New Late Antique-Medieval Studies Courses Offered

This year, the Classics Department of the Claremont University Consortium preparing for the implementation of a new program, Late Antique Medieval Studies (LAMS). The new program will be headed by the Professor of Classics and History at Pomona College, Kenneth Wolf.

The Classics department offers “a multidisciplinary approach to literature and history,” taking into consideration not just the literary value of works, but also “the relationship between the political, religious, scientific, economic, and philosophical ideas presented… and how they continue to define the world today,” Wolf said. The existing Classics program in Medieval Studies ends “around the fall of the Roman Empire and the rise of Constantine,” he continues, “and this is where the LAMS program will pick up—around 300 C.E. [and continue to] 1200 C.E.”

Students in this program will be required to take three courses in Greek, Latin, or Arabic, which will give them an opportunity to read and interpret Classic texts as written in their original languages. These languages “[were] spoken by the educated people during the era we’re studying,” McKirahan said.

“LAMS will also produce students with an opportunity to study Golden Age Islam within its religious and historical context, a new educational discipline that will send shockwaves throughout the international community,” Wolf said.

The unpublished draft of the catalog entry explains, “Because each of the Mediterranean cultures in the Late Antiquity and Middle Ages practices an Abrahamic religious tradition, each saw itself as an heir to the rich secular culture of the Greco-Roman world that came before it…and [in this course], we will explore the fertile encounters between societies from a multidisciplinary perspective.”

Students will theoretically be able to major solely in Late Antique Medieval Studies, but the material will be applicable to students “in history, English, Religious Studies, PPE, or a number of other humanities,” said Classics Department Chair, Richard McKirahan. “There are synergies and connections between all of [the above disciplines] that will in some way relate to the LAMS curriculum,” Wolf added.

“The most important thing students should know now,” Wolf said, “Is that this program doesn’t exist yet. It’s still in its infancy.” Ideally, students will be able to enter the LAMS major in Fall 2012, though “all courses taken toward this major before [this time] will apply retroactively.”

Students seeking more information about this program should contact Kenneth Wolf via E-mail at

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