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University of Mississippi

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New Course Brings a Deeper Look into War

Posted on: May 10th, 2021 by erabadie

Two professors join forces to co-teach class rooted in literature and veterans’ reintegration into society

Is war an aberration or an integral part of the human experience?

That question lies at the center of LIBA 305: Humanities and the Experience of War, a new class that debuted this spring at the University of Mississippi.

Molly Pasco-Pranger, professor and chair of the UM Department of Classics, and Andrew Newby, assistant director of veteran and military services, co-taught the course this spring.

“We wanted to examine the different problems that arise upon the homecoming and reintegration of soldiers into society, examining the perspectives of both soldiers and civilians,” Pasco-Pranger said.

Newby, a Marine veteran, and Pasco-Pranger began collaborating on a joint vision to unify student veterans and nonveterans on the Ole Miss campus. Their class is the first to put the imprimatur of the university’s Office of Veteran and Military Services on a course in the liberal arts curriculum.

The key texts for the course are nearly three millennia apart but similarly themed: Homer’s ancient Greek epic poem “The Odyssey” and a graphic novel, “The White Donkey,” by Maximilian Uriarte, an American artist and writer who served in the U.S. Marine Corps.

While “The Odyssey” tells the story of Greek hero Odysseus and his 10-year struggle to return to his home kingdom following the Trojan War, “The White Donkey” portrays the experience of a Marine in the Iraq War and the frustrations of returning home to civilian life.

“We are looking at the ever-changing, never-changing aspects of war and conflict,” Newby said. “To explore how a text from 700 B.C., when “The Odyssey” was written, describes the same things as when a veteran in 2020 is trying to come home but doesn’t come home all the way.”

Although COVID-19 curtailed the community outreach initially planned for the course, the class lived up to expectations, Pasco-Pranger said.

“Our students have been brave and generous in sharing their experiences and listening to one another and to the voices of authors ancient and contemporary,” she said. “We’ve had frank and powerful conversations about the ways war shapes and transforms human lives, both for veterans and for their families.

“My wish for this course is that it creates a relationship between the students, the community and the Office of Veteran and Military Services, so that these conversations around the experience of war can continue to take place.”

Classics Class Explores ‘Who Owns The Past?’

Posted on: May 18th, 2015 by erabadie

Professor Hilary Becker and students visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Christie’s and other antiquities sites over spring break.

MARCH 27, 2015  | BY MICHAEL NEWSOM

classics class studying antiquities took an educational trip to New York over spring break.

Hilary Becker’s classics class studied antiquities in New York during spring break.

A University of Mississippi class focusing on “Who Owns the Past?: Ethics in Archaeology” recently traveled to New York to learn about the financial, legal and political considerations in the ongoing international battle to properly preserve ancient artifacts.

Hilary Becker, assistant professor of classics, teaches the 300-level class made up of Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College students. Over spring break, the class visited the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Fordham Museum of Greek, Etruscan and Roman Art, and Christie’s Department of Ancient Art and Antiquities, among other educational attractions in New York.

“This is an opportunity to look at ethical dilemmas, using current events and case studies involving antiquities and ancient sites,” Becker said. “There are cases like the famous Elgin Marbles that once graced the Parthenon, but they’re in London now. The fact that they’re in London means millions of people can see them each year, but the Greeks think they should be in Athens because they would attract people there, and the marbles are also part of their heritage.”

The Honors College provided funding for the course and the trip. It funded another class this semester, a cinema studies course on New York City in film, which also traveled there during spring break.

The archaeology class’ visit to New York gave students an opportunity to see antiquities and also to explore questions of who can or should “own” these objects and care for them. The sessions in New York, as well as the ongoing class discussions, expose students to the wide range of legal and ethical issues over ownership of cultural heritage.

Preservation issues have recently made global headlines. The terrorist group known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, is looting artifacts and selling them on the antiquities market and also destroying cultural sites in the process. The money they make from the looting of historically important pieces helps to fund their terrorist operations.

ISIS is only one group responsible for plundering historical sites. Scholars, curators, archaeologists and others are battling this problem by trying to ensure artifacts are scientifically excavated with care to preserve information about the dates and locations in which those pieces were found. This information is often lost when artifacts are illegally and haphazardly removed.

