Alex Skufca at KOSMOS

Alex Skufca at the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin.

Alex Skufca at the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin.

"This summer I was selected to attend this year’s KOSMOS Summer University at the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. The topic was 'Globalized Classics' and brought together 'some 70 participants from around the globe for the study of the ancient world from a comparative perspective.' There were three sections: (1) an interdisciplinary seminar on August Boeckh, the namesake of the Humboldt’s Antike Zentrum; (2) five graduate seminar sections covering a vast range of topics; (3) a concluding conference which brought together some of the leading scholars in 'comparative classics.'

I participated in the group seminar called 'Pre-modern Society in a Global Comparison.' Led by Professors Peter Bang (Copenhagen), Walter Scheidel (Stanford), and Aloys Winterling (Humboldt), we discussed sociological ways to examine “pre-modern” states and cultures—not only Greece and Rome—and debated the applicability of social-scientific models to the study of history. My colleagues from all over the globe (China, Egypt, India, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, Russia, and the United States) and I examined and scrutinized evolutionary views of societal progression, 'connected' history, as well as “comparative” history in an attempt to see which models worked best. During the concluding conference, I was selected to represent our seminar in a final roundtable discussion.

Reflecting on my experience, I realize that there are few opportunities to expand my academic network as rapidly as I did in Berlin. Meeting some of the biggest names in the field is one thing, but connecting with other graduate students from across the world who share my interests is the greatest boon. Friendships made over coffee breaks and lunch hours will certainly come to shape my own academic path."


For more information on the program, click here: