Rome, the Eternal City, has been constantly inhabited from the 8th century BC to the present, thus making it one of the richest and most stratified living human settlement. This class explore Rome’s topography and its evolving relationship with power and society. To this end, the students are going to visit specific sites all around the city and analyze their connections to institutions and people, and evaluate their importance in the formation of Rome’s distinctive identity.
The course is divided into two modules, one per week. The first module, “Empire, Imperialism and Rome”, addresses the question of how power can impact, build and reshape a city. The students will visit ancient sites, such as the Roman Forum and the Colosseum, but also St. Peter’s Square and the modern EUR neighborhood, whose construction was promoted by Mussolini. What message do these building send to the city’s inhabitants, its visitors and even future generations?
The second module is called “Beyond Bread and Circuses” and addresses the question what does an urban society need to function? The students will learn about Roman aqueducts (which bring water for the city’s many fountains to this day!), city walls, religious buildings and temples, and lastly, the catacombs. These practical, religious or civic institutions are fundamental for every human settlement and the students are challenged to think about how their own nation, city or neighborhood has resolved to deal with them.
Overall, the course provides an introduction to Rome’s topography and landscape of power, but also allows students to reflect on how institutions and individuals express power through buildings today.
• Familiarize oneself with the study of topography as a tool to “read” modern and ancient cities.
• Learn about the history of Rome through the millennia.
• Learn how power, dominance and authority can be expressed through buildings and the reshaping of the landscape.
• Reflect on how modern (and ancient) societies and settlements deal with issues such as burial, access to water and food, and safety.
• Become a critical observer of one’s surroundings and the impact they have on our lives.
• Participate in discussions lead by the instructors on assigned readings and express one’s opinions in a constructive and clear fashion.
Prerequisites: All individuals – regardless of age, citizenship, disability, sex, ethnicity, gender identity, family and economic status, language, race, religious affiliation and socioeconomic status – are welcome in this class. Learning can only be a positive and fruitful experience if equal opportunities, respect for oneself and others, and kindness are present in the classroom. The instructor will adhere to these principles, as well as the students who choose to attend the class.
Brown’s Pre-College Program in the liberal arts and sciences, offering over 200 non-credit courses, one- to four-weeks long, taught on Brown’s campus. For students completing grades 9-12 by June 2019.Visit Program Page Learn How to Apply