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Faculty News & Updates

Justin Arft Justin Arft begins his fourth year with the department after a productive year of research leave as a Faculty Fellow at the UT Humanities Center working on his book, The Queen and Her Question: Arete and the Odyssey’s Poetics of Interrogation. During that time he was able to spend a week at the Center for Hellenic Studies in Washington, DC, as a Visiting Scholar. He presented a paper, “You’ve Got the Wrong Guy: Alkinoos and the ‘Wondrous Deeds’ of Odysseus,” at the 114th annual CAMWS meeting in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Justin also presented for the Center for Hellenic Studies’ “Kosmos Society” on the death of Odysseus and the Telegony, a topic on which he will also see a forthcoming article published in the third volume of the Yearbook of Ancient Greek Epic. In 2019, he will be presenting a paper titled “A Question of Memory: Who and Whose are You?” at the annual SCS meeting as well. Justin is excited to be teaching his large mythology lecture and small advanced Greek poetry course in the fall and looks forward to developing a course on comparative oral epic traditions to be taught in the spring.

Dylan Bloy Dylan Bloy joins the department as a lecturer. A Classical archaeologist and historian, his research focusses on the Roman use of cultural diplomacy during their conquest of the Greek East in the late third and second centuries BCE and the cultural effects of Rome’s rising hegemony in the Hellenistic world in both Rome and the East. He is also co-director of the Upper Sabina Tiberina Project (, an international archaeological project with collaborators from Italy, the United Kingdom, Canada, and the United States. This summer, the project carried out its seventh excavation season at a Roman villa site near Vacone, Italy, about 30 miles north of Rome. He also recently co-authored an article on the antiquarian origins of the villa’s long association with the poet Horace in the Memoirs of the American Academy in Rome and co-authored a paper on the excavation delivered at the AIA/SCS Annual Meeting in January.

Stephen Collins-ElliotStephen Collins-Elliott taught a new course on Pompeii last year, and presented papers at the Annual Meeting of the AIA in Boston, the Roman Archaeology Conference / Theoretical Roman Archaeology Conference in Edinburgh, and at the 19th International Congress of Classical Archaeology in Cologne/Bonn. Already this fall he has given talks at the 24th Annual Meeting of the European Association of Archaeologists in Barcelona and the 15th Congress of the PanAfrican Archaeological Association for Prehistory and Related Studies in Rabat. He has two forthcoming articles for this year, one in Phoenix on the topic of exile in Plutarch’s Sertorius and another in the Journal of Mediterranean Archaeology on small finds at Roman rural sites. This past May, he organized an international workshop on modeling complex systems in archaeology with the support of the Center for the Dynamics of Social Complexity (DySoC) at the National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis on UT’s campus. This summer he directed the third and final season of field survey on the Moroccan-American project “Gardens of the Hesperides: The Rural Archaeology of the Loukkos Valley,” in northern Morocco.

Chris Craig Chris Craig continues his larger project on “Anger and Audience in Cicero’s Speeches,” and this provided grist for presentations at CAMWS and at William and Mary, where he was honored to give the J. Ward Jones Lecture in Classics last spring. In service to the discipline, Chris continues to serve the editorial boards of Rhetorica and Advances in the History of Rhetoric, and is the Society for Classical Studies’ legate for Tennessee. Locally, he coordinates Latin Day and outreach to secondary school Latin colleagues. After a long hiatus, Chris is serving one final term on the Faculty Senate and is happy to chair that group’s Humanities Caucus. His great joys remain working with our current (fantastic!) students and keeping up with our alumni. He can now do this more officially as the new newsletter editor. If you drop him a line, it will make him happy.

John Friend John Friend had a year both happy and productive. Returning from family leave, he completed his book manuscript, The Athenian Ephebeia in the Fourth Century BC, and submitted his final revisions during the summer. He also worked on his article “The Date and Circumstances for the dedication of IOrop. 353 at Oropos,” which he expects to finish this year. He also presented a paper titled “From Ephebe to Ephebeia” at CAMWS. He taught an upper-division course on Herodotus and two classes on Classical Civilization (Greek History ca. 1200-404 BC and the Archaeology of Warfare). He continues to serve as the departmental undergraduate research conference co-coordinator and looks forward to the next annual conference this February. He also served on the managing committee of ASCSA.

