Bard College Berlin Presents
Friday, February 21, 2020

Faculty Colloquium: "Troubling Trans-species Relationships in Homer and Valmiki: Why Are We Friends?"

Bard College Berlin Cafeteria, Waldstr. 70, Berlin - Pankow

A talk by Mira Seo (Yale-NUS College)

This talk explores two portrayals of trans-species friendship in Valmiki’s Ramayana and the Odyssey.  How does each epic represent “friendship” between individuals of different species, and what do these relationships indicate about the boundaries between humans and other beings? Mira Seo considers the explanations each poem provides for trans-species friendship, and how reading them together reveals how the epics problematize these bonds across speech, bodies, and narrative.  What might these ambiguous friendships in poetry reveal about the imaginative and lived experiences of human-animal encounters in antiquity and today?  These readings emerge from Literature and Humanities, a foundational Common Curriculum course at Yale-NUS in Singapore, and will be part of a co-authored book project on comparative readings in ancient literatures.

A specialist in Roman poetry, Mira Seo has been deeply engaged with liberal arts education, core curriculum development, and globalizing the Humanities throughout her career. In 2004, she received her PhD in Classics from Princeton University. Mira began her career at Swarthmore College followed by the University of Michigan, where she was promoted to Associate Professor in the Departments of Classical Studies and Comparative Literature. In 2012 she was recruited to the inaugural faculty of Yale-NUS College, a collaboration between Yale University and the National University of Singapore. She was a member of the Teagle Foundation’s National Forum for Liberal Education, and has held fellowships at the W.E.B. Du Bois Research Institute at Harvard; she has been an invited speaker and consultant at numerous institutions, including Stanford University, University of Pennsylvania, NYU Abu Dhabi, NYU Shanghai, Duke-Kunshan University, and Fulbright University in Vietnam.

At Yale-NUS, Mira led a collaborative faculty teaching team to design a new Common Curriculum, served as Head of the Literature major, and co-founded an innovative minor in Global Antiquity.  She has chaired a number of governance committees and task forces for the college, including on Peer Observation and Sexual Misconduct. In the academic year 2020-21 she will join the college cabinet as Director of the Common Curriculum.  She has published on Roman poetry of the first century CE, the neo-Latin poetry of Juan Latino, an African Latinist in 16th century Granada, and diversifying Classics (Exemplary Traits: Reading Characterization in Roman Poetry, Oxford 2013; “Classics for All” AJP 140.4, 2019).  In addition to her scholarly publications, she is the founder of the Open Classroom project, for which she received a competitive grant to develop a scheduling app for informal peer observations.  She is currently writing on comparative readings in ancient literature, and leading Vitis Vinifera Antiqua, an interdisciplinary digital humanities collaboration on ancient wine.

Date & time: Friday, February 21, 2020, from 12:15 to 1:15pm
Venue: Bard College Berlin Cafeteria
Waldstr. 70, Berlin - Pankow

NOTICE: Please be aware that photos / videos might be recorded during BCB events for use on websites, social media and in publications. As a participant in the event, you are presumed to consent to the recording.

Contact information:  communications@berlin.bard.edu

Location: Bard College Berlin Cafeteria, Waldstr. 70, Berlin - Pankow

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