Department of Classical and Near Eastern Studies — CNES

Department Description

The Department of Classical and Near Eastern Studies (CNES) offers students the chance both to major and to minor in the languages, literatures, and cultures of the Arabic speaking and ancient Mediterranean (Greek, Roman, etc.) worlds. These traditions and civilizations are living realities; they have shaped, and continue to shape, our world today. Students majoring in Arabic or Classics receive thorough preparation, from which they can advance to further study in a variety of areas: ancient, Middle Eastern, and medieval history; history of philosophy and art; comparative literature and linguistics; and a host of other fields and career tracks.

Our Undergraduate Programs feature major tracks distributed between two programs:

  • Arabic (language, literature, culture)
  • Classics, with majors in
    • Classics, Greek and Latin (Greek, Latin language/literature; Greek/Roman/Mediterranean culture)
    • Latin (language, literature, Greco-Roman culture)
    • Classical Civilization (Roman/Greek/Mediterranean culture)

Basic courses with readings in English are also offered for the benefit of all students University-wide. Our wide-ranging expertise allows us to help students pursue a variety of interests, while instruction in the spoken and written languages of the Near and Middle East has obvious and immediate relevance.

We pride ourselves in upholding the liberal-arts tradition that has set BU's Harpur College apart from the very beginning:

  • Small to medium-sized classes
  • Expert and attentive instruction
  • Courses demonstrating the interconnectedness of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cultures, and the relevance of those cultures in today's world

2016 Summer Scholars Program

For senior Kyle Welch, the summer of 2016 was dedicated to dismantling stereotypes through language.  The Arabic and French double major read the Qur'an line by line - analyzing all of the written language pertaining to love.   Full article below>>

Levin Grant Reception, Presentation: Lyla Cerulli, 2016 Recipient

On Friday, 14-Oct of 2016, students and Faculty in Classics assembled to celebrate Lyla Cerulli, the first ever Levin Educational Enrichment Grant recipient. In addition to being fêted, Lyla treated those in attendance to a presentation on her Living Latin in Rome experience — more here....

Congratulations, Tina Chronopoulos!

We're happy to announce that Tina Chronopoulos was awarded a Solmsen Fellowship at the Institute for Research in the Humanities at the University of Madison/Wisconsin for 2016/17. The academic-year residential fellowship will allow Dr Chronopoulos to work on her book project entitled "The Voices of Ganymede: Latin Homoerotics from Medieval Europe".

Actor Tom Hiddleston, Cambridge Classics major, talks with Stephen Colbert

First Recipient of The Saul and Ruth Levin Educational Enrichment Grant Announced for 2015-16

Congratulations to Lyla C. Cerulli, Latin Major in Classical and Near Eastern Studies!  Cerulli will attend the Paideia Institute's Living Latin in Rome program in summer 2016.  She plans to continue in secondary Latin education through a Master's degree after receiving her BA.

After Cerulli returns, she will be asked to present images and memories of her experience to fellow students and faculty at a fall 2016 reception announcing and encouraging applications for the award(s) to be granted in 2016-17.

Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Classics, Saul Levin, (Binghamton University professor, 1962-1999) and Mrs. Ruth Levin, Binghamton University MST, 1972 have generously established The Saul and Ruth Levin Educational Enrichment Grant for Binghamton Classics majors.

For full details and further information >>

Congratulations to Megan F. Blance, Latin Major ~ Recipient of the Jordan M. Greenwald Memorial Scholarship Announced for 2015-16!

Funded through the generosity of the family of the late Jordan M. Greenwald (BA, Binghamton 1982), the award memorializes the achievements and aspirations of one of the most talented students ever to study classics at Binghamton University.  The Jordan M. Greenwald Memorial Library in Library Tower 1107 is also dedicated to Mr. Greenwald's memory.

NEW!  His World's The Stage

As a composer, producer, and playwright, Santino DeAngelo (class of 2013) knows a good story when he hears one. And for this up-and-coming artist and impresario, there is no better source material than ancient Roman and Greek tales of love, trickery and transformation. Full article>>>

Congratulations to John H. Starks, Jr., Associate Professor of Classical Studies, Chair of the Department of Classical and Near Eastern Studies ~ Recipient of the 2015 Chancellor's  Award for Excellence in Teaching!

John H. Starks Jr. is a highly respected, true intellectual who is a multi-talented, resourceful presence in the classroom, bringing the classics to life for his students. Perhaps the world's leading authority on actresses in the ancient Mediterranean, he has had a transformative effect on classics teaching at Binghamton.


CNES and the Power of SUNY

Read how Classical and Near Eastern Studies at BU responds to the marketplace while remaining grounded in the traditions of its constituent disciplines.


John StarksWomen played roles on Greek and Roman stages

Take just about any Greek Tragedy class and you’ll learn that, in ancient times, men in masks played the female characters; the implication being that women of ancient Greece and Rome just didn’t perform. | Read More


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Last Updated: 1/2/17