“You can buy a cuneiform tablet through eBay, but it could be that it was looted by ISIS and, very indirectly, you could be funding ISIS,” Becker said. “Everyone agrees we don’t want to fund ISIS. That’s the worst case, but at the very least, if you have an undocumented object without a pedigree, far too often, it was probably looted from some site and it’s now devoid of context. … If you have that object out of context, you lose most of the information about it.”

The class also met with Nancy Wilkie, a professor emerita at Carleton College who serves on the Cultural Property Advisory Committee for the U.S. State Department. The committee advises the president and the State Department about cultural heritage and protects sites and archaeological objects around the world that are at risk of being looted.

Wilkie also gave a public lecture March 25 in Bryant Hall. She discussed looting and efforts to return those objects to their native countries.

The two classes were the fruit of proposals the professors submitted to the Honors College. The first was in 2013 and focused on the 2014 World Cup.

The experiential classes are an excellent opportunity for students, said John Samonds, associate dean of the Honors College. The college’s officials hope to continue funding special topics courses each semester.

“We want them to engage with the world, not just spectate,” Samonds said. “We try to develop these experiential courses that allow students to grapple with issues, particularly with the classics course. There weren’t just issues of archaeologists taking things from Greece or taking things from Peru 150 years ago and displaying them in other museums. This is going on right now.”

Samantha Lund, a senior from Biloxi majoring in international studies and French, said the class has helped her understand the increasing focus on where artifacts came from, in addition to their actual financial value.

“There are countless unforeseen consequences to the discovery, distribution and legitimization of artifacts that influence a number of aspects of a nation’s identity and reputation,” Lund said. “Both public and private institutions will go to extreme lengths in order to prove legitimate provenance for a particular artifact and also to mediate conflicting claims of property rights.”

Jessie Smith, a sophomore liberal studies major from Jackson, called the trip “unforgettable,” particularly the opportunity to visit Christie’s auction house warehouse. There, the class met with experts from the antiquities department and carefully walked around golden tea sets and other artifacts.

“I’m still in shock that we got to very carefully pass around a small, scarab-shaped piece of carnelian with a soldier carved in intaglio on the other side (circa 500 B.C.),” Smith said. “This experience of holding such amazing and ancient objects in our hands was something that many other trips could never provide. I’m eternally grateful for this opportunity.”

Class Explores ‘Who Owns The Past?

Posted on: March 31st, 2015 by erabadie

Hilary Becker’s students visit Metropolitan Museum of Art, Christie’s and other antiquities sites over spring break

MARCH 27, 2015  | BY MICHAEL NEWSOM

classics class studying antiquities took an educational trip to New York over spring break.

Hilary Becker’s classics class studied antiquities on a trip to New York over spring break.

A University of Mississippi class focusing on “Who Owns the Past?: Ethics in Archaeology” recently traveled to New York to learn about the financial, legal and political considerations in the ongoing international battle to properly preserve ancient artifacts.

Hilary Becker, assistant professor of classics, teaches the 300-level class made up of Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College students. Over spring break, the class visited the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Fordham Museum of Greek, Etruscan and Roman Art, and Christie’s Department of Ancient Art and Antiquities, among other educational attractions in New York.

“This is an opportunity to look at ethical dilemmas, using current events and case studies involving antiquities and ancient sites,” Becker said. “There are cases like the famous Elgin Marbles that once graced the Parthenon, but they’re in London now. The fact that they’re in London means millions of people can see them each year, but the Greeks think they should be in Athens because they would attract people there, and the marbles are also part of their heritage.”

The Honors College provided funding for the course and the trip. It funded another class this semester, a cinema studies course on New York City in film, which also traveled there during spring break.

The archaeology class’ visit to New York gave students an opportunity to see antiquities and also to explore questions of who can or should “own” these objects and care for them. The sessions in New York, as well as the ongoing class discussions, expose students to the wide range of legal and ethical issues over ownership of cultural heritage.

Preservation issues have recently made global headlines. The terrorist group known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, is looting artifacts and selling them on the antiquities market and also destroying cultural sites in the process. The money they make from the looting of historically important pieces helps to fund their terrorist operations.

