skip navigation

News and Events


46th Annual Gail A. Burnett Lecture in the Classics

Alexander the Great and the Amazon Queen

Tuesday, March 22 at 3:30 PM
Theater, Conrad Prebys Student Union

Featuring Adrienne Mayor, Research Scholar of Classics and of History & Philosophy of Science at Stanford University

Mayor, is an independent folklorist/historian of science who investigates natural knowledge contained in pre-scientific myths and oral traditions. Her research looks at ancient "folk science" precursors, alternatives, and parallels to modern scientific methods. Mayor's latest book, The Amazons: Lives and Legends of Warrior Women across the Ancient World, analyzes the historical and archaeological evidence underlying myths and tales of warlike women. Her work is featured on NPR and BBC, the History Channel, the New York Times, Smithsonian, and National Geographic and her books have been translated into Russian, Turkish, Spanish, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Hungarian, Polish, and Greek. Mayor's fossil legend research is featured in the National Geographic children's book The Griffin and the Dinosaur (by M. Aronson, 2014). She is a regular contributor to the award-winning history of science website Wonders and Marvels.

View the event flyer (.pdf)

Fourth Annual Jack McGrory Lecture in the Humanities

Protecting Cultural Heritage in Syria and Iraq: Lessons Learned in the Present Crisis

Monday, February 29th at 3:00 PM
Theater, Conrad Prebys Aztec Student Union

Dr. Brian Daniels, Director of Research and Programs at the University of Pennsylvania Cultural Heritage Center

Free and Open to the Public

Dr. Daniels' research examines how ideas about cultural property and the public good have taken shape in the United States. He has worked with indigenous communities in western North America on issues surrounding heritage rights, repatriation, and recognition for over a decade, and developed strategies for community engagement as the manager of the National Endowment for the Humanities regional center initiative at San Francisco State University (2000-2003). He is also Lecturer in the Anthropology Department at the University of Pennsylvania, and holds an appointment as Research Associate with the Smithsonian’s Institutional History Division. Dr. Daniels received his joint doctoral degree in anthropology and history from the University of Pennsylvania in 2012.

View the event flyer (.pdf)

Rybakova's novel Translated into french

Maria Rybakova's novel, "A Sharp Knife for a Tender Heart," has appeared in a French translation made by Galina Ackerman: "Couteau tranchant pour un coeur tendre" (Editions Ver-a-soie, Paris). It is a story of a river that assumes a human form, travels, marries, sires a child, commits a crime and turns back into water, leaving its son to search for it. 

"This is the history of a river, of a woman who fell in love with the river, of her son, who became a thief, and of his infamous ending. If they went on trial, what could they say in their justification ? The woman would say I loved him. The son would say I had faith. The waves of the river would not say anything, but a river is not prosecuted. Afterwards, the son would want to hear the tick-tock of the clock. The woman would plead for clemency for her husband, but would forget her son. The river would continue to flow, as before, and to weep for those drowned in its waters. When done with weeping, it will dry out, silt up, and people will walk on its dry bed. 

I believe in the river like the traveller who entrusts himself to it when he pushes a boat off from the bank. Words carry me away, and a forest of others' lives rises up on each bank. Where shall I land ? Where is the one who each night whispered the words of love to me? I no longer remember his name, nor the town where we were. The traveller turns around and sees that the path he trod upon has become unfamiliar."


The 22nd Annual Adams Lecture in the Humanities

The Future of the Humanities in a Digital Age

Tuesday January 26th @ 6:00 p.m.
Conrad Prebys Aztec Student Union, Montezuma Hall

Read the full story at SDSU NewsCenter

Dr. Vint Cerf

Dr. Vinton G. Cerf has served as vice president and chief Internet evangelist for Google since October 2005. In this role, he contributes to global policy development and continued standardization and spread of the Internet. He is also an active public face for Google in the Internet world. Cerf is the former senior vice president of Technology Strategy for MCI. In this role, Cerf was responsible for helping to guide corporate strategy development from the technical perspective. Previously, Cerf served as MCI's senior vice president of Architecture and Technology, leading a team of architects and engineers to design advanced networking frameworks including Internet based solutions for delivering a combination of data, information, voice and video services for business and consumer use.

