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Wednesday, November 11 • 7:30pm - 7:30pm
Teaching Lysistrata in an Age of Protest

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The work described in the abstract above is part of a larger course project, Reclaiming the Classics for a Diverse and Global World. The course was designed to make works of ancient civilizations accessible in translation at a minimal cost to students. At present, by partnering with our library and locating OER resources, the cost to the student is nil. The usage of OER resources also allows for flexibility and portability in time of COVID--they can be accessed anywhere there is wifi, and also downloaded and printed. Affordability is of prime concern to our students, as is the tendency for classical works to be hijacked by alt-right groups in order to reinforce their sense of cultural 'superiority'. If, as Ta-Nehesi Coates stressed, "Tolstoy is the Tolstoy of the Zulus," works of antiquity should be accessible and reinterpretable to speak to the experiences of diverse student bodies. For that reason, this course pairs Euripides' Trojan Women with the performance of that play by Syrian refugees. It pairs Euripides' Medea with authors of color's reinterpretation of Medea, as published in Cambria Press' Black Medea (and Wesley Enoch's Black Medea). Other classical works are used to investigate themes of interest both to the ancient world and our own, including concepts of gender and sexuality, free and unfree status, social mobility or restriction, migration and citizenship, protest, transformation, economic and social disparity, and imperialist pretensions. Another focus of the course is the diversity of art in the ancient world, with special focus on the representations of individuals from Africa, Egypt, and Asia. Lysistrata will be used as an example of the kind of relevancy and urgency which can be created in the classroom with OER texts.

Learning Outcomes: This session examines how to adapt existing OER resources to make them more accessible to diverse student learners. In this instance, the text is Lysistrata and the adaptation consisted of the addition of notes and an introduction and the LibreText platform. Accessibility was increased through demonstrating how ancient texts are reinterpreted to become relevant to modern concerns, in this case, women’s marches, protests,sex-strikes, and #BLM, through pairing the play with Spike Lee's Chi-Raq.

avatar for Jessalynn Bird

Jessalynn Bird

Assistant Professor of Humanistic Studies, Saint Mary's College
I am currently involved in a project creating OER resources (translations, teaching activities, resources) for Greek and Roman texts and modern adaptations of them for LibreText. I am a medievalist by training, but teach history, writing, and literature courses from antiquity to the... Read More →

Wednesday November 11, 2020 7:30pm - 7:30pm EST
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