Dr. Kristen B. Waha, Grove City College assistant professor of English is one of a select group of scholars nationwide chosen by the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) and Harvard University’s Center for Hellenic Studies to participate in an Ancient Greece in the Modern Classroom seminar “The Ancient Greek Hero.”
CIC and the Center for Hellenic Studies selected 20 faculty members out of 42 highly competitive nominations to participate in the seminar in July in Washington, DC.
Waha teaches courses on nineteenth-century British literature, as well as comparative world literature survey courses and a Civilization and Literature course that is part of Grove City College’s Humanities Core, which is designed to provide every student with a solid liberal arts foundation.
“Strengthening the teaching of the classics at colleges and universities is of critical importance. This seminar series addresses the challenge of keeping alive in undergraduate education classical texts that generations ago were read and understood by every college graduate,” CIC President Richard Ekman said. “We believe that Kristen Waha will contribute to the seminar in meaningful ways and learn much that will energize teaching when she returns home.”
Gregory Nagy, Francis Jones Professor of Classical Greek Literature and professor of comparative literature at Harvard University, and Kenneth Scott Morrell, associate professor of Greek and Roman studies at Rhodes College, will lead the seminar. The program is funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
“The seminar is focused on conceptions of the ancient Greek hero and heroism in literature, philosophy and history writing. I hope to broaden my knowledge of Greek conceptions of individual and communal excellence in order to better compare these traditions from antiquity alongside those from medieval, early modern and modern Western literatures. It is important to understand how Greek understandings of the good life intersect and contrast with Christian conceptions of human flourishing,” Waha said.
“As an instructor of world literature, I welcome the opportunity to deepen my understanding of Greek thought and literature in its cultural contexts, especially so I can best represent Greek literary authors alongside those from other world literature traditions. As someone trained in the field of comparative literature, I am committed to striking a balance between reading works within a particular culture’s questions and norms and uncovering human shared values or potential influences among authors across different eras and cultures,” she said.
For more than ten years, CIC has collaborated with the Center for Hellenic Studies to provide seminars on teaching the classics for small and mid-sized independent colleges. The seminar is ideal for faculty members who have been trained in other disciplines and who seek opportunities to explore major classical texts and learn new ways to teach these texts to undergraduates.
The Council of Independent Colleges is an association of 769 nonprofit independent colleges and universities, state-based councils of independent colleges and other higher education affiliates that works to support college and university leadership, advance institutional excellence, and enhance public understanding of independent higher education’s contributions to society.
Harvard University’s Center for Hellenic Studies in Washington D.C. was founded “to rediscover the humanism of the Hellenic Greeks” and brings together a variety of research and teaching interests centering on Hellenic civilization in the widest sense of the term, encompassing the evolution of the Greek language and its culture as a central point of contact for all the different civilizations of the ancient Mediterranean world.