Studying on Site
May Term courses give students an opportunity to study Roman art and literature in Italy
Art history professor Thomas Howe has been teaching Southwestern students about Greek and Roman art for years, but students taking his class on Hellenistic and Roman Republican Art this May will have a very different experience.
That’s because Howe will be teaching the class in Italy as part of a new partnership he has set up with the Vesuvian Institute, which is affiliated with the Restoring Ancient Stabiae Foundation. The Institute owns a building on the Bay of Naples that formerly housed a Salesian college. The building has classrooms, dorm rooms and dining facilities and is located near some of the most famous sites in the ancient world.
Howe’s class is one of two that will be offered in Stabiae over the May Term. Classics professors Hal and Pam Haskell will be teaching a class on Classical Literature in Context, which covers approximately the same time period as Howe’s art history class (second century B.C. through A.D. 100).
Howe said offering the courses in Italy will enable students to take advantage of the great museums and archaeological sites in the area. For example, he said many of the pieces of Roman art he talks about in his class are located at the National Archaeological Museum in Naples.
Before the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in A.D. 79, Stabiae was the site of some of the largest Roman villas in the ancient world. Howe has been excavating there since 2000 and serves as coordinator general for the Restoring Ancient Stabiae Foundation. He plans to give students a tour of the archaeological site, as well as the nearby ruins at Pompei and Herculaneum. The program will also include a weekend trip to Rome, where students will have the opportunity to visit sites such as the Forum and Capitoline Museums and the Vatican.
The two courses are open to students from all schools that are affiliated with the Associated Colleges of the South.
Katy Nave, a sophomore studio art and art history major, is among the students who plan to take advantage of the opportunity to study in Italy. She already spent last summer assisting Howe with his ongoing excavation and architectural recording at the Stabiae site. This May, she plans to take the Latin Literature in Context class at Stabiae and then stay to work with Howe again over the summer.
“I am very interested in the art and historical culture of the area and absolutely loved it last summer,” she said.