We are excited to announce the new name of our program, now the Interdepartmental Program in Ancient Mediterranean Art and Archaeology (IPAMAA), effective beginning in the 2023/24 academic year. The decision to rename the program is one of several changes instituted over the last two years, following an exhaustive survey of current and former students on a wide range of topics. These reforms include the elimination of the GRE requirement for admission, modifications to our language and course distribution requirements, new mentoring and advising procedures, and a redefinition of the dissertation to include other formats besides the traditional monograph.

We undertook these and other changes in an effort to promote diversity in our field and to address the colonial heritage of our discipline. While the members of our academic community – including both faculty and current and former students – certainly believe in the continued value of the study of the cultures of the ancient Mediterranean world, including those of ancient Greece and Rome, we feel that the term, “Classical” has become increasingly problematic. It summons up notions of racial and ethnic superiority and of élite and exclusive social and academic traditions that the other changes we have made are all designed to combat.

We also feel our new name describes our field more accurately. At Michigan and most comparable universities, the cultures of ancient Greece and Rome are studied alongside those of the prehistoric Mediterranean world and of neighboring regions, such as Anatolia. What unites our communities is a geographical and chronological focus, and a specific set of research methods, rather than the valuation of the cultures we study as “classical.” By replacing “classical” with “ancient Mediterranean” and with the other changes noted above, we hope to make our program more welcoming to a wider array of students, and to send a message to the broader community of our awareness of the need for change.