Geraldine GesellDuring 2017-18 Geraldine Gesell, professor emerita, continued to work on the publication of the Kavousi Excavations at the INSTAP Study Center for East Crete spring and fall and at the UT Library summer and winter. She continues to attend the Annual Meetings of the AIA, this past year in Boston, where she keeps up with the newly excavated sites and researched material and attends the meetings of the managing committee of the INSTAP Study Center of East Crete. She enjoys visiting with friends and colleagues at various receptions and visiting museums. This year she finally had the opportunity to visit the newly redone Harvard Art Museum, as well as the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, one of her favorites. She attended her 65th reunion at Vassar College in June along with two of her best friends and 20 other members of her class (an amazing group) and stopped in New York City on the way back to Knoxville to visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Other travels included Seattle in late August where her brother and several of her former students live. Of course, the Seattle Art Museum was on the schedule along with the new Nordic Museum. While in Athens, she took time to guide a former Latin student from high school teaching days and his wife around the National Museum and the Benaki Museum.

Reema HabibReema Habib is excited to join the department in her first year as a lecturer. After graduating from Florida State University in 2017, she taught Latin at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia, before making the move to Tennessee. Her research focuses on protective magic and re-evaluates the idea of apotropaic imagery in Greek art as an evolving and dynamic concept in ancient society. Rather than accepting apotropaia as a static concept, Reema believes that apotropaic art drew its agency from different divine and human sources depending on the time and place in which the image was created. She now looks forward to getting to know the students at Tennessee through her classes on Latin and classical civilizations in the fall.

Theodora KopestonskyTheodora Kopestonsky received the American School of Classical Studies at Athens Kress Publication Fellowship and spent the spring semester in Greece researching, writing, and updating her manuscript, “The Kokkinovrysi Shrine at Corinth: The Site, Finds, and Use.” While in Corinth, she was privileged to work with many leading Corinthian scholars, notably Susan Langdon (University of Missouri), an Archaic figurine expert. In March, she presented a paper, “Dancers, Riders, and Standing Ladies: Leading Figures at Small Corinthian Shrines,” detailing her new research at an international conference Terracottas Through Time, II in Haifa, Israel. Her article, “Locating Lost Gifts: Terracottas as Evidence for Ephemeral Offerings,” will be published in the Journal of Greek Archaeology later this year. Last summer, she introduced a modified CLAS 221 (Early Greek mythology) as an online course, which has been surprisingly popular. It is now offered during the fall semester. She is also teaching the introductory course to Greek and Roman archaeology, which is adapting to include more hands-on activities such as pottery (modern) sorting, vase painting, and coin analysis. Thanks to the department for its support of these projects!

Maura Lafferty Maura Lafferty gave a paper on “Garnish, Appetizer, or Main Course: The Paratext in Vincent of Beauvais’s Speculum Maius,” at the International Medieval Congress in Leeds this July and another on “Vergil and the Changing Mise-en-Page from Late Antiquity to the Middle Ages,” at the CAMWS meeting in Albuquerque in April. She continues to work on her book project, The Rhetoric of the Latin Page, on the mise-en-page of different authors and genres throughout the Middle Ages.

Susan Martin Susan Martin joined the ranks of emeritus/a faculty in January 2018. Although she has missed the routine of seeing many colleagues and friends at UT, retirement has so far proved to be a delight. In addition to travel abroad and domestically to see family, she has become more active as a volunteer with the League of Women Voters and on the board of the Cancer Support Community. She and her husband Paul continue to pursue their fitness activities including several sprint triathlons this summer. She enjoys keeping in touch with the classics department through service on its advisory board. She continues to stay in touch with former students and loves hearing about their current adventures and future plans.

