During the 2019 winter quarter, my students and I explored ancient Greek and Roman authors’ views of ‘others’ (foreigners, ‘barbarians,’ people on the edges of their known worlds) alongside the current scholarship on ancient perceptions of race and identity. We considered the various ways that Greeks and Romans defined and delineated human difference. We also investigated how different groups/nations in the 19th-21st centuries used their views of Greek and Roman societies to make modern claims about race, white privileges, and power.


  1. Become familiar with theories of race and ethnicity from ancient Greece and Rome.
  2. Explore and understand the impact of these texts on the developments of modern theories of race and ethnicity through classical education and modern entertainment based on the ancient world.
  3. Learn the methods used to read, analyze and discuss ancient primary texts.
  4. Integrate these with analysis and discussion of secondary scholarship.


Students worked together in groups to research, plan, develop, create, and publish an on-line essay that explored some of the themes of the course. The posts below are the final result of these projects.

Final Student Projects

Ethiopians in the Ancient Mediterranean World

Rome’s Influence on Gallic Culture

Scythians: Who Were They Really?

The Palmyrene Identity

Classical World: Ancient Egypt

The Evolution of the German Identity

Investigating Ancient Roots of Antisemitism

A Dichotomy of Representation: Persian Classical Interpretation from Iranian and Western Perspectives