Prof. Laura Gawlinski takes a look at the newly renovated Epigraphic Museum in Athens and notes the ways in which museums are working to make their holdings more accessible for students, teachers, and the public.
Renovated Room 11. Molly Richardson (ASCSA/ SEG) introduces the EM to members of the Regular Program of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens.
How do we reconstruct the color palette of antiquity? What role did plants and flora play in the creation of this polychromy world? In February 2017, I arrived in Greece for a four-month research stay, based at the American School of Classical Studies at Athens. Like many academics, I had experienced Greece only in the summer, and the image in my mind was one of bare, rocky, sun-scorched landscapes, punctuated primarily by olives and pines. In those first February days, I explored my local surroundings, walking up into the urban pine forest which is Mount Lykavittos, adjacent to the American School. I was stunned to find the Lykavittos blanketed in wildflowers, climbing over one another in a tangled rainbow of plant life. This immediately challenged my notions of the landscape, and of the color palette of Greece.
Encouraged by the success of my Sparta course, I began designing a similar course on Athens. My hook was to make the syllabus a virtual blank slate, putting the power in the hands of the demos (in this case, the class). At the start of semester, the syllabus listed one test (the final), which constituted 100% of the grade. Policies and procedures were limited to those the university required, readings were broken down by week; otherwise, students were granted total democratic powers to structure the course. The demos could vote to add more assessments and course policies as well as define the day-to-day classroom experience, but, they would be held accountable for the material on the syllabus regardless of how class was structured.