9 November 2012

Staff in UQ’s School of History, Philosophy, Religion and Classics are using the lure of foreign countries to make the past come alive.

Dr Amelia Brown, Greek history and language lecturer, hosts three-week tours of Greece for students to explore the buildings, cults, myths and history of the country, and how they have shaped today’s world.

“We visit ancient ruins, markets, museums, theatres, sporting arenas, and other sites to retrace significant historical moments: it is a powerful learning
experience,” Dr Brown said.

Dr Janette McWilliam, lecturer in Classics and Ancient History and Director of the RD Milns Antiquities Museum, offers a similar study tour to Italy.

“We visit Rome, Pompeii and other archaeological sites to experience ancient art, literature, monuments, and modern and ancient culture. Students gain first-hand knowledge of how the Romans and Etruscans have influenced our lifestyle today,” she said.

She also encourages students to experience the foreign at home by handling ancient artefacts in the Antiquities Museum through volunteer and internship programs.

Dr Tom Stevenson, senior lecturer in Classics and Ancient History, brings home the past via the study of modern films covering the Bronze Age to Late

“We analyse the evidence and traditions underlying well known cinematic narratives to get a broad overview of ancient history: it’s a fascinating exercise.”

Taking the “country” to the people is Dr Caillan Davenport, lecturer in Roman imperial history.

“I organise Classical Languages outreach events for high-school students, featuring sessions on inscriptions, coins, manuscripts and literature,” he said.

“Greek and Latin languages are essential for understanding the ancient world and its impact on contemporary society, and these events provide a glimpse of what’s in store for future UQ students.”

But it is perhaps the work of Dr Dominic Hyde, senior lecturer in Philosophy, that would initially appear most “foreign” to the field of arts.

“I collaborate with teachers from three science Schools to present the core first-year science course Theory and Practice in Science.

“By introducing some basic philosophical assumptions, I encourage students to reflect on what scientific inference is, what makes it rational, and how the ‘scientific method’ actually works: arts and sciences are much more closely linked than we realise.”

For more information on the School, please visit: www.uq.edu.au/hprc/.

Media: Dr Dominic Hyde (07 3365 2578, d.hyde@uq.edu.au)