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Reading Rome : Adopt-a-site
Introduction Objectives Guidelines Schedule

In order to learn more about the Eternal City, members of the class will "adopt" Roman sites, be they monuments, locations, or buildings.

That is, they will choose the sites in consultation with Jackie and Dan, research them, and present them to their peers.


Sites will be chosen after midterm break, and the presentations will begin in the last days of class.  During our time in Rome, students will lead a tour of their site and make connections between the soft city of their research and the hard city of experience.


This assignment will enable students to

-- take ownership of a part of the city that suits their interests;

-- put what they have learned about art, architecture, and city planning to work; and

-- to connect Reading Rome (CC 265) and Writing Rome (TX 201).



In order to ensure that the presentations will be completed before the end of the semester, students will divide into teams:  six teams of three, and one team of four.  How the teams get composed is up to you:  you may opt to work with those you know well or with those you know only a little.  Regardless, if someone asks to team up with you, try to accommodate him or her.

You should email your team members to Jackie and Dan as soon as possible (and no later than the deadline listed below) so the ideal composition of teams can be maintained.  First come, first served.  For example, once a team of four has been formed, no other team of four should be allowed. That said, some flexibility is possible.  Furthermore, if one of yours peers is left out in the cold, your instructors will ask teams to include him or her.


Teams, once formed, should consult the Blue Guide for sites to adopt.  Acceptible sites may be from any period of the city -- ancient, medieval, renaissance, modern -- and may be either locations, monuments or buildings.  Monuments and buildings probably need no explanation; locations might include some of the piazze or open spaces in the city.

Sites must NOT have been previously covered in presentations by Dan or Jackie (e.g., not the Colosseum, St. Peter's Basilica, Theater of Pompey, among others).  Nor may they be too big or too small (the Campus Martius is too big; the Column of Phocas in the Forum, too small).  If the site belongs to the ancient city, it MUST still have a substantial presence in the modern city.

Sites should display a certain kind of Roman-ness, whether an iconic association with the city, a layering and multiplicity of uses, or a tendency to be interpreted along the same lines as other structures and places we have studied.  Sites should also, if possible, be convenient to the itineraries we will follow in Rome.  See the original TX-201 brochure for a firm overview of our day-to-day activities.  There's no sense picking a site in an area of Rome that we won't be able to access as a group.

Teams will choose three sites and email them to Jackie and Dan, who will consult and greenlight one of three sites.  Approval will be based on the criteria mentioned above, as well as whether or not the site has already been claimed by another team.


Once a site has been approved, teams should research it in some detail, using authoritative books or websites apart from the Blue Guide.  Books on the ancient city are already on reserve, and others on later periods will follow.

The presentations given by Dan and Jackie all semester should give you an idea of what to research.  At a minimum, teams should strive to answer the following questions:

-- What is the date and origin of the site?  If the site has undergone physical change over time, what are those changes?

-- How does the site compare, structurally, architecturally, and functionally to others we have studied?

-- What notable events occurred at this site?  Does the site's current function differ from its original function?

-- How can the site be read as being uniquely Roman?  What Roman memories does it evoke?

Research duties should be divided evenly among team members.  It might be useful to research indivdually and then meet collectively to discuss your findings.


With the research done, each team should craft a 12-15 minute PowerPoint presentation of its site.  All members of the team are responsible for providing content to the presentation, and everyone should have a say on the design.  Although it might fall to one team member to compile the presentation, the compilation is NOT a substitute for doing research.

The presentation should, in its way, provide answers to the Research questions (above).  In addition, the prersentation should also answer the following questions:

-- Why did the team choose this particular site?

-- What new things about the site does the team hope to learn while in Rome?

The PowerPoints should be clean, well ordered, and free of errors.  All images should be credited to a source (don't just grab images from the net without attribution), and a list of works consulted must appear at the end.  The presentations will be archived on our Resources page for reference while in Rome.

The delivery of the presentation must be divided up as evenly as possible among members of the team.  The presentations should be rehearsed -- not, perhaps, polished to the level of an MB 107 presentation, but thoroughly practiced.  In other words, you should not be giving the presentation for the first time (or even the second or third time) on the appointed day.  Team members may work from notes, but should not read from them like drones.  Eye contact is always appreciated.

Note that the time limit will be strictly observed in order to accommodate all of the presentations.  Teams will be cut off at the 15-minute mark, no exceptions.  If the presentation is not finished, it will be graded accordingly.

(Why so strict?  Originally, we had hoped that a formal write-up would accompany the presentations.  There's clearly no time for that, so rigor will be imposed on the presentation itself.)


Tuesday, April 5, 11:00 p.m (or sooner):  Team formation.

Email Jackie and Dan with the members of your team.  Any issues will be resolved the next day in class.

Tuesday, April 12, 11:00 p.m (or sooner):  Site selection.

Email Jackie and Dan with three possible sites, with rationale if necessary.  Sites will be confirmed the next day in class.

Wednesday, April 13 - Sunday, April 24:  Research.

Teams should follow the guidelines above and should try to be done with their research by the 24th in order to put enough time into their presentations.

Wednesday, April 27;  Friday, April 29; and Monday, May 2:  Presentations.

Here is the schedule of presentations (we're working in chronological order, from the earliest sites to the latest):


-- Theater of Marcellus (Liz, Nicole, Sarah R.)
-- Basilica of Constantine and Maxentius (Gia, Katie W., Shannon)
-- St. Peter's Square (Alissa, Carolyn, Jordan, Jordy)


-- Fountain of the Four Rivers (Allan, Melissa, Sandy)
-- Piazza di Spagna and the Spanish Steps (Erika, Guerry, Jovany)
-- Trevi Fountain (Katy C., Maria, Ryoko)


-- Protestant Cemetary (Amari, Emily, Sarah N.)

© MMXI Skidmore College Classics Department