ISIS is only one group responsible for plundering historical sites. Scholars, curators, archaeologists and others are battling this problem by trying to ensure artifacts are scientifically excavated with care to preserve information about the dates and locations in which those pieces were found. This information is often lost when artifacts are illegally and haphazardly removed.

“You can buy a cuneiform tablet through eBay, but it could be that it was looted by ISIS and, very indirectly, you could be funding ISIS,” Becker said. “Everyone agrees we don’t want to fund ISIS. That’s the worst case, but at the very least, if you have an undocumented object without a pedigree, far too often, it was probably looted from some site and it’s now devoid of context. … If you have that object out of context, you lose most of the information about it.”

The class also met with Nancy Wilkie, a professor emerita at Carleton College who serves on the Cultural Property Advisory Committee for the U.S. State Department. The committee advises the president and the State Department about cultural heritage and protects sites and archaeological objects around the world that are at risk of being looted.

Wilkie also gave a public lecture March 25 in Bryant Hall. She discussed looting and efforts to return those objects to their native countries.

The two classes were the fruit of proposals the professors submitted to the Honors College. The first was in 2013 and focused on the 2014 World Cup.

The experiential classes are an excellent opportunity for students, said John Samonds, associate dean of the Honors College. The college’s officials hope to continue funding special topics courses each semester.

“We want them to engage with the world, not just spectate,” Samonds said. “We try to develop these experiential courses that allow students to grapple with issues, particularly with the classics course. There weren’t just issues of archaeologists taking things from Greece or taking things from Peru 150 years ago and displaying them in other museums. This is going on right now.”

Samantha Lund, a senior from Biloxi majoring in international studies and French, said the class has helped her understand the increasing focus on where artifacts came from, in addition to their actual financial value.

“There are countless unforeseen consequences to the discovery, distribution and legitimization of artifacts that influence a number of aspects of a nation’s identity and reputation,” Lund said. “Both public and private institutions will go to extreme lengths in order to prove legitimate provenance for a particular artifact and also to mediate conflicting claims of property rights.”

Jessie Smith, a sophomore liberal studies major from Jackson, called the trip “unforgettable,” particularly the opportunity to visit Christie’s auction house warehouse. There, the class met with experts from the antiquities department and carefully walked around golden tea sets and other artifacts.

“I’m still in shock that we got to very carefully pass around a small, scarab-shaped piece of carnelian with a soldier carved in intaglio on the other side (circa 500 B.C.),” Smith said. “This experience of holding such amazing and ancient objects in our hands was something that many other trips could never provide. I’m eternally grateful for this opportunity.”

Classics Class Explores ‘Who Owns The Past?’

Posted on: March 31st, 2015 by erabadie

classics class studying antiquities took an educational trip to New York over spring break.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A University of Mississippi class focusing on “Who Owns the Past?: Ethics in Archaeology” recently traveled to New York to learn about the financial, legal and political considerations in the ongoing international battle to properly preserve ancient artifacts.

Hilary Becker, assistant professor of classics, teaches the 300-level class made up of Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College students. Over spring break, the class visited the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Fordham Museum of Greek, Etruscan and Roman Art, and Christie’s Department of Ancient Art and Antiquities, among other educational attractions in New York.

“This is an opportunity to look at ethical dilemmas, using current events and case studies involving antiquities and ancient sites,” Becker said. “There are cases like the famous Elgin Marbles that once graced the Parthenon, but they’re in London now. The fact that they’re in London means millions of people can see them each year, but the Greeks think they should be in Athens because they would attract people there, and the marbles are also part of their heritage.”

Read full story here>>

Lecture: Preserving the Past—The Path to the Future

Posted on: March 19th, 2015 by erabadie

Screen Shot 2015-03-19 at 2.30.07 PMProfessor Nancy Wilkie from Carleton College on Looting, Repatriation and Archaeology in War Zones
Wednesday, March 25, 5:30PM
209 Bryant Hall.

Professor Wilkie, a member of the Cultural Property Advisory Committee of the U.S. State Department, is president of the U.S. Committee of the Blue Shield.

