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Level 6

6AACAR30 Engaging Greece: Experience the Past and Responding to the Present

Credit value: 30
Module convenor/tutor 2019/20: Professor Gonda van Steen
Teaching pattern: 20 x 2 hour classes
Availability: Please see module list for relevant year
Assessment: Exam (75%), Creative Response (25%)

Students are reassessed in the failed elements of assessment and by the same methods as the first attempt.

The modules offered in each academic year are subject to change in line with staff availability and student demand, there is no guarantee every module will run. Module descriptions and information may vary between years.

‘Engaging Greece’ exposes students to Greece through the ages, with an emphasis on Greece’s postclassical legacies and on experiential forms of classical reception. The course is as much about Greece being engaging as it is a call for students to engage with Greece, to experience the country’s culture and to respond critically and creatively. The study of the reception of the Classics, by the Greeks themselves through time and/or by other historically and culturally diverse recipients, is therefore a key objective of this module. The course aims to introduce the students to multiple and versatile forms of reception and will focus on an experiential engagement with Greece’s later legacies, especially with its medieval, Byzantine, Ottoman, and modern cultural production. ‘Hands-on’ experience of Greece through the ages will be covered by way of the students’ participation in the Rumble Memorial Fund trip to Greece during KCL’s reading week (in late October). This five-day trip aims to introduce the students to two key places in the diachronic cultural history of the Greek world: the modern capital of Athens and one of the islands of the Eastern Mediterranean (Rhodes, Cyprus, to name two important locations).Course topics will cover cultural legacies and legacy wars, literary appropriation and creative reception, creative rewriting/reworking for global audiences, reception and the visual and performance arts, and also post-trip feedback sessions and impact assessments. Course areas of specialization aim to extend the students’ learning, experiencing and responding, beyond language and literature to encompass monuments and key objects from Greece’s rich material culture and centuries-long archaeological praxis. Additionally, ‘Greece’ will be understood as an entity that transgresses geographical as well as cultural or genre-defined boundaries, to make room for a more interdisciplinary, cross-cultural and transnational experience to which the students will be asked to critically and creatively respond.The course is designed to complement different degree programmes offered at the BA level within the Department of Classics. Although focusing on issues of classical reception and on Byzantine through modern Greece, it also makes use of various classical original texts and of classical archaeological sources and sites in a concerted effort to situate the culture of the Hellenic world in its most diverse historical and material contexts.


In 2019-20, this module will include a fieldtrip to Greece (currently scheduled for Friday 25 – Thursday 31 October 2019): this will be guided by the module leader and others in Athens, and will include access to sites and monuments usually closed to the public. 

The flight on Friday 25 October departs from London Gatwick at 14:40, and students will be responsible for getting themselves to the airport by 13:00 at the latest.

All expenses for departmental students will be paid thanks to the generosity of the Department’s Rumble Fund. Students are responsible for getting to Gatwick; lunches are not covered by the Fund. 

The module 6AACAR30 Engaging Greece cannot be chosen without participation in the field trip unless this is discussed with the module convenor in advance.

The number of students on the course is capped at 12 with priority given to certain students.

Due to the complexities of organising the trip (including organising access to sites and monuments closed to the public), undergraduate students will be asked to confirm their place on the trip by submitting a signed declaration of intent (please note the following deadlines do not apply to MA students taking the 7AACM877 version of the module): 

  • The declaration form will be emailed to students who are allocated a place on module 6AACAR30 by the Department, after students are notified of their allocations in May.
  • You must sign and return this form to the Department of Classics – in PDF format to – no later than 31 May.
  • If you fail to confirm your place on the trip by 31 May, the place will automatically be offered to another student.  You will be reallocated to alternative modules once the timetables become available in August 2019.  This will mean that your choices will be limited.

Students who fail to confirm their participation will be de-selected from the module; any student who wishes to change this module selection from June 2019 would likewise be required to pay a penalty of £100 so that their place can be offered to another student.

NB: Students should be aware that the Department currently intends to offer up to 2 places to Graduate Diploma students registering on 6AACAR30 Engaging Greece, and up to 6 places for MA students taking 7AACM877 Engaging Greece. These students will join the undergraduates on the trip.

The 2019-20 Rumble fieldtrip & this module are only open to KCL Department of Classics students. The module is not available to intercollegiate students, Study Abroad students or students from any other KCL Department.

Suggested introductory reading

This is suggested reading and purchase of these books is not mandatory.

  • Beaton, Roderick. Greece: Biography of a Modern Nation (Penguin Random House, 2019)
  • Clogg, Richard. A Concise History of Greece. 3rd edn. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2013.
  • Leontis, Artemis. Culture and Customs of Greece. Greenwood Press, 2009.
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