Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
Support independent student journalism. Support independent student journalism. Support independent student journalism.
The Dartmouth
April 15, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

CANE conference to draw 50

A Classical Association of New England conference will bring 50 teachers to Dartmouth today in an effort to forge connections between scholars and the broader public, according to its organizers.

Classics professor Edward Bradley said that the CANE Summer Institute affords high-school teachers an important opportunity to feel as though they are "part of a community of scholars." Often, the range of tasks that high-school teachers must perform -- leading extracurricular activities, dealing with discipline problems and hassles with administrators -- can often distract teachers from the academic nature of their work, leaving them with little time to read about recent research in their fields, he said.

Most teachers who attend the conference stay in Dartmouth dormitories and eat all their meals with those classicists giving formal presentations, thus reinforcing the sense that they are part of a scholarly community, according to both Bradley and past CANE conference organizer Douglas Marshall.

Marshall, who has taught classics at both Dartmouth and St. Paul's School, an elite preparatory boarding school in Concord, N.H., also noted that it is often too easy for academics to become so involved in their research that they "neglect to address the presentation of their ideas to laymen, or to people who lack their level of expertise."

Over the past two years or so, efforts by CANE to broaden the Summer Institute's appeal have meant an increased focus on comparative studies of classical civilization, Bradley said.

While the Summer Institute continues to draw a steady stream of teachers of Latin and ancient history, teachers of more recent history, English and literature, art and art history have signed up for the conference in increasingly large numbers. And, while the majority of teachers who attend are from New England or the Mid-Atlantic States, larger and larger numbers have traveled across the country to attend, Bradley said.

This year, for example, in his Saturday talk on "Thucydides on American Hegemony," government professor Ned Lebow intends to discuss how one might compare Thucydides' narrative of how excessive pride led ancient Athens to self-destruction with the Bush administration's current approaches to world affairs.

In a Monday lecture, which he referred to as "Plato on NATO," Lebow similarly plans to compare the way that ancient political theorists regarded fairness as paramount -- i.e., the importance of making sure that people in charge do what is good for the community as a whole -- with modern theorists' concerns about ensuring that all members of the community have an equal say.

Other lectures with a comparative focus include "Modern Adaptations of Greek Drama" by Anne Mahoney of Tufts University on Sunday at 1:30 p.m. and Victor Swenson's "The Classical World and the Ottoman Turks" on Monday at 8:45 a.m.

Dartmouth students are welcome to attend all CANE lectures free of charge, its organizers said. Students may also sign up in advance to participate in CANE seminars.