For over 130 years the American School of Classical Studies at Athens (ASCSA) has been the preeminent overseas research institution devoted to the advanced study of all aspects of Greek culture from antiquity to the present day. The broad mission of ASCSA has remained constant over its distinguished history: teaching; research; archaeological exploration; and publication and dissemination of research. Founded in 1881 by a consortium of nine American universities in collaboration with leading businessmen and built on land set aside for it by the Greek government, ASCSA was the first American overseas research center and is today the largest, along with the American Academy in Rome, in terms of its assets, programs, and constituencies.
ASCSA provides graduate students and scholars from a consortium of some 180 North American colleges and universities a base for research and study in Greece. These institutions with curricula in classical archaeology, classics, art, modern Greek studies, ancient history, and other fields, including the archaeological sciences, regard the outstanding academic programs and excavations of ASCSA as extensions of their own programs. With its extensive teaching programs, ASCSA is unique among the existing American overseas research centers under the umbrella of CAORC.
ASCSA is also a superb resource for senior scholars pursuing research in fields ranging from antiquity to modern Greece, in the humanities, as well as social sciences and hard sciences. ASCSA is proud if its tradition as an inclusive overseas research center with open doors to many students and scholars. The community of scholars at ASCSA comprises Americans, Canadians, Greeks, other Europeans, and also includes visiting scholars from Turkey, Romania, Bulgaria, Japan, and elsewhere. ASCSA operates two internationally renowned libraries, the Blegen, dedicated to classical antiquity, and the Gennadius, which concentrates on the Greek world after the end of antiquity. ASCSA also administers two major excavations and related research centers in the Athenian Agora and at Ancient Corinth; oversees other American excavations and research activities in Greece; publishes 8-10 scholarly books annually and a quarterly journal, Hesperia; and operates the Wiener Laboratory for Archaeological Science in Athens.
In addition, ASCSA’s digital library, available through the website, offers access to archaeological material from the School’s excavations at Corinth and the Athenian Agora and research materials from the libraries and archives to a wide audience. ASCSA presents lectures, both formal and informal, workshops and conferences on topics related to Greece and neighboring regions in all periods, enriching the academic environment and bringing new audiences to the School; the lectures in Cotsen Hall are videotaped and are available on ASCSA’s website.
ASCSA is governed by a Board of Trustees, and a special Board of Overseers advocates for and advises the Gennadius Library. In addition, every college and university in the U.S. and Canada is encouraged to participate in the governance of ASCSA by becoming a Cooperating Institution; there are now some 360 representatives of these institutions that serve on the School’s Managing Committee. This large, all-volunteer, completely democratic body is testimony to the esteem with which they hold ASCSA and its importance to North American students and scholars at all levels.