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Introduction to Classical Cultures

Federico Di Pasqua, Classics

Introduction to Classical Cultures

Both in the realm of new media journalism and scholarly teaching, the public discourse is investigating new strategies to make learning and broadcasting information more accessible for a broader audience. In various fields of the humanities, meanwhile, we are witnessing the proliferation of podcasts designed to inform and entertain at the same time.

Introduction to Classical Cultures is a video-podcast series about the Classics that takes advantage of motion graphic design to provide a smart and enjoyable overview of Greek and Latin literature. The series is aimed to update the teaching approach of the classics, bringing it closer to the rest of the humanities.

Subjects of the podcast-series will be the works of the most important Classical authors, which largely coincide with the course “Classical Cultures” offered in most universities in the United States. The six videos—three about Greek authors, three about Latin authors­—will cover the major literary genres of antiquity and will be in chronological order, so as to offer a general overview on Classical culture. Professional actor David Skeist will voice the scripts and Marta Discepoli will design and video-edit.

This project provides a new format for an outdated idea. DVD-documentaries, very popular in the past, are not suitable for social media platforms. Additionally, one frequently encounters online “homemade” videos of poor quality. To address this issue, Introduction to Classical Cultures shall provide a graphically engaging series—produced by Classics faculty—that can be posted, shared and go viral.

The videos will be available for free on YouTube. This serves a democratic purpose: as an open access resource, it will assuage the idiosyncrasy and elitism of classical studies. At the same time it will promote CUNY to a larger public and enhance its online visibility. Finally it will financially sustain itself through YouTube advertisement: thus the project will both make knowledge available to all and maintain a high quality.