Widely known as one of the "Fathers of the Internet," Cerf is the co-designer of the TCP / IP protocols and the architecture of the Internet. Cerf is a recipient of numerous additional awards and commendations in connection with his work on the Internet.

Cerf holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics from Stanford University and Master of Science and Ph.D. degrees in Computer Science from UCLA. He also holds honorary Doctorate degrees from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH), Zurich; Lulea University of Technology, Sweden; University of the Balearic Islands, Palma; Capitol College, Maryland; Gettysburg College, Pennsylvania; George Mason University, Virginia; Rovira i Virgili University, Tarragona, Spain; Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, New York; the University of Twente, Enschede, The Netherlands; Brooklyn Polytechnic; Marymount University; the University of Pisa; the Beijing University of Posts and Teleconununications; Tschingua University, Beijing, China; the University of Zaragoza, Spain; the Technical University of Cartagena, Spain; the Polytechnic University of Madrid, Spain; Bethany College, Kansas; the Moscow State University of International Relations; the Buenos Aires Institute of Technology; Keio University, Tokyo, Japan and Yale University.

Read his interview on SDSU NewsCenter

Dr. Bruce Cole

Dr. Bruce Cole is a Senior Fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, D.C. He came to EPPC from the Hudson Institute in Washington where he was a Senior Fellow (2011-2012). From 2009-2011, he was President and CEO of the American Revolution Center in Philadelphia.

From 2001 to 2009, Cole served as the Chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), where he managed a budget of $150 million and a staff of 170 and was responsible for awards totaling over $800 million dollars. Appointed by President George W. Bush and unanimously confirmed by the Senate in 2001 and again in 2005, Cole was the longest serving Chairman of the NEH. Under Cole's leadership, the NEH launched key initiatives, including "We the People," a program designed to encourage the teaching, study and understanding of American history and culture, and the Picturing America project, which uses great American art to teach our nation's history and culture in 80,000 schools and public libraries nationwide. He also created the NEH's Digital Humanities Initiative and Office, which made the Endowment a national leader in this new frontier of humanities access and knowledge. Under his tenure partnerships were developed with several foreign countries, including Mexico and China. Cole's connection with the Endowment began when he received an NEH fellowship. He subsequently served as a panelist in NEH's peer review system, and then as a member for seven years of the National Council on the Humanities, the presidentially appointed and senate-confirmed 26-member NEH advisory board.

Born in Ohio, Cole attended Case Western Reserve University and earned a master's degree from Oberlin College and a doctorate from Bryn Mawr College. He is also a recipient of nine honorary doctorate degrees. For two years he was the William E. Suida Fellow at the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florence. Cole has held fellowships and grants from the Guggenheim Foundation, the American Council of Learned Societies, the Kress Foundation, the American Philosophical Society, and the Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles. He is a corresponding member of the Accademia Senese degli Intronati, the oldest learned society in Europe. He has written fourteen books and numerous articles.

Read his interview on SDSU NewsCenter

Read stories abut the event from: Times of San Diego | San Diego Union Tribune

New class for Spring

HUM 596 Literature & Film: Adaptation, Translation, and Creation
with Dr. Maria Rybakova
TH 1600-1840

The course will examine major works of 19th and 20th century novels alongside their film adaptation by the major figures of world cinema. Each book and its screen version will be discussed in terms of means of expression, structure of the story, and historical accuracy: how are writing and filming similar in the way they give expression to ideas? How does the visuality present in film affect our ability to imagine (a quality so important when reading)? Why are we sometimes disappointed by the film version of our favorite book? Could a film version be better than the original novel? One of the course's aims will be to develop the skills of reading and watching attentively and to stimulate a discussion on literary and visual/cinematographical means of expression.


