Chair's Letter, Autumn 2021

Submitted by Deborah E Kamen on

Despite the challenges imposed on us all by the pandemic, the UW Classics Department continues to thrive. We are especially proud of our 2021 graduates, with particular congratulations due to Dr. Emma Brobeck, who upon successful defense of her dissertation (“Craftsmen, Identity, and Status in the Literature of Flavian Rome”) took up a job teaching at the University of Arkansas.

Our students received a remarkable number of national and international awards this year, including an AAUW (American Association of University Women) American Dissertation Fellowship, a DAAD (Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst) One-Year Grant for Doctoral Candidates, a Rome Prize at the American Academy in Rome, and a Women’s Classical Caucus Best Pre-PhD Paper Award. They have also received prizes and fellowships from UW, including two Eleftherios and Mary Rouvelas Endowed Writing Prizes in Hellenic Studies, an Excellence in Teaching Award, a Joff Hanauer Graduate Fellowship, a Mary Gates Research Scholarship, and three(!) Simpson Center for the Humanities Fellowships, among many other awards. We are tremendously grateful to our donors for making it possible for us to grant a number of Departmental awards to our students (e.g. the Harvey Densmore Scholarship, the Jim Greenfield Undergraduate Scholarship, the Meg Greenfield Essay Prize, the Nesholm Family Endowed Fellowship, and the Phillip and Estelle De Lacy Fellowship). As travel becomes possible, we look forward to being able to offer travel awards again from the Classics Student Travel Endowment and the Roseanna Wabel McDermott Endowment.

Our alumni and faculty have also had a successful year. To give just a few illustrative examples, Matthew Gorey (PhD ’17), Visiting Assistant Professor at Wabash College, saw the publication of his first book, Atomism in the Aeneid: Physics, Politics, and Cosmological Disorder (Oxford University Press 2021); Adriana Vazquez (PhD ’17), Assistant Professor at UCLA, was awarded a Rome Prize; and the Asian and Asian American Classical Caucus, of which our newest colleague, Assistant Professor Chris Waldo, is Co-Chair, received the Women’s Classical Caucus Equity Award.

This year also brought sadness, however, with the passing first of Elizabeth Boba (“Mrs. Boba”), a former Administrative Assistant of the Department, and more recently of Professor Emeritus Daniel Harmon, who taught in the UW Classics Department from 1967 to 2004 and was Chair from 1976 to 1991. Both are sorely missed.

I’m hopeful that this academic year will have some semblance of normalcy, as we return to campus for the first time in a year and a half. In addition to welcoming everyone back, we are excited to be joined by three new MA students: Elsie Grathwohl (BA New York University), Alexandra Smith (BA UW), and Zainab Syed (BA Dalhousie). The Classics Department has a number of exciting talks and events scheduled for this year—some by Zoom, some in person—which everyone interested in the ancient world is welcome to attend! I hope to see many of you soon, either at these events or in the hallways of Denny—

Deborah Kamen, Chair, Classics Department

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