Lee E. Patterson
Ph.D., University of Missouri-Columbia
Office: 3781 Coleman
Office Phone: (217) 581-3310
Past and Current Courses
In my history classes I want my students to encounter the treasures of the past and learn the lessons of human experience, to think critically and creatively about history, and to develop a sense of curiosity that they will carry with them into their own futures. Whatever their major, whatever their goals in life, I encourage my students to let the humanities guide their journey, for the sake of reaching their greatest potential. I firmly believe history and its related fields give us the opportunity for a more fulfilled life, allow us to experience the world in its wondrous variety, and leave us with an inquisitiveness that lifts us above the banalities of an existence that knows only career objectives and materialistic goals. They also promote the development of critical thinking skills, analytical ability, and tools for effective oral and written communication that serve the goals of any career. So I take great delight in encouraging students to pursue whatever goals they truly wish, including those of the financial consultant, accountant, civil engineer, sports trainer, or heart surgeon, while never ceasing to ask themselves the "why" of it all, retaining a curiosity about their own lives, about our society, and about humanity, that not only makes their career successful by whatever measure their chosen industries apply but makes their journey through life enriched and fulfilling.
Links for the Educated: Why the Humanities Matter
Two distinct fields compete for my scholarly time: political uses of myth in the Greek world (and related issues involving perceptions of myth by Strabo, Pausanias, Herodotus, etc.) and Roman Armenia (and related issues involving the Parthians, the Sasanians, Roman frontier studies, etc.). My first book Kinship Myth in Ancient Greece (reviewed in BMCR) examined communities (and sometimes kings like Alexander the Great) that invoked shared putative ancestors to justify a diplomatic venture. On authors’ attitudes toward myth I have published articles in various journals, with a new study on Strabo forthcoming in Writing Myth: Mythography in the Ancient World, edited by R. Scott Smith and Stephen M. Trzaskoma. Another study on Strabo is in progress. On the Roman side, I am currently writing a book on Roman Armenia. In support of this project I have been invited by the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at Harvard University to be a Visiting Scholar in the summers of 2012 and 2013. My interest in this topic has yielded entries on Armenia, Parthia, and the Caucasus for the Virgil Encyclopedia, to be published by Wiley-Blackwell, and an article, "Caracalla's Armenia," that is forthcoming in Syllecta Classica. I am also at work on other short projects involving ancient Armenia.