Johns Hopkins University Student Discussion
Race Before Race: Ethnic Difference in the Ancient Mediterranean is a First Year Seminar at Johns Hopkins University which explores premodern constructions of race, ethnicity, and ethnic difference, focusing on Asian, European, and African civilizations around the Mediterranean basin between 1000 BCE – 500 CE. It will introduces students to the multiculturalism and polychromy of the ancient Mediterranean world, hones their ability to interpret and contextualize primary sources (both literary and visual), and survey ancient and modern ways of theorizing human difference. It also examines the role that classical Greece and Rome played in modern racecraft and Western imperialism, along with recent calls to ‘decolonize’ the curriculum. This course hopes to give students a wider historical frame in which to understand race and racism, as well as the cultural politics around "classics," revealing both as dynamic and historically situated discourses that have been used to exert power, to include or exclude, and to build communities. The course is taught out of the Classics department, but students of all disciplines are welcome to enroll as they do not declare majors until the end of their first year at Johns Hopkins University. Students were invited to join this recording as an alternative course assignment.