Robert SklenářRobert Sklenář, now professor of classics, published Nach(t)dichtungen (Littoral Press, 2018), a chapbook consisting of 21 poems: 18 verse translations from German, French, Latin, Ancient Greek, and Czech, and three original poems. The volume was hand-letterpressed by renowned artisan printer Lisa Rappoport and issued in a limited edition of 100 copies hand-numbered by the author. He also has an article titled “Poetic Autobiography and Literary Polemic in Catullus 16” forthcoming in volume 73 of the journal Paideia. He will give a paper titled “Preparing the Elegiac Dido: Amatory Language in Aeneid 1.343-352” at the annual meeting of the Society for Classical Studies (San Diego, January 2019), as part of its newly inaugurated “lightning talk” series. Fall 2018 has him teaching beginning Latin for the first time in many years, as well as intermediate and advanced Latin. He serves the university on the College of Arts and Sciences Promotion and Tenure Committee, the Humanities Center Steering Committee, the Linguistics Committee, and the World Languages Education Board of Admissions, and the department as associate head and coordinator of advising.

David TandyDavid Tandy, professor emeritus, spent the 2017-2018 year at the University of Bamberg and is now back at the University of Leeds, where he is a visiting professor. Since the last newsletter, he has reviewed Claire Taylor’s Poverty, Wealth, and Well-Being. Experiencing Penia in Democratic Athens (Oxford, 2017) for Classical Review 68.2 (2018), and his chapter “In Hesiod’s World” has appeared in the Oxford Handbook of Hesiod, edd. Alex Loney and Stephen Scully (Oxford, 2018). He is currently co-editing a volume of essays on experiences of subordination in Greece, 800-300. Continuing service as a financial trustee of the Society for Classical Studies keeps him in touch with things in North America; at the SCS annual meeting in Boston last January he enjoyed long visits with former colleagues Elizabeth Sutherland, who taught at UT from 1996 until 2013, and Aleydis van de Moortel. On his brief trips back to Knoxville, it was a great pleasure to see old friend and colleague Chris Craig. He sends his best wishes to in the department and hopes to see you all soon!

Aleydis Van de Moortel Aleydis Van de Moortel enjoyed her second year in the headship surrounded by great colleagues, staff, and students. She taught ancient and medieval seafaring (CLAS 445) and ancient technology (CLAS 461) to classes of lively and dedicated students. She was happy to see three publications in print: a conference paper proposing a new typology of Bronze Age Aegean ships; an article arguing for deep cultural entanglements between the Minoan palatial polities of Phaistos and Malia on the basis of shared production practices between potters; and an overview of the results of the Mitrou excavation in Greece. Last year was a busy conference year for her, with five presentations at national and international venues (US, Italy, and Greece); all based on her continuing study of the Mitrou finds. In addition, she lectured, as a named speaker of the Archaeological Institute of America, at three different societies in Canada (Ottawa, Niagara Peninsula, Toronto). Last summer she took five of our majors, two graduate students, and one English major to Mitrou for a summer of study, cultural immersion, and fun. There were many highpoints, but one for sure was rowing the Greek trireme.

Jessica Westerhold Jessica Westerhold is now a senior lecturer in the department. She earned her PhD from the University of Toronto. Now that her book on Greek tragic heroines in the poetry of Ovid is under review, she has eagerly begun new research on the representation of happiness by Augustan poets. In the spring, Jessica attended the annual CAMWS meeting, where she co-organized the panel “Aching Amor: Embodied Emotions in Roman Elegy,” and presented the paper “Simulating Sadness: Ovid’s Affective Strategies from Exile.” Jessica taught the Greek New Testament (CLAS 441 Koine Greek) for a second summer. Two students tested out a virtual model of the class from the Mitrou dig for the last half of the term using the video conferencing software Zoom. She hopes that the lessons learned will allow UT classics to make Koine available to students who cannot be on campus over the summer. This fall, Jessica was honored to join the Faculty Senate and its Committee for Diversity and Inclusion. In October, Jessica gave a talk at Latin Day on tears and lament in ancient Rome and a talk at the annual meeting of CAMWS SS about Ovid’s reception in Jane Alison’s 2001 novel, The Love-Artist.

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