Saxophonist Charles McPherson Visits SDSU

American jazz legend, alto saxophonist Charles McPherson, visited our HUM 596 "Jazz in American Culture" class tonight. McPherson shared his thoughts on the jazz world, the contemporary music scene, answered students' questions, and even played a few tunes.

Thanks to Prof. Michael Caldwell for making this happen for our students.

View the photo album on Flickr (Photos by Carlos Solorio)



Poetry Reading

SDSU's Hugh C. Hyde Living Writer Series will feature our very own Dr. Maria Rybakova reading from her award winning novel-in-verse about the first Russian translator of the Iliad, the romantic poet and librarian Nikolai Gnedich.

Wednesday, September 23rd at 7:00 p.m.
in Love Library, Room 430

When he was becoming a god or a woman
he knew the life he was destined to live
was only a chapter
in the thick book of opportunity. –From, Gnedich


Faculty Monty Winner

Congratulations to Dr. Risa Levitt Kohn for being the recipient of this year's Faculty Monty for the College of Arts and Letters. The Monty recognizes outstanding faculty contributions and are given to faculty members in each of SDSU's seven colleges.

All of the recipients will be honored at the All-University Convocation on August 20. 

Read the article on SDSU NewsCenter


Museum Visit

On Friday March 20th, 40 majors and minors from the Religious Studies department and the Classics & Humanities department visited the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibition at the California Science Center in Los Angeles curated by dept chair Risa Levitt Kohn.

The trip was proposed by Classics major Annie Huynh as part of the Student Success Fee Student initiated proposal process.


Off the beaten course....with Jennifer Starkey

Professor Jennifer Starkey's class CLASS 340: Gods, Gladiators, Amazons explores how ancient religions helped develop western culture. The course was recently featured on SDSU NewsCenter as part of their Off the Beaten Course series.

Read the article


Past Events


Classics & Humanities Today Lecture Series

Tokens of Recognition, Tokens of Innovation (Eur. El. 487-584).

Dr. Jennifer Starkey, SDSU Classics & Humanities
Thursday February 12th at 2:00pm, AL 109

Metapoetic readings of the recognition scene in Euripides' Electra.

Archaeologies of [In]Visibility: US Latin@ Soldiers in American Cinema

Dr. Felipe Quintanilla, SDSU Classics & Humanities
Thursday March 5 at 2:00pm AL 109

The Lady and the Rose: The Great American Psychedelic Metaphor

Dr. Joseph A Smith, SDSU Classics & Humanities
Thursday April 23, 2015 at 2:00 p.m. AL 109

In Praise of "Dead" Languages

Dr. Brett Robbins, SDSU Classics & Humanities
Thursday April 30, 2015 at 2:00 p.m. AL 109

Download the series flyer (.pdf)

The Ancient Dead: Morgue Than You Wanted to Know?

A free, public lecture by: Debby Sneed Cotsen, Institute of Archaeology, UCLA

Friday, February 20, 2015 2 p.m., West Commons 220

There is more than one way to understand death in the ancient world. This lecture presents non-textual evidence that can be used to reconstruct not just death, but also life, including human bones, burnt food remains, grave markers, and grave goods. It will show that what we can learn from these materials complements, supplements, and sometimes contradicts what we read in texts.

View the event flyer (.pdf)

The 3rd Annual Jack McGrory Lecture in the Humanities

Whose voice? Whose objects? The perils of museum design in a new age.

Whose voice? Whose objects? The perils of museum design in a new age.Dan Rahimi, Executive Director for Galleries at the Penn Museum, Philadelphia

As museums reinvent themselves by designing new galleries using their old collections, new questions arise: what stories will they tell? What have they learned about the ownership of the old collections, and does it make a difference?What is the voice of the museum -- curatorial, authoritative, neutral, engaging? Dan Rahimi looks at recent museum projects, including his own at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology.

