University of Waterloo launches first interdisciplinary institute on Hellenistic Age

Tuesday, December 7, 2010
WATERLOO, Ont. (Tuesday, Dec. 7, 2010) - The University of Waterloo will launch the first institute in North America to conduct interdisciplinary research focusing on the Hellenistic Age, a period when Greek culture and influence spread from Spain in the West to India in the East.

The Waterloo Institute For Hellenistic Studies, which includes University of Waterloo and international researchers, will be officially unveiled at a celebration on Thursday, Dec. 9, from 7 to 10 p.m. at the Canadian Clay and Glass Gallery, 25 Caroline St. N. in Uptown Waterloo.

Spanning the period between the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC and the death of Cleopatra in 30 BC, the transformative Hellenistic age dramatically increased interaction between Mediterranean, European and Near Eastern cultures.

Researchers consider the 300-year period a forerunner of today's globalization. That's because for the first time in western history, political, social and economic changes in one region were felt all over the ancient world.

"The social, cultural, historical and scientific developments of the Hellenistic Age profoundly influenced later Mediterranean civilizations and have transmitted their influence into the contemporary world," said Riemer Faber, director of the Waterloo Institute For Hellenistic Studies and a professor of classical studies. "The institute will provide a significant multi-disciplinary focal point for national and international scholars to explore and disseminate knowledge on this cosmopolitan era."

Faber said the institute's future scholarship projects include exploring the impact of technological change on society and the socio-economic effects of an increasingly globalized world. These projects would benefit research on the contemporary world as well as on the ancient.

So far, some 60 scholars from around the world have joined the institute, forming a network of experts in the history, literature, material culture and philosophy of the Hellenistic period. The institute draws on an impressive wealth of Hellenistic research and teaching expertise in Waterloo’s department of classical studies.

As part of the launch ceremonies, the institute will host a three-day workshop to explore new interdisciplinary research opportunities in the history, literature and art of the Hellenistic age. One aim of the workshop, funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and Waterloo's faculty of arts office, is to establish the framework for future international collaboration in this area.

For more information about the Waterloo Institute For Hellenistic Studies, visit

About Waterloo

The University of Waterloo, located at the heart of Canada's Technology Triangle, is one of Canada's leading comprehensive universities. Waterloo is home to 30,000 full- and part-time undergraduate and graduate students who are dedicated to making the future better and brighter. Waterloo, known for the largest post- secondary co-operative education program in the world, supports enterprising partnerships in learning, research and discovery. For more information about Waterloo, visit


Riemer Faber, director, Waterloo Institute For Hellenistic Studies, 519-888-4567 ext. 32817 or

John Morris, Waterloo media relations, 519-888-4435 or

Waterloo news release no. 98

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