Summer Seminar 2009

CHS 2009 Graduate Summer Seminar

tragic pathos: body and mind in Greek tragedy

June 22-July 6, 2009

This summer graduate seminar at the CHS focuses on how and why the experience of pathos is central to Greek tragedy, with particular attention to the interconnection between body and mind. The seminar combines close readings of two extant tragedies (Sophokles’ Philoktetes and Euripides’ Hekuba), one comedy (Aristophanes’ Frogs), and several excerpts and fragments of tragedies. We also cover a substantial selection of critical approaches (both ancient and modern) to tragedy and its social, political, and literary background, including readings from the perspective of gender and performance theory, and reception. Issues addressed include, but are not limited to, the poetics of pain and pity; the conception and role of the different pathê and their sociopolitical ramifications; and visual representations of physical and emotional forms of suffering.

The seminar, led by professors Emily Allen and Eirene Visvardi, is intended for graduate students in Classics in their first or second year who have a solid background in ancient Greek. Secondary readings and readings in translation will be assigned in preparation for and during the course of the two-week seminar, in addition to intensive reading in the original Greek. As a final project, students will produce collaborative translations and a running commentary of tragic fragments, to be published on the CHS website. The seminar will thus encourage research in a traditional discipline of Hellenic studies and dissemination of that research through the possibilities offered by web-based publishing.

A typical day will consist of a seminar meeting in the Center’s state-of-the-art seminar space in the morning or afternoon, lunch at the CHS, and a session devoted to the tools and skills required for electronic publishing of research. Guest speakers will prompt further discussion regarding tragedy in its cultural milieu. Film viewings will occasionally take place in the evenings in the Center’s hi-tech projection room.

Space in the seminar is limited. Housing, weekday lunches, travel expenses, and a stipend are provided to all students.     

The deadline for applications and recommendations is March 30, 2009.

Applications consist of:
1. Curriculum Vitae and cover letter stating the student’s experience with Greek and interest in the seminar.
2. Two letters of recommendation from professors.

More information on how to submit an application will be available in the coming months. Please contact fellowships[at] for more information.