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Applicable for the 2020-2021 academic year.

Classics-History-Politics Website

Advisors; Professors CRAMER, FULLER, NEEL

The Classics–History–Politics major offers students interested in the Western intellectual tradition the opportunity for multidisciplinary study supported by training in languages central to that tradition. It culminates in a senior thesis requiring students each to address a major problem in the history of ideas in its historical context. The CHP major is highly flexible, allowing students to fulfill its requirements through varied options within the respective departments. Individuals’ programs, however, must be carefully chosen in consultation with CHP staff so that courses within the constituent disciplines form an integrated whole fully supportive of their eventual senior projects.

Major Requirements

All students opting for this major will complete an array of courses establishing their familiarity with the major political, social, and intellectual developments of the Mediterranean and Europe from antiquity to the contemporary world. Further, all will explore the Western tradition’s ways of interpreting its past by attention to both classical and subsequent models. Students’ historical and historiographical coursework will be distributed among the three constituent departments. Meanwhile, they will develop skills in at least one classical and one modern language to the point that they are able to use each in independent reading and research. Declared CHP majors in all undergraduate years will participate in an informal seminar meeting once a block, in which they establish intellectual community with their peers and advisers in discussion of significant texts outside their course material.

Finally, all CHP majors will complete substantial projects of research and criticism integrative of their experience throughout this program; their respective theses will be enriched by consideration of the primary sources in which they are based in the original languages, where possible.

Students may choose as primary advisers for their respective thesis projects any faculty members in a constituent department; other members of the college faculty may be invited to consult on or advise theses by student petition and approval of the CHP staff. One of the major’s core advisers, however, will always serve as first or second reader of thesis work, and advisory faculty will annually approve and, as appropriate, grant honors for all theses in classics–history–politics. 

REQUIREMENTS — Entry (2 units):

Students may enter the major after courses in Classics, Political Science, History, or the cognate disciplines of Art History, Philosophy, or Religion, as approved by the major advisors.


Ancient and modern language (to level of proficiency as individually determined by CHP faculty).

Normally, language proficiency will be understood to be the ability to read and respond to literary, historical, and philosophical works in either classical Greek or Latin (or, if appropriate to students’ interests, Hebrew or Arabic) and a modern European language.

History of ideas (6 units):

Students’ historical requirement will regularly be fulfilled by the completion of at least one unit in each of four periods (antiquity, Middle Ages and Renaissance, modernity, and the contemporary world), including at least two units of political science. Because suitable political science courses frequently address multiple historical periods, students will consult with their advisers about the appropriateness of particular syllabi to the respective period requirements, sometimes fulfilling two historical requirements with paired, parallel political theory courses. Although students may petition to substitute courses omitted below — for instance topics courses of special interest — for elements among the core CHP offerings, the following list will optimally support their development through the program:

  1. Antiquity: History 213/Classics 250 Greek Foundations/Athenian Democracy, Classics/History 216 Roman History I, Classics 226/History 227 Roman History II, Classics 222/Political Science 234 Freedom and Empire: The Drama of Ancient Politics.
  2. Middle Ages and Renaissance: History 274 Making Europe: Medieval Culture and the Framing of European Identity, History 275 Renaissance and Reformation: Crisis and Dissent, History 312 Crusade and Reform in Europe's Long 12th Century. 

III.  Modern Period: History 249 Women, Children and Men, History 255 Nature and Society, History 277 Europe in an Age of Absolutism, History 278 Europe in the Age of Revolution, History 287 Enlightenment Culture, History 288 Intellectual History of Modern Europe (2 blocks), Political Science 205 Foundations of Political Economy, Political Science 246 Politics in Literature, Political Science 292 American Political Thought, Political Science 270 Liberty and Equality, Political Science 371Political Thought from Kant to Nietzsche.

  1. Contemporary Period: History 289 The Age of Ideology, History 290 World War II and its Aftermath, Political Science 203/Studies in Film 205: Topics—Politics in Film, Political Science 242 Conservatism and Liberalism, Political Science 372 Political Thought Since Nietzsche.

The following courses are or may also be appropriate to the major, and may be used to fulfill requirements in one or more of the respective chronological categories, depending on a given year’s syllabus, by permission of the respective instructors and the CHP advisers: Classics 222 Topics, History 200 Topics and 209 Topics in Ancient History, History 410 Advanced Seminar, Political Science 298 What Is Political Philosophy?, Political Science 344 Realism and Idealism in Political Philosophy, Political Science 408 Tutorial in Political Theory, Political Science 419 Seminar in Political Philosophy.

Theory of History (2 units):

Students may fulfill the historiographical requirement by completing both Classics 221/History 302 (Invention of History) and any of the following history or political science courses treating the tradition of historical analysis: History 399 Studying History, or Political Science 303 The Uses of the Past, offered as an independent study or summer readings course by Professor Fuller or Neel.

Major Seminar:

The seminar meets regularly throughout the academic year. It may offer presentations by CHP faculty and students or their guests, as well as common readings and discussions. Although the seminar offers no credit, regular participation will be considered part of the major’s requirements.

Senior Thesis (2 units):

Declared majors must submit well-developed thesis proposals to the CHP advisory group by the end of the junior year. Their two-block thesis requirement must be completed by Block 7 of the senior year, and may be designated on their transcript by the appropriate course number in the adviser’s discipline: Classics 322 or 401, 402, 411, 412 and 431; History 430 and 431; or Political Science 402 and 450.

Last updated: 01/21/2021