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, whether their paths lie in the humanities or in other fields. Working in various classics departments over the years, and now joyously finding myself in a history program, I've come to the conclusion that classics, history, philosophy, foreign languages, indeed the humanities in general have so much to offer all students of any major. I share below some links to websites that convey the idea that most colleges, from small liberal arts to large R1's to regional universities--and I've worked in all these types--should be more than simple vocational schools training a student for a career. A true education sparks a greater potential in us all, gives us the opportunity for a more fulfilled life, allows us to experience the world in its wondrous variety, and leaves us with an inquisitiveness that lifts us above the banalities of an existence that knows only career objectives and materialistic goals. A true education will promote the development of critical thinking skills, analytical ability, and tools for effective oral and written communication that serve the goals of any career. The humanities play a vital role in providing all of this. So I take great delight at this point in my own career 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.
Frequently Taught Courses
HIS 1500: Roots of the Modern World: Society and Religion
HIS 3120: Ancient Egypt
HIS 3130: Iraq and the Ancient Near East
HIS 3140: Ancient Greece
HIS 3150: The Roman World
HIS 4775: Alexander the Great
HIS 5400: Bronze Age Aegean
My research is primarily concerned with ancient Greece and Rome, with emphasis on political uses of myth, constructions of identity, and cross-cultural interactions. My book Kinship Myth in Ancient Greece (reviewed in BMCR) examines communities (and sometimes kings like Alexander the Great) that invoked shared putative ancestors to justify a diplomatic venture. I also research authors’ attitudes toward myth and have published articles focusing on Pausanias, Strabo, and Alcman in Mnemosyne, Hermes, and Classical and Modern Literature, respectively. I have a new study on Strabo forthcoming in Writing Greek and Roman Myth: Mythography in the Ancient World, edited by R. Scott Smith and Stephen M. Trzaskoma. My future plans are to return to my other great interest, the Roman Near East. I have published on Roman dealings with Armenia and the Caucasus in Latomus and Ancient History Bulletin and recently completed entries on Parthia, Armenia, and the Caucasus for the Virgil Encyclopedia, to be published by Wiley-Blackwell.