Thursday March 12th, 2015, 3pm
Parma Payne Goodall Alumni Center Ballroom

Dan Rahimi is Executive Director for Galleries at the Penn Museum, leading the redevelopment project for the Museum’s largest galleries: Egypt, China and the Middle East.  Before coming to Penn, Dan had a long career as a curator, director of collections, and director of exhibitions, programs and galleries for the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto.  He has an ongoing interest in issues surrounding cultural property and has written museum policies on repatriation and ethical acquisition. 

Dan has been a field archaeologist for the past thirty years, beginning as a graduate student in anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania excavating in Turkey (Bronze Age Kurban Höyük) and Jordan (Neolithic ‘Ain Ghazal).  He continued his work in Jordan with a CNRS project in the Jordan Valley (Tell Abu-Hamid), and then as field director for the Canadian excavations in Wadi Ziqlab.  These projects, all in the later prehistory of the Levant, reflect his central academic interest in the origins of agriculture and in lithic technology.  Dan has worked more recently in Yemen, excavating a frankincense production site of the first millennium where prehistoric stone tools were re-used to harvest incense, and currently excavates in Armenia, at the Early Bronze Age site of Shengavit.

View the event flyer (.pdf)


The 45th Annual Gail Burnett Lecture in Classics

And the Beat Goes On: Ancient Roman Comedy in a Modern KeyAnd the Beat Goes On:  Ancient Roman Comedy in a Modern Key

Dr. Anne Groton, Chair of the Department of Classics and Director of the Ancient Studies & Medieval Studies Programs at St. Olaf College

Thursday April 16th 2015,  2pm
Parma Payne Goodall Alumni Center Ballroom

When a musical has lost its music, what is a director to do?  Anyone who attempts to stage a Roman comedy by Plautus faces this dilemma.  The only tools we have to work with are a libretto, composed 2200 years ago in Latin verse, and the knowledge that ancient performances were accompanied by a pipe-player. The changing meters of the text indicate that the actors varied their delivery, but exactly how (singing, chanting, speaking?) and exactly when are mostly matters of educated guessing.  Groton  will discuss some of the educated guesses she and her students have made for their productions of Plautus over the past 30 years. To illustrate the sorts of musical solutions they have devised, Groton will show several short clips from past performances.  She will conclude by reflecting on what she has learned already from the experience of producing ancient comedy for modern audiences, and on what we can look forward to learning in the future, as the beat goes on.

Dr. Groton is the author of several articles on ancient drama as well as a Latinreader, 38 Latin Stories (co-authored with James May), and a Greek textbook, From Alpha to Omega: A Beginning Course in Classical Greek. Every other year she directs a student production of a Roman comedy by Plautus, performed in a musical mixture of Latin and English. During her sabbatical in 2013 she completed the 4th edition of her Greek textbook and an accompanying reader, 46 Stories in Classical Greek (co-authored with James May).

Groton has held an NEH Fellowship for College Teachers and spent a year as an Associate Junior Fellow at the Center for Hellenic Studies in Washington, DC. In 1995 she received the American Philological Association’s Award for Excellence in the Teaching of the Classics. She is Past President of the Classical Association of Minnesota and a former member of the Board of Trustees of Eta Sigma Phi, the national Classics honor society.  For eight years (2004-2012) she served as Secretary-Treasurer of the Classical Association of the Middle West and South.

