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Chair's Letter, Autumn 2020

Submitted by Deborah E Kamen on November 7, 2020 - 7:25am

I became Chair of the Classics department on July 1 in the midst of a global pandemic. This is, needless to say, a very strange time, full of unanticipated challenges. But I have great faith in our department, and I’m optimistic that we’ll continue to build on our reputation as a trailblazer in teaching, research, and service.

First of all, we are thrilled to welcome a new faculty member, Prof. Christopher Waldo. Chris earned his PhD at Berkeley in 2019 and spent last year as a Visiting Assistant Professor at Tulane. Currently writing a book on the victory odes of Pindar and Bacchylides, Chris specializes in Greek poetry (especially lyric and tragedy) and Asian American reception of the classical tradition. He has hit the ground running in our department, leading our faculty and graduate students in a lively discussion group about race, colonialism, and Classics (in conjunction with Eos READS for Black Lives) during the first week of autumn quarter.

We are also delighted to have a new department Administrator, Emily Warren. Emily earned her BA in Latin in our department and has a Masters of Library and Information Science (also from UW). She comes to us most recently from her job as a Financial Administrative Specialist at UW Study Abroad. I can happily attest that Emily is already an invaluable member of the department (and not just because she’s helping this new Chair learn the ropes!).

Finally, we extend a warm welcome to three excellent new graduate students: Emma Buechner (BA Carleton), Jonathan Clark (BA Maryland, MA Tulane), and Laura Harris (BA and MA Toronto). Because of the pandemic, they have not yet moved to Seattle, but we hope to see them in person before too long. In the meantime, Zoom is keeping us all connected.

Speaking of which, while the vibrant life of our department is, for the time being, no longer housed within the walls of Denny Hall, we’ve been making good use of video platforms to teach our classes, meet with our students, and socialize with our colleagues. We also have an exciting line-up of visiting speakers and other events scheduled for this year (all over Zoom), to which we invite anyone interested in Greek and Roman literature, history, and archaeology.

Looking forward to seeing you (virtually),

Deborah Kamen, Chair, Classics Department

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