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Archaia Qualification

The Archaia qualification provides intellectual opportunities to graduate students with wide-ranging interests in the ancient and premodern worlds, extending their studies beyond departmental lines and incorporating methods from the social sciences and the humanities. Students fulfill the requirements of their home department, with a course of study individually tailored to allow for rigorous interdisciplinary work via seminars and independent study. The qualification is open to graduate students at Yale. For details, see the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Programs and Policies. Use this page to submit an application: Graduate Qualification for Archaia Application.

The Core Seminar

Offered each year in the spring, the core seminar is normally a team-taught class sponsored by two or more of the cooperating departments. Specific topics vary, but each seminar has significant interdisciplinary and comparative dimensions emphasizing the methodologies and techniques of the fields involved. Students are required to attend the parallel monthly Ancient Societies workshop which features presentations by scholars from Yale and visiting faculty on problems related to the theme of the course.

The Workshop theme for 2019–2020 is “Images of Cult and Devotion in the Premodern World”, organized by Jacqueline Jung (History of Art) and Prof. Laura Nasrallah (Divinity). The associated core seminar meets in the Spring of 2020 and is being taught by Prof. Jung.

CLSS 845/ HSAR 641/MDVL 520/NELC 639/RLST 633
T 1:30 – 3:20

Jacqueline Jung (History of Art)

This seminar explores the use of shaped materials, mostly figural but sometimes aniconic, in the formal rituals and private devotional practices of premodern people. Various religious traditions are represented, including ancient Near Eastern and Greek polytheism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism, and early and medieval Christianity. We look at both the distinctive features of image use in these cultures and the links among them, including the connection of sacred images to the dead, the numinous presence of relics, the importance of concealment and revelation, the instrumental power of votive objects, the role of images in sacrificial rites, and problems of idolatry and iconoclasm.

List of previous core seminars

Alumni

Dr. Nicholas Kraus

Fritz Thyssen Research Fellow, Institut für Altorientalistik, Freie Universität, Berlin

2018 Ph.D., Assyriology

Dissertation: “Scribal Education in Sargonic Mesopotamia”

Photo of KrausThe Archaia program is an excellent complement to graduate studies in ancient and premodern fields at Yale. It provides a chance to interact on a regular basis with other graduate students and faculty from a diverse array of departments, and to study ancient cultures outside one’s primary focus. Participating in Archaia’s central component, the Core Seminar, greatly enriched my graduate experience at Yale, giving me new perspectives on my work and prompting me to think about my research within a larger historical framework.

I also profited a lot from participating in the Archaia field trip. The trip is another great opportunity to learn about the ancient world and meet other graduate students at Yale and abroad. The experience of visiting ancient sites and museums and simultaneously have lively and engaging discussions was unforgettable, and I cannot recommend such an opportunity enough. I found that placing myself in a physical location outside of a classroom, while being able to learn about and interact with ancient materials, made me more conscientious of the fact that the materials I work with are not only historical documents but also physical objects. The experience enhanced my doctoral research and still informs my research today.

For the past year, I have worked as a Fritz Thyssen Research Fellow on an edition of a lexical list from third millennium Mesopotamia at the Freie Universität in Berlin. In the coming two years, I will continue this work, and put it in a broader historical context, as a Humboldt Scholar. I cannot be sure that having obtained the Archaia Qualification helped me receive these two grants, but I would not be surprised if it did.

Jennifer Weintritt

Assistant Professor of Classics, Northwestern University

2019 Ph.D., Classical Philology

Dissertation: “Troy Story: The Greek Epic Cycle in Latin Epic”

Photo of WeintrittThanks to Archaia, I’m starting my first year on the job with three projects that have interdisciplinary appeal on my docket. The driving idea behind my dissertation, that narrative continuation can be used to shape literary canons, first took shape in an Archaia seminar on theories of authorship and canon. That same seminar also planted the seed for my capstone project, a comparison of the rhetoric of translation in a Latin text and Hellenistic Jewish text, which I am developing into an article. Over time, I collected case studies from Archaia seminars, lectures, and the summer study tour in Iceland to design an interdisciplinary course on global classicism, featuring units on Japan and Scandinavia. I had the opportunity to teach this class at NYU in my sixth year, and I expect it will be one of my regular offerings at Northwestern.

Graduate Student Initiatives

The Ancient Judaism Workshop

An Ancient Judaism research workshop, intended to offer a setting for graduate students to share their current research with their fellow graduate students. This workshop allows a sense of academic sharing within the program and offers a suitable setting for students to present their work for evaluation and feedback before presenting their work to the larger academic community. The workshop also invites faculty members to share with the workshop’s participants some of their most recent research projects, in order to allow a vibrant atmosphere for academic discussions among faculty and graduate students. The workshop occasionally invites participants from other universities to share their recent academic findings, especially if the person in mind has recently completed a research project of interest to the participants of the workshop.

The Pre-modern Gender & Sexuality Working Group (PGSWG)

The Pre-modern Gender & Sexuality Working Group (PGSWG) offers a forum for students and academic fellows to meet and tackle questions and problems with like-minded colleagues who have a shared interest in gender and sexuality as well as the pre-modern. Thus the group also addresses issues of sources, methods, and frameworks for the study of pre-modern societies.

The Archaia Forum (formerly YIWSA)

The Yale Interdisciplinary Working Group for the Study of Antiquity (the Ancient Societies Working Group) is a forum for graduate students who take the distant past as their object of study. Once a month participants gather to hear two students from different departments give papers that serve as the basis for a broader discussion across conventional disciplinary boundaries. Our scope for the term “antiquity” (or “antiquities”) is broad: we welcome students of cultures across the globe and periods across the ages to share their approaches to the past.  At the end of each semester we host a panel with faculty from Yale and elsewhere to provide comparative perspectives on a selected topic. Y​IWSA​ is soliciting presentations for the academic year 2018-2019.

The Late Antique Reading Group

is a monthly meeting of graduate students and faculty from across departments with the goal of fostering interdisciplinary discussions about the late antique world.

For more information or to be added to the email list please contact Emily Hurt (emily.hurt@yale,edu), CJ Rice (Carl.Rice@yale.edu), or Danny Eastman (Daniel.Eastman@yale.edu).

Participating Departments and Schools

Classics
East Asian Languages and Literatures
History
History of Art
Judaic Studies
Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations
Religious Studies
Yale Divinity School
Department of Anthropology 
Yale University Art Gallery