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Study information

Applied Classics

Module titleApplied Classics
Module codeCLA3123
Academic year2023/4
Module staff

Dr Mathura Umachandran (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Module description

What is the value of classics and the humanities more broadly? What do they contribute to debates about contemporary issues? How do we articulate this? Through a series of workshops, this module will challenge you to think deeply about the role of classics in the modern world. Exploring both historical uses and contemporary applications of the classical past, you will consider the methodologies at work and the ethical implications of bringing material from the past to bear upon contemporary debates. At the heart of the module will be an innovative syllabus, co-created with students, that seeks to respond to your sense of the most pressing issues of our time, through topics as diverse as politics, conflict resolution, education, race, migration, sexuality and gender, the environment and climate change, health and wellbeing.

Module aims - intentions of the module

  • To provide new insights into the study of the ancient world and the interventions it can make in modern challenges and controversies
  • To reflect deeply and critically on the process of finding solutions to modern-day problems through the classical past
  • To understand how and to what ends classical antiquity remains relevant today and explore how to communicate the value of the arts and humanities more broadly

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Describe and critically analyse past uses and abuses of ancient material and models
  • 2. Demonstrate an advanced understanding of how the classical past can be used to articulate and negotiate modern issues, including the ethical implications of such uses
  • 3. Critically evaluate different methodologies for applying the classical past to contemporary challenges

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 4. Demonstrate critical and analytical skills which can be applied to a wider range of material and models from both ancient and modern contexts
  • 5. Demonstrate an understanding of historical and cultural differences, and an ability to interpret the ideas and assumptions of unfamiliar societies, including an awareness of one’s own assumptions and values

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 6. Demonstrate the ability to work with peers to co-create a syllabus and, with guidance, to co-direct your own learning
  • 7. Demonstrate skills in independent research and the development of research questions, including the ability to select appropriate methods and select and organise relevant material
  • 8. Demonstrate the ability to communicate effectively a strong and coherent argument in a style appropriate to your chosen format

Syllabus plan

Whilst the content may vary from year to year, it is envisioned that it will cover some or all of the following topics:

The syllabus will be co-created with students from the beginning of the module and will be responsive to the ever-changing concerns of the contemporary context. After some initial guided reflection on the public value of the arts and humanities, each week’s workshop will have a different thematic focus. Topics might include:

  • Politics
  • Conflict resolution
  • Role-modelling
  • Education and accessibility
  • Race and ethnicity
  • Migration and immigration
  • Sexuality and gender
  • The environment and climate change
  • Health and wellbeing

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled learning and teaching221 x 2 hour workshop per week
Guided independent study128Private study

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Close study of key primary material and relevant scholarship in class, with broader discussions of issuesOngoing1-6Oral feedback from peers and lecturer

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Annotated bibliography251500 words1-8Mark and written feedback
Essay OR presentation OR blog posts753000 word essay OR 30 minute presentation OR 2 x 750 word blog posts 1-8Mark and written feedback

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Annotated bibliographyAnnotated bibliography1-8Referral/deferral period
Essay OR presentation OR blog postsEssay OR presentation OR blog posts1-8Referral/deferral period

Re-assessment notes

Deferral – if you miss an assessment for certificated reasons judged acceptable by the Mitigation Committee, you will normally be either deferred in the assessment or an extension may be granted. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of deferral will not be capped and will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt at the assessment.

Referral – if you have failed the module overall (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 40%) you will be required to submit a further assessment as necessary. If you are successful on referral, your overall module mark will be capped at 40%.

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Basic reading:

  • Bate, J. (2011) The Value and Contribution of the Arts and Humanities. London: Bloomsbury.
  • Butler, S., ed. (2016) Deep Classics: Rethinking Classical Reception. London: Bloomsbury.
  • Hall, E. and H. Stead (2020) A People’s History of Classics: Class and Greco-Roman Antiquity in Britain and Ireland 1689 to 1939. London: Routledge.
  • Hardwick, L. and S. Harrison, eds. (2013) Classics in the Modern World: A Democratic Turn. Oxford: OUP.
  • Morley, N. (2018) Classics. Why it Matters. London: Polity.
  • Porter, J. (2005) ‘What is 'Classical' About Classical Antiquity?’ Arion vol. 13, no. 1: 27-61.
  • Rankine, P. (2019) ‘The Classics, Race, and Community-Engaged or Public Scholarship.’ American Journal of Philology, vol. 140 no. 2: 345-359.
  • Rood, T., C. Atack and T. Phillips, eds. (2020) Anachronism and Antiquity. London: Bloomsbury.
  • Zuckerberg, D. (2018) Not all Dead White Men. Harvard: Harvard University Press.

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Key words search

Classics, reception, contemporary debates, social justice

Credit value15
Module ECTS


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NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date