Universiteit Leiden

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Research programme

Classics (800 BCE−600 CE)

This research cluster aims to analyse and interpret the formation and transmission of Graeco-Roman culture by exploring the relationships between cultural products (texts, objects, practices) and their societal and historical contexts.

Ineke Sluiter

Cultural products are the primary means by which we access the Classical period; they constitute the foundation for the study of Graeco-Roman culture. The study of this rich period also requires critical reflection on its image in later eras. Our research therefore also explores the meaning and reception of the Graeco-Roman legacy in Western civilization. At LUCAS, we focus on the relationship between cultural products (texts, objects, practices) and their social and historical contexts. Our researchers use this approach to analyse and interpret an array of cultural products including literature, art and architecture, philosophical and religious ideas, and social, political, scholarly, and legal debates.

In the Classics research cluster, particular attention is paid to the processes of cultural formation and transmission, which took place at all levels of society and included widely diverse activities. This development process was shaped by individuals and groups, and influenced by political and social structures. The transmission of culture, however, always relates to groups: it is a collective phenomenon to which individuals contribute new forms or meanings to the cultural values that have been handed down to them. The tension between collective identity and the creative input of individuals is a central theme in our research.

Classics has repeatedly been voted Topopleiding (Programme of Excellence) in recent years, and ranks highly in international assessments. Classicists in Leiden organise their research within the context of the National Research School in Classical Studies, OIKOS, to which they contribute the largest local cohort of researchers. The OIKOS research programme consists of three broader programme lines and research groups. The field of Classics is characterised by strong unity and cohesion; it is common practice for both senior and junior researchers to actively participate in research groups. This is consistent with the aims and expectations of both LUCAS and OIKOS.

Connection with other research

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