The lecture is presented by the University of Mississippi Department of Classics, Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College, and the Mississippi/Memphis Society of the Archaeological Institute of America. For information about accessibility and accommodations, please contact Dr. Molly Pasco-Pranger at mpranger@olemiss.edu and 662/915.7097.

 

Dr. Aileen Ajootian Named ASCSA Whitehead Professor

Posted on: March 19th, 2015 by erabadie

Dr. Aileen Ajootian, professor of classics and art, has been selected to serve as Elizabeth A. Whitehead Visiting Professor at the American School of Classical Studies in Athens for 2014-2015. In this prestigious position, Dr. Ajootian will reside at the American School and continue her research project treating several large but fragmentary Roman architectural sculpture programs excavated in the Forum at ancient Corinth. Upon completion, the study will be submitted to the ASCSA for publication in their series of Corinth volumes. In addition, she will teach a seminar to the Regular Members of the School, who are graduate students in Classics from US and Canadian universities. As Dr. Ajootian describes it, the seminar, Studying Ancient Sculpture: From Apotheke and Marble Pile to Publication, “is designed to encourage young scholars to focus on ancient sculpture, to help them learn current methods of analysis, to guide them through the process — from visual analysis and physical description to research, interpretation, and publication.” The University of Mississippi has been Cooperating Institution of the American School for many years, and Dr. Ajootian herself has maintained a close research relationship with the School throughout her years at the University.

Jonathan Fenno

Posted on: March 19th, 2015 by erabadie

Associate Professor of Classics
Greek and Latin Poetry, Greek Religion, Ancient Athletics, Romans in Cinema

Bryant Hall 031
University of Mississippi
University, MS 38677
662-915-1153  |  jfenno@olemiss.edu

Curriculum Vitae

Education:
Ph.D., UCLA, 1995
M.A., UCLA, 1989
B.A., Concordia College, 1986

Academic Positions:
Assistant Professor of Classics, University of Mississippi, 2002-present
Adjunct Assistant Professor, Gettysburg College, 2002
Assistant Professor of Classics, College of Charleston, 1999-2001
Visiting Assistant Professor, College of Charleston, 1996-1999
Lecturer, UCLA, 1995-1996
Teaching Assistant, UCLA, 1988-1995

Publications

Journal Articles:

“The Wrath and Vengeance of Swift-Footed Aeneas in Iliad XIII” Phoenix 62.1-2 (2008) 1-17

“The Mist Shed by Zeus in Iliad XVII” The Classical Journal 104.1 (2008) 1-9

“‘A Great Wave against the Stream’: Water Imagery in Iliadic Battle Scenes” American Journal of Philology 126.4 (2005) 475-504

“Semonides 7.43: A Hard/Stubborn Ass” Mnemosyne 58.3 (2005) 408-411

“Setting Aright the House of Themistius in Pindar’s Nemean 5 and Isthmian 6″ Hermes 133.3 (2005) 294-311

“Praxidamas’ Crown and the Omission at Pindar Nemean 6.18″ Classical Quarterly 53.2 (2003) 338-346

Book Reviews:

R. Buxton, The Complete World of Greek Mythology, London, 2004, The Classical Outlook 82.4 (2005) 161

B. Powell, Classical Myth, Upper Saddle River, NJ, 3rd edition, 2000, The Classical Outlook 78 (2001) 179-180

I. McAuslan & P. Walcot, Homer, Oxford, 1998, The Classical Outlook 77 (2000) 122-123

M. Golden, Sport and Society in Ancient Greece, Cambridge, 1998, Bryn Mawr Classical Review 10 (1999) 7.18 (http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/bmcr/1999/1999-07-19.html)

Other:

“Orphism,” Encyclopedia of the Ancient World, T. J. Sienkewicz, ed., 3 vol. Pasadena, 2002

Dissertation:

Poet, Athletes, and Heroes: Theban and Aeginetan Identity in Pindar’s Aeginetan Odes, UCLA, 1995
Conference Papers:

“The Ambush of Achilles by Apollo and Agenor in the Iliad” Classical Association of the Middle West and South, 2008

“Counting the Named Victims of Homeric Warriors” Classical Association of the Middle West and South, 2007

“The Wrath of Swift-Footed Aeneas and the Death of Alcathous in Iliad XIII” American Philological Association, 2007

