Summer Seminars

The Summer Seminars of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens are 18-day programs that focus on specific cultural themes, historical periods, or geographical regions. The Seminars are led by exceptional scholars of Classics and related fields. Under their direction, participants study texts, visit archaeological sites and museums, and engage with expert guest speakers in order to deepen their understanding of Greece’s landscape, history, literature, and material culture.

Past seminars include Greek Sculpture, Myth on Site, Greek Religion, and Finding the Spartans.

Application Deadline: January 9, 2023

2023 Summer Seminars

The Archaeology of Caves in Greece: Cult and Life through the Ages (June 5 to June 23, 2023)

Idaean CaveIn the last generation, numerous caves have been at the forefront of the most sophisticated applications of modern archaeological techniques, whereas their exploration has produced fascinating results regarding life and cult  stretching from the Paleolithic period to today. The course aims to introduce students to various aspects of archaeological and anthropological research focusing on caves. Caves can be thought of  living entities that actively shape local cultures as centers of cult rooted in Byzantium or post-Byzantium (e.g. Mega Spelaion in the Peloponnese, Moni Hypapantis at Meteora), as active arenas of archaeological exploration (Theopetra in Thessaly, Alepotrypa in Mani), as seminal nodes of complex conceptual, economic and religious landscapes (Idaian Cave and Psychro on Crete, Cave of the Nymphs at Pendeli) or as major archaeological sites doubling as tourist attractions with a major impact on local economies and societies (e.g. Alepotrypa).

Participants will investigate life and cult stretching from the Paleolithic period to today, through archaeological and anthropological research focusing on caves. Attention will also be paid to caves as carstic phenomena that have attracted various forms of human action (habitation, exploitation, cult, refuge, shelter) for millennia. The seminar will visit several caves as well as significant nearby sites and museums (e.g. Delphi, Athenian Acropolis). Taught by Professors Amy and Nassos Papalexandrou (University of Texas at Austin).

Locating Ancient Gender and Sexuality (July 3 - July 21, 2023)

This seminar puts participants on the ground to consider the space and place of gender in ancient societies. The program is structured through a comparative framework, studying social systems across space and time: analyzing Athens and its rivals of the classical period, Sparta, Corinth and Thebes. Throughout the experience, we will enable participants to reconsider each community’s discourse about gender and sexuality as we explore distinct practices that engendered shared spaces through daily practices and ritualized ceremonies in cities, sanctuaries, and liminal spaces.

Literary traditions will be brought into conversation with archaeological evidence and the landscapes of Greece. Various topics discussed in context will include representations of Athenian wives, daughters, and foreign women; pederasty, and other idealized relationships among men; tragic and comic stereotypes; gender dynamics and sexuality in prehistoric societies; the role of female power in Aegean societies. Taught by Professors Kate Gilhuly and Bryan Burns (Wellesley College).

Structure of the Program

The ASCSA Summer Seminars offer unparalleled opportunity to experience the ancient sites, monuments, and culture of Greece first-hand, focusing on specific topics, under the guidance of expert professors deeply familiar with the country and topic, and up-to-date with the latest research.

When in Athens, the Summer Seminars are based at the American School of Classical Studies at Athens. Roughly half of the program is spent in travel throughout Greece, and participants are housed in hotels. The program's commitment to presenting a detailed view of the seminar topic, and Greece's rich history, leads to long days and extensive walking in the hot Mediterranean summer. Participants should be prepared for a rigorous program of study.

Seminar participants receive exclusive access to archaeological sites and storerooms inaccessible to others and enjoy presentations on ongoing excavations by preeminent scholars. Internationally known scholars of Greek history, art, and archaeology will participate as guest lecturers in both seminars. Students are expected to give on-site reports, which they will prepare in their home libraries before the program begins. Committed to presenting a comprehensive view of Greece's rich history and archaeology, these seminars involve long days and extensive walking, often over uneven terrain, in the hot Mediterranean summer, where many days over 30ºC can be expected.

Want to know more? Visit the FAQ page!

A Typical Day

A typical day starts at 7:00AM and ends at 7:00PM. A group will typically visit 3 to 7 archaeological sites and/or museums during the day. Each visit
 may include a director’s presentation, tours by invited specialists, and one or more student reports. There is much standing and walking, many sites have steep inclines, and the Mediterranean summer sun is intense, so participants should be prepared for the rigors of the program.

In Athens travel is by walking or public transport (including the efficient metro system). On day trips and extended trips most travel is by private chartered bus with a licensed professional driver; island trips involve ferry rides. Lunch may be picnic style or at local eateries depending on the day’s schedule. Beach stops for swimming are scheduled whenever possible. Continental breakfasts are provided at the hotel every morning. Participants eat dinner on their own at local eateries within walking distance of the hotel. Dinner hour in Greece is typically later than in North America, with many people eating between 8-11pm.

Facilities

When Summer Seminars are based at the American School of Classical Studies at Athens.  Participants enjoy 24-hour access to the world-class Blegen Library, including a computer lab, wireless internet access, archives, and individual study space. Participants will be housing in Loring Hall while in Athens, and have access to our welcoming and supportive staff, home-style Greek cooking, gardens, and verandas that look out onto Mount Hymettus. The School also offers numerous opportunities for informal conversation, learning, and networking with professors and students working at the ASCSA, and with members of the international scholarly community in Athens.

