Language & Literature
Greek verbal art, originating as it did in various performance traditions, orally transmitted and context-sensitive, forces us to question how the later notion of "literature" can even apply to it. To study it means also to challenge concepts of genre and form, audience and style, rhetoric and myth as they have developed in post-Classical eras. In order to do justice to these demands, over the magnificent range of Greek writing from all periods, the Stanford program requires two key intellectual commitments: willingness to undergo rigorous philological training and openness to analytical approaches of many kinds.
Core teaching faculty in Greek language and literature include Richard Martin, Natasha Peponi, Susan Stephens, Rush Rehm, and Andrew Devine. Stanford's approach to Roman literature is equally distinctive. The study of textual and verbal artifacts draws energy from a continuous dialogue with other approaches to the past. Our first aim is to offer a competent and grounded introduction to the interpretation of texts, with an emphasis both on the production of original research and on teaching practices; while we work on those aspects, and prioritize the intellectual and professional growth of PhD students, we encourage interaction with research on history, material culture, philosophy, and science, and of course with studies of Hellenic culture and literature.
Core teaching faculty in Latin language and literature include Alessandro Barchiesi, Grant Parker, and Andrew Devine. Training in both Greek and Latin is provided through intensive reading, with close attention to issues of textual tradition, grammar and syntax, dialect, meter, and discourse features. Analytical approaches are introduced within the framework of courses, and vary with the materials at hand. The template of curricula and choices is broad enough to accommodate many different preferences, but the recurring accent is the need to renovate our perception of Classical, canonic texts, with the help of modern theory and of developments in the study of culture and social practice. Hellenists and Latinists at Stanford are particularly interested in methods and results coming from discourse analysis, linguistic poetics, interpretive anthropology, political theory, social history, geography, religious studies, science, law, medicine, aesthetics and philosophy, urbanism, reception and translation studies--not so much as static contexts, but as resources for further questioning. Most of all, students are encouraged to form their own approaches.
To complete this degree program requires courses, residency units and examinations as outlined in our official document, the Stanford University Bulletin.