Lecture Series 2019
We had a robust and exciting 2018-19 lecture schedule, thanks to generous funding from various departmental and University sources. It included two international speakers (Prof. Regina Hoeschele from the University of Toronto; Prof. Simon Goldhill from Cambridge University) and two US speakers (Prof. Jan Ziolkowski, Harvard University/Dumbarton Oaks, jointly sponsored with the Program in Medieval and Early Modern Studies; and Prof. Shadi Bartsch, University of Chicago). All four speakers are leaders in their respective fields, and the topics were varied and rich: a reading of Philip’s Garland epigrams in the context of Hellenistic politics; a radical new interpretation of Sophocles’ Antigone; a discussion of “holy fools” in a medieval German text; and an exploration of the character of Aeneas in Vergil’s Aeneid.
The lectures themselves were well attended, including undergraduate and graduate students in Classics, Religious Studies, History, English and Comparative Literature, and Medieval and Early Modern Studies. Several professors invited their undergraduate students to attend for extra credit, thus allowing non-specialists also to benefit from these public lectures. In addition to their public lectures, three of the visitors also participated in classes and seminars: Prof. Hoeschele in a graduate class on Hellenistic Poetry; Prof. Goldhill in a graduate class on Homer; and Prof. Ziolkowski in an undergraduate Medieval Latin class. Finally, Prof. Goldhill also gave a more informal talk just to the Classics Department on the ancient Jewish novel Joseph and Asenath. The students were all very pleased by the opportunity to speak individually with the visitors, and some made additional appointments to meet them in office hours or over coffee. It was an invaluable intellectual experience for them, as they begin to form professional networks.
Four additional speakers visited this spring, thanks in part to Paddison and Kenan Funds: in October, Prof. Jan Bremmer, visiting from the University of Groningen in the Netherlands (co-sponsored by the Elizabeth A. Clark Center for Late Ancient Studies at Duke University), spoke on “Eucharist and Agapê in the Later Second Century: the Case of the Older Apocryphal Acts and the Pagan Novel”. In April, we hosted Dr. Henry Spelman (Cambridge University, and a former UNC Classics undergraduate), speaking on the Epic Cycle in a graduate class on Homer, as well as Prof. Alex Dressler (University of Wisconsin-Madison) presenting his research on gender and sexuality to the Honors students in CLAS 363H: Greek and Latin Love Poetry in Translation. The year finished strong with two presentations by Prof. Linda Gigante (a UNC PhD from 1980) from the University of Louisville (co-sponsored by the Triangle Area Society of the Archaeological Institute of America), who spoke on “When the Romans Came to Louisville: The Formation of the Speed Museum’s Roman Collection.”
The department is very grateful indeed to those individuals and organizations who helped make this year’s lectures possible.