Universiteit Leiden

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Research project

Diversifying Ancient History

During the ‘Diversifying Ancient History’ project in 2022-2023, Dr. Leanne Jansen and student assistant Nasreen Javanjoo critically assessed and revised the first-year Ancient History syllabus with a particular focus on Diversity and Inclusion (D&I).

Kim Beerden

The goal of the project was to work towards a first-year curriculum that both reflects the diversity of the ancient world and the diversity in sources, scholarship, (digital) tools and research methods within ancient history studies. Through the incorporation of these ideas and themes, another aim of the project was to work towards a programme that is better suited to fit the needs and interests of a diverse group of students.

The project has been positively received by colleagues in the Ancient History department and has yielded multiple positive results. Firstly, a new assignment on Greek (homo)sexuality was added to the syllabus. This assignment broadly explores the theme of sexuality in the ancient Greek world through a discussion of ancient (material and literary) sources and challenges students to think about the use of modern concepts and categories when studying ancient history. Secondly, various existing assignments were adjusted to include new (ancient) perspectives, recent scholarship, new sources, and digital tools. Finally, the project has also stimulated many important discussions about representation, diversity and inclusion in the curriculum and about how we can contribute to a more inclusive learning environment for new generations of students.

Due to the success of the project, the revision of the first-year syllabus will continue in the academic year of 2023 – 2024 under the supervision of Dr. Kim Beerden.

One of Rome's most famous mothers: Cornelia, Mother of the Gracchi. Painting by Angelica Kauffmann (1785). Wikimedia Commons.
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