View the event flyer (.pdf)

Classical Models of Leadership: An Interdisciplinary Symposium in Honor of Confucius’ Birthday

Wednesday, October 1, 2014 from 3:30-5:30pm
Parma Payne Goodall Alumni Center, SDSU

CONFUCIUS 551-479 b.c.e.
Sandra Wawrytko, Philosophy

LAOZI 6th cent. b.c.e.
Mihwa Choi, Religious Studies

PLATO 428-348 b.c.e.
Mark Wheeler, Philosophy

GOTAMA BUDDHA 563-483 b.c.e.
Sthaneshwar Timalsina, Religious Studies

AESCHYLUS 525-456 b.c.e.
Jennifer Starkey, Classics & Humanities

View the event flyer (.pdf)

Adams Lecture in The Humanities

The Department of Classics & Humanities presents: The 21st Annual Adams Lecture in The Humanities

The End of Religion in America?

Tuesday October 21st at 2:00pm
Conrad Prebys Aztec Student Union, Theatre

Dr. J. Gordon Melton
Distinguished Professor of American History at Baylor University & Director of the Institute for the Study of American Religion

The End of Religion in America?

Dr. Melton is a graduate of Birmingham-Southern College (B.A., 1964), Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary (M.Div. 1968), and Northwestern University (Ph.D. 1975). He is an ordained elder in the United Methodist Church. In 1968 he founded the Institute for the Study of American Religion and has remained its director for the last 44 years. The institute is devoted to organizing, motivating, and producing research-based studies and educational material on North American Religion. It has been responsible for the publication of more than 400 reference and scholarly texts since its founding, including multiple editionsof the Melton’s Encyclopedia of American Religions (8th edition, 2009).

Dr. Melton recently completed the editing of the second edition of the award-winning Religions of theWorld: A Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Belief and Practice, and completed ReligiousCelebrations: An Encyclopedia of Holidays, Festivals, Solemn Observances, and Spiritual Commemorations . He is currently working on a multi-volume Chronological History of the World’s Religions. Dr. Melton is a pioneering scholar in the field of New Religions Studies and helped to create the sub-discipline. He sits on the international board of the Center for Studies in New Religions (CESNUR) based in Turin, Italy. He is the author of more than thirty-five books and numerous scholarly articles and papers.

Free and open to the public

Parking and Directions

Complimentary Parking in Lot G (Faculty/Staff Lot) off of College Ave.

Lot G is on the east side of College Ave. To access Lot G, turn left after you pass under the second pedestrian bridge. Lot G (which is a faculty/staff lot) will be on your right. You do not need to purchase a parking pass.

From Lot G, you can access a staircase to cross over College Ave. on the suspension bridge. Cross the bridge and then take the main staircase to the right to Conrad Prebys Aztec Student Union. The Theater is located in Room 270 on the second level.

View the event flyer and map (.pdf)

The Department of Classics & Humanities is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Jennifer Starkey

Dr. Starkey was born and raised in Laramie, WY and has been studying the Classics since high school (home school), when she started taking Latin.  Jennifer then took classes on Vergil, Livy, and Cicero at the University of Wyoming before going to college at St. Olaf in Northfield, MN, where she immediately started Greek and ended up majoring in Classics.  From there she entered the Ph.D. program at the University of Colorado at Boulder.  Dr. Starkey graduated in 2012 with a dissertation on Sophocles, though much of her recent work has focused on Aristophanes and Greek comedy; she has taught a variety of classes on Greek and Roman literature, myth, and society and especially likes to teach the languages.  In her copious spare time, she enjoys bird-watching, hunting, sport fencing, and reading fantasy novels.

Dr. Starkey will begin her appointment as Assistant Professor of Classics in August 2014.


The 44th Annual Gail Burnett Lecture in Classics

From Artifact to History: Reconsidering Hellenistic Sardis
Dr. Andrea M. Berlin
James R. Wiseman Chair in Classical Archaeology, Boston University

Dr Andrea Berlin received an MA in Syro-Palestinian Archaeology from the University of Chicago’s Oriental Institute, and a Ph.D. in Classical Art and Archaeology from the University of Michigan. She has been excavating in the eastern Mediterranean for over thirty years, working on projects from Troy in Turkey to Coptos in southern Egypt to Paestum in Italy.  She is one of the Archaeological Institute of America’s most accomplished teachers and lecturers, having travelled to over 60 societies across the United States and Canada, most recently as the AIA’s 2008 Joukowsky Lecturer.