Outside of Athens, participants will stay in hotels. Hotels are typically C class, clean and secure establishments with private bathrooms and A/C available. Most hotels have wi-fi. Continental breakfasts are provided at the hotel every morning.

Participants/eligibility

Enrollment is open to graduate and advanced undergraduate students, as well as to high school and college/university teachers of classics and related subjects. Each seminar is limited to twenty participants. The language of instruction is English.

The program is intellectually absorbing and can be physically challenging.  Museum visits may involve long periods of standing, while many site visits require hiking uphill in the Mediterranean summer heat.  Participants should be ready to work cooperatively as part of a close-knit Summer Seminar group.

Summer Seminar participants become part of the ASCSA alumni/alumnae community, with more than a thousand members around the world. Summer Seminar participation can open the doors to professional connections, mentoring, fieldwork opportunities, and scholarly support for years to come.

An attempt is made to ensure that the session includes undergraduate students, graduate students, high school teachers, and college professors, though there is no quota for any category. The American School of Classical Studies at Athens does not discriminate on the basis of age, color, disability, gender identity or expression, genetic information, national or ethnic origin, pregnancy, race, religion, sex, or sexual orientation when considering admission to any form of membership or application for employment.

Costs

The fee for each 2023 Seminar is $2,750. Fee includes tuition, room for the entire 18-day period, partial board in Athens, travel within Greece, and museum and site fees. International airfare, most meals outside Athens and weekends in Athens, and incidental expenses are the participant's responsibility. Financial aid is available in the form of ASCSA scholarships, awarded on the basis of academic merit; and many classical organizations also offer funding opportunities. More information at https://www.ascsa.edu.gr/programs/summer-session/ss-scholarships. (Rates and fees are subject to change without notice.)

Financial Support

The ASCSA offers a range of Summer Seminar fellowships.  Several national and regional Classics organizations also offer scholarships specifically for Summer Seminar participants. 

Click Here for Scholarship Information

Academic credit

The American School is not a degree-granting institution. No grades are given for its programs, nor are transcripts provided. An optional final exam at the end of each seminar can given (upon discussion with the Seminar Director), and the director of a seminar will, upon request, write a letter to the member’s home institution recommending that credit be granted, provided that the member has satisfactorily participated in the program and passed the final exam. Inquire about course credit option.

Application

Deadline for the online application and two recommendations will be January 9, 2023. 

Link to the online application: https://ascsa.submittable.com/submit/115820/ascsa-summer-seminar-application-18-day-sessions

Admission to the Summer Seminar is granted on the basis of academic performance and letters of recommendation. 

A complete application consists of the following:

  • Applicants must submit the online application form by the deadline. The application form includes: 
    • A list of colleges and universities attended, with dates of residence, degrees awarded or expected, and any honors attained; a list of any teaching or other professional experience (with institutions and dates or present employment). This information can be entered on to the application form itself, or uploaded as a document to the application.
    • A brief statement of your present attainments in the following subjects: Latin and Greek (specify amount of reading done in the original and in translation), ancient history, history of ancient literature, archaeology and history of art. This information should be uploaded as a PDF to the application. Note: such attainments are not a prerequisite or mandatory for participation.
    • A brief statement of your future plans. How does ASCSA participation in the ASCSA Summer program fit into these plans? This information should be uploaded as a PDF to the application.
    • A copy of undergraduate and graduate transcripts for student applicants (unofficial transcripts are acceptable); a copy of a current CV for high school teachers and college professors. 
  • Applicants for School scholarships can check a box on the application form to be considered for any School (internal) scholarships for which they are eligible. No extra paperwork is necessary. Review the scholarships online to learn about eligibility requirements, as well as external funding opportunities.
  • Applicants must arrange for two letters of recommendation to be submitted online. After the online application is submitted, the recommenders will automatically be sent instructions about how to upload their recommendation. Or, applicants may choose to send the request at any time by clicking the "Send Request Now" button on the online application form. Recommendations are due by the application deadline.

All applicants will be notified in February. 

Apply Now

Visas

Any U.S. or Canadian citizen who plans to spend more than 90 days in Greece and/or any other member of the Schengen block of countries (Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland) within a six-month period must obtain a special visa BEFORE entry into the Schengen zone. This visa must be issued by a Greek consulate/embassy in a country where the applicant is a resident, and the application process can take two or more months. Any participant who plans to combine, for example, a spring or fall study abroad program with the ASCSA Summer Seminars may exceed the 90-day limit.  For further information, click here.

Ready to apply?

The American School of Classical Studies at Athens does not discriminate on the basis of age, color, disability, gender identity or expression, genetic information, national or ethnic origin, pregnancy, race, religion, sex, or sexual orientation when considering admission to any form of membership or application for employment.
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Testimonials from previous participants

Hear about the Seminars

For additional questions or information:

Contact the Chair of the Committee on the Summer Sessions at ssapplication@ascsa.org.

Apply to lead a summer program

If you are a scholar who is interested in leading a Summer Seminar or the Summer Session, click here to link to more information about open positions. 

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