the rich diversity of intersecting personal and cultural identities in both the ancient and modern worlds. Find out more about the department’s commitment to diversity here [link to diversity statement] and our available scholarships and other resources here. The past has no borders; it is open to all.