Comparative Ancient Poetry

Comparative approaches to “Classics” have been motivated by diverse concerns and factors: The initiative for comparative work with Classics has often originated outside of Classics departments, as scholars of more marginalized fields find that incorporating Greek or Latin literature into their own areas of expertise heightens awareness of and attention to their work. Classics scholars, on the other hand, have incorporated reception and comparative studies to undergird the enduring relevance of our field. Both approaches, internal and external to “Classics,” are limited by the lopsided expertise of scholars who attempt to draw comparisons with limited training in the languages or traditions of the compared corpus.  

This inherent limitation of divided disciplines demands a new, collaborative approach to scholarship on the ancient world, particularly in the study of ancient literature which depends so heavily upon expertise in multiple languages. Collaboration between departments would enable scholars to pool their language resources and training to develop a more rigorous and inclusive study and pedagogy of ancient literature. Additionally, the shrinking academic job market in the humanities demands that junior scholars be proficient in broader approaches to world literatures and interdisciplinary conversations. Indeed, such a pedagogical approach would be extremely advantageous to future students of the humanities and other fields who will engage with an increasingly globalized culture and workplace.

Our aim is to create a collaborative environment where we may explore the utility and aims of comparative approaches to ancient poetry, roughly divided by genre. While we would like to explore further genres in future semesters, our intention is to begin in Fall 2022 with the most ancient genre–poetry–and explore its manifestations throughout the “Antique” and “Classical” periods of various civilizations, with a focus on Greco-Roman, Sanskrit, Ancient Near Eastern, and Classical Chinese literature. Though the organizing members of this group are based in the Classics department, we hope to pursue a decentralized approach in which all members can offer their own expertise.

Organizers: Julia Paré (G2, Classics; [email protected]), Thu Truong (G2, Classics, [email protected]

Meeting Schedule

Spring Semester:

Thursday, Feb. 16th - 4:30-6 pm-Cancelled

Thursday, Mar. 23rd - 4:30-6pm

Thursday, Apr. 13th - 4:30-6pm

Meetings will take place in 161 East Pyne.

Fall semester:

4:30-6.00pm 9/22 (161 East Pyne)

4:30-6.00pm 10/13 (161 East Pyne)

4:30-6.00pm 11/3 (161 East Pyne)

4:30-6.00pm 12/1 (161 East Pyne)


Spring semester: Five meetings – Schedule TBD