Monday February 24th, 2014
2:00 pm
Parma Payne Goodall 
Alumni Center (complimentary parking in structure 5 at the corner of Montezuma & 55th)

For additional info contact (619) 594-5184 or


20th Annual Adams Lecture in the Humanities

The Moral Implications of Immorality: The Chinese Case for a New Anthropology of Morality

Tuesday, December 3, 2013
Parma Payne Goodall Alumni Center, Fowler Ballroom
Free & Open to the Public

Dr. Yunxiang Yan is a Professor of Anthropology at UCLA and is the Director of UCLA’s Asian Studies Program. Dr. Yan will be speaking about folk morality (and immorality) in contemporary China as he looks at the interplay between avowed ethical rules of behavior and the justifications of day-to-day behavior in Chinese society.

Dr. Yan is a native of Beijing. At the age of 12, he was forced to drop out of school and spend the subsequent twelve years working as a shepherd and farmer in two Chinese villages during the Cultural Revolution. Yan returned to school in 1978, earning a B.A. from Peking University, and a Ph.D. in Social Anthropology from Harvard University.  He is the author of three books: The Flow of Gifts: Reciprocity and Social Networks in a Chinese Village (Stanford 1996), and Private Life under Socialism: Love, Intimacy, and Family Change in a Chinese Village, 1949-­-1999, (Stanford 2003), winner of the Levenson Prize of the American Asian Society. The third is a collection of his articles entitled, The Individualization of Chinese Society, (Berg 2009).
Dr. Yan is a 2010 recipient of a Guggenheim fellowship in recognition of his distinguished record of scholarship in 2010.


The 2nd Annual McGrory Lecture in the Humanities

Monday, October 14, 2013 (Columbus Day)
Ballroom, Parma Payne Goodall Alumni Center

Dr. Carol L. Delaney, “Columbus and the Quest for Jerusalem: How Religion Drove the Voyages that Led to America”

Five hundred years after he set sail, Columbus is still a controversial figure in history. Debates portray him either as the hero in the great drama of discovery or as an avaricious glory hunter and ruthless destroyer of indigenous cultures. In Columbus and the Quest for Jerusalem, Carol Delaney offers a radically new interpretation of the man and his mission, claiming that the true motivation for his voyages is still widely unknown. 

Delaney argues that Columbus was inspired to find a western route to the Orient not only to obtain vast sums of gold for the Spanish Crown but primarily to fund a new crusade to take Jerusalem from the Muslims before the end of the world—a goal that sustained him until the day he died. Drawing from oft-ignored sources, some from Columbus’s own hand, Delaney depicts her subject as a thoughtful interpreter of the native cultures that he and his men encountered, and tells the tragic story of how his initial attempts to establish good relations with the natives turned badly sour. Showing Columbus in the context of his times rather than through the prism of present-day perspectives on colonial conquests reveals a man who was neither a greedy imperialist nor a quixotic adventurer, but a man driven by an abiding religious passion. Columbus and the Quest for Jerusalem is not an apologist’s take, but a clear-eyed, thought-provoking, and timely reappraisal of the man and his legacy.

Carol Delaney received an MTS from Harvard Divinity School and a PhD in Cultural Anthropology from the University of Chicago and is a graduate of Boston University. She was the assistant director of the Center for the Study of World Religions at Harvard, and a visiting professor in the Department of Religious Studies at Brown University. She is now an emerita professor at Stanford University and a research scholar at Brown University. 

She is the author of several books, including The Seed and the Soil: Gender and Cosmology in Turkish Village Society, Abraham on Trial: The Social Legacy of Biblical Myth, Naturalizing Power: Essays in Feminist Cultural Criticism, and Investigating Culture: An Experiential Introduction to Anthropology.