After the Hellenistic Greek seminar, participants from both Sunoikisis seminars came together for a common day on June 15 to discuss Sunoikisis’ format, Sunoikisis courses in translation, and Sunoikisis’ future. Prof. Kenneth Morrell (Rhodes College) led the common day session.
The first session was devoted to improving the common sessions in Sunoikisis classes. The participants looked how information is presented in other media, such as sports shows and news shows, and how common sessions could benefit by drawing on the best aspects of different media.
The second session was led by Prof. Monica Berti (Universität Leipzig) and explained SunoikisisDC (digital classics), a program being run jointly by Leipzig Digital Humanities, the Perseids Project, and the Center for Hellenic Studies. SunoikisisDC is focused on teaching students to use digital tools and approaches to classics. The course was originally offered only in Europe, but has spread around the world now. Work is also underway to develop Sunoikisis Arabic, using the methods of Sunoikisis for Classical Arabic. Scholars in Germany and Egypt at corresponding on the project. Prof. Greg Crane was present over video-chat, and presented about a possible Sunoikisis Persian, which he is working with scholars in Iran to create. The session closed with demonstrations of the tools students learn to use at SunoikisisDC, including TEI, Arethusa, and Alpheios.
After lunch, the third session was led by Norman Sandridge (Howard University), and focused on a course in translation about leadership in the ancient world, which Sunoikisis is offering. The course is designed around online materials presented on Scalar in the format of a music album. The materials will go online in July and remain up through the spring 2017 semester at the least. Norman then presented about the online collaborative commentary on Xenophon’s Life of Cyrus. It began in 2011 and helps students at all levels of Greek to read the Life of Cyrus. The commentary is written by scholars from around the world, who submit their comments to the site after Norman approves them as editors.
The final session of the common day was about the Herodotus course that Sunoikisis and the Council of Independent Colleges are offering this year. The course is in translation, no Greek is required. The course adapts elements of Sunoikisis and a MOOC to include more students while keeping the education in line with that received at a liberal arts college. The course is free and will be taken by students around the world, from Washington to Tblisi to Tehran.
The last item for the day was the Sunoikisis Undergraduate Research Symposium (SURS). SURS allows students to present a paper based on the Sunoikisis course topics for the year. Students at any institution are welcome to submit a paper, but Sunoikisis students are especially encouraged to participate.
Discussion turned the the future of Classics in the United States, and how Sunoikisis can help to engage more students with Classical ideas. One concern was how to reach out to community college students, who now make up about half of the college students in the United States. Sunoikisis may offer a way for faculty at those institutions to offer courses in translation. Also of interest was how to engage more students at the secondary school level. Sunoikisis is supposed to engage students from secondary to graduate school and everything in between, not just undergraduates. In the future, a new Sunoikisis non-profit will help to guide Sunoikisis and improve outreach to students outside of traditional Classics departments.
The faculty in attendance were: Monica Berti (Universität Leipzig), Jennifer Besse (Elizabethtown College and Millersville University), Patrick Burns (Institute for the Study of the Ancient World), Ben DeSmidt (Carthage College), John Esposito, Hal Haskell (Southwestern University), Kenny Morrell (Rhodes College), Victoria Pagàn (University of Florida), Lindsay Samson, Norman Sandridge (Howard University), Susan Satterfield (Rhodes College), Jeff Ulrich (University of Pennsylvania), Heather Waddell (Concordia College), and Bryce Walker (Center for Hellenic Studies Sunoikisis Fellow in Curricular Development).
Written by Drew Latimer