“The Mist Shed by Zeus in Iliad XVII” Classical Association of the Middle West and South (Southern Section), 2006

“Hydropolemic Imagery in the Iliad” Classical Association of the Middle West and South, 2003

“The Muse as Water: The History of a Metaphor” Classical Association of the Middle West and South, 1999

“Pindar’s Streams of Song: Musical Memory and Theban Dirce” American Philological Association, 1998

“Agamemnon’s Character in the Prologue to Euripides IA” American Philological Association, 1996

“Pythagoras, Early Pythagoreans, and Tyranny” American Philological Association, 1995

Hilary Becker

Posted on: March 19th, 2015 by erabadie

HIlary Becker

Assistant Professor of Classics
Etruscan, Roman, and Greek archaeology; ancient economy and social history; Latin prose; Etruscan and Latin epigraphy

Bryant Hall 26
662-915-2858 | hwbecker@olemiss.edu

 

A.B., Bryn Mawr College
M.A. and Ph.D., The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Hilary Becker’s research focuses upon the archaeology of the Mediterranean basin and in particular on the Italic peoples of peninsular Italy during the first millennium BC. Her research program addresses the economy and society of Etruria and she is interested in various aspects of the economy at varying levels – from the organization and control of the Etruscan army to the mechanics of Etruscan markets. Hilary is a veteran of fieldwork in Italy and is at present a principal investigator of the collaborative project in the Area Sacra di S. Omobono in Rome operated jointly by the University of Michigan (USA) and the Università della Calabria (Italy). Her recent work at S. Omobono has involved investigating the only pigment shop known from ancient Rome.

Hilary Becker’s curriculum vitae

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A selection of recent and upcoming publications:

Forthcoming. R. Beeston and H. Becker. “Investigation of Ancient Roman Pigments by Portable X-ray Fluorescence Spectroscopy and Polarized Light Microscopy.” In Archaeological Chemistry. American Chemical Society Symposium Series. Edited by R. A. Armitage and J. Burton.

Forthcoming. “Economy in the Archaic and Classical Periods, 580-450 BC.” In Handbook of Etruscology. Edited by A. Naso. Berlin: de Gruyter.

Forthcoming. “Economy in the Late Classical and Hellenistic Periods, 450-250 BC.” In Handbook of Etruscology. Edited by A. Naso. Berlin: de Gruyter.

Forthcoming. “Economy in Etruria and Rome, 250-89 BC.” In Handbook of Etruscology. Edited by A. Naso. Berlin: de Gruyter.

Forthcoming. “Evidence for Etruscan archives: Tracking the epigraphic habit in tombs, the sacred sphere, and at home.” In Etruscan Literacy in its Social Context. Accordia and the Institute of Classical Studies, University of London.

2013. “Etruscan Political Systems and Law.” In The Etruscan World. Edited by J. Turfa, 351-72. London: Routledge.

2012. “The current state of artifacts excavated at S. Omobono and a reappraisal of previously excavated materials.” In Internet Archaeology.

2009. Co-editor with M. Gleba, Votives, Places and Rituals in Etruscan Religion. Leiden: Brill.*

A selection of recent conference papers and invited lectures

“The Changing Face of South Etruria,” in the panel, “New synergies? The impact of the Roman conquest of Italy on settlement and society” at the Eleventh Roman Archaeology Conference (RAC). University of Reading. Reading, England.March 28th-30th 2014.

“A pigment shop in Ancient Rome.” Lecture followed by a fresco painting practicum. Millsaps College. October 4, 2013.

“The Science of Roman wall painting: Pliny, pigments, and polychromy.” Oxford Science Café. Oxford, MS. April 23, 2013.

“Boundaries and integration: the social, political, and sacral mechanics of Etruscan markets,” at “Frontiers in the Iron Age Archaeology of Europe” hosted by Magdalene College and the McDonald Institute, Cambridge. September 20th-22nd, 2013.

“Colors and Commerce: Pigment Shops in the Ancient World,” co-presented with Laura Wilke (Oberlin ’10) at the 112th meeting of the Archaeological Institute of America. San Antonio, TX. January 08, 2011.

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