Warren Wilson College News

Warren Wilson professor selected to participate in “The Odyssey” seminar

Warren Wilson College English Professor David J. Bradshaw is among a select group of faculty members nationwide chosen by the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) and the Center for Hellenic Studies to participate in a seminar on the Odyssey.

From a pool of 66 faculty members nominated, the CIC and the Center for Hellenic Studies selected 20 to participate in “The Odyssey,” a five-day Ancient Greece in the Modern Classroom seminar that will occur July 22–26 at the Center for Hellenic Studies campus in Washington, D.C. Leading the seminar will be 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. The seminar is funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

“Strengthening the teaching of the classics at colleges and universities is of critical importance,” CIC President Richard Ekman said. “The number of institutions that nominated faculty members to participate in the seminar is most impressive, and we believe Professor Bradshaw will play a strong role in the seminar.”

Bradshaw has, on three other occasions, been honored with fellowships from the Andrew Mellon Foundation for his teaching and research. He has received funding five times from the National Endowment for the Humanities for his work in the classroom. Primarily a scholar of 19th-century studies and Shakespeare, he has, since 1984, served as lecturer, adviser and scholar-in-residence for the North Carolina Shakespeare Festival. Each year he also manages to engage students with the study of classical culture, and he has published on Homer and Sophocles, as well as on Virgil and Milton.

“For years, Professor Bradshaw has been successfully teaching the Odyssey and other classical texts and generating among our undergraduates enthusiasm for the classics, even as he consistently pursues his own related research that keeps his courses relevant and vital,” said Paula Garrett, dean and vice president for academic affairs at Warren Wilson College. “He will carry to the seminar a great deal of research background and teaching experience, and he will return from it with additional energy and strategies for teaching important classical texts.”

Designed for non-specialists, the seminar will address the challenge of keeping alive in undergraduate education classical texts such as the Iliad, Odyssey, Homeric Hymns, poetry of Hesiod and Histories of Herodotus that a generation ago were read and understood by every college graduate.

This seminar will offer an opportunity to examine the many dimensions of the Odyssey in its various historical contexts and explore how the poem (to be read in translation) can be studied in courses that address a variety of literatures and disciplines. Participants will study diverse topics, ranging from the exchange of luxury goods to the adjudication of disputes arising from athletic contests. Along with providing information and background for understanding Homeric poetry in its ancient contexts, the seminar will devote a substantial part of each day to reading and analyzing the poem itself.

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