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Augustana professors Brandon Alakas and Geoffrey Dipple spearhead Classical History and Literature Tour

Augustana professors Brandon Alakas and Geoffrey Dipple spearhead Classical History and Literature Tour

Three-week Greece and Italy trip offered in Winter 2019

A new study abroad course will be offered during the 3-week in January 2019 and will take participants on a journey through Greece and Italy. The Classical History and Literature Tour is spearheaded and co-taught by Brandon Alakas, assistant professor of english, and Geoffrey Dipple, social sciences department chair.

The idea for the course has been in the works for about a year now. “It just so happened that Geoff has taught classical history, and I’ve taught classical literature, so this course kind of naturally grows out of our own teaching interests,” said Alakas. “I don’t know if there was a precise moment. The idea is just a natural collaboration. We work well together.”

The Classical History and Literature Tour is offered to senior level students and may count towards core requirements, experiential learning, humanities, social sciences or global and development studies.

There are no prerequisites for the course. “Some students will have taken classic history with Geoff or classic literature with me, but in no way have we designed the course so that students need to do readings or take certain courses in advance. The course is self-contained,” said Alakas.

The course begins in Athens and will take participants all over Greece. “We are going to travel to Delphi to see the famous oracle to find out our futures. We are also going to Sicily,” said Alakas.  

Alakas noted that Sicily is a place he knows much better. “I’ve been there in the past, and we are going to do some really interesting things. For example, we will go to an ancient Roman villa that belonged to an aristocrat who had close connections with the Imperial Court,” said Alakas.

Participants will also see Agrigento in Sicily, an ancient preserved city with temples. “We will actually be able to cross the physical geography of an ancient city and experience what it was like, how large it was, and what it was like to go from say, a temple to a marketplace.”

The trip is open to both Augustana students and members of the community. “The range could be from 12-30 people but, the more the merrier,” Alakas said. “North campus students are on a different time table but members of the community, if they were interested, could come. You don’t have to strictly speaking be an Augustana student.”

Alakas said that this course works perfectly with the new Augustana calendar. “I think this is exactly what the calendar is designed to do. It is designed to open up spaces for new learning experiences, and I think this course is a kind of model of what we can really do with this learning opportunity,” said Alakas.

“I think reading the texts and being in these spaces brings them to life in ways that we can’t recreate in our classrooms,” said Alakas. “I am a big believer in learning through place and recognizing the value of that place.”  

Online registration begins Feb. 15, and the deadline is March. 30. Students can apply through loid at  


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