MCA Spring Meeting CFP & Fall Recap

Latin and Classics Teachers of Maine, 

The Maine Classical Association Spring Meeting will be held on 

Saturday, May 4th, at North Yarmouth Academy.

Each year, the Maine Classical Association hosts two meetings, one in the fall and one in the spring. While the fall meeting emphasizes scholarship, the spring meeting is geared more towards pedagogy. This is a great opportunity to connect, share insights, and find support with other educators. 

Interested in presenting or running a workshop?

We want to hear about units you’ve designed, classroom activities you’ve enjoyed, approaches that have worked with your students. Or what’s on your mind? If there is a particular topic or issue you’d like to discuss with colleagues (a challenge or dilemma, facing our profession or regarding learners, classroom issues, etc.) and you would like to facilitate a discussion, consider also submitting a proposal. Alternatively, would you like to guide the group in a Latin reading that serves as the basis for further dialogue? For many of us, sadly, reading with colleagues is a rare treat! From the theoretical, to the philosophical, to the practical, to the technical: we love it all! From the fresh perspective of new teachers to the experience of our veterans: consider sharing this spring! Sessions typically run 45 minutes. If interested, please submit a brief (paragraph-length) proposal describing your presentation, or guided reading, or facilitated conversation to [email protected] by January 15. 

We would be honored if you would join us.


David Dyke

Maine Classical Association

Fall 2023 Meeting Recap:

As you mark your calendars for the MCA Spring Meeting, let’s take a look back at the presentations from our Fall Meeting hosted by Bowdoin College.

After some early morning refreshments and much too short introductory conversations and catching-ups, David Wright, Visiting Assistant Professor of Classics at Bowdoin College, began our meeting with his talk “Feminist Medusas and Queer Minotaurs: Reclaiming Monsters for Marginalized Groups in the Classical and Contemporary World”.

            For the next 30 or so minutes, Wright led us through the mythological world of monsters, where we saw the familiar faces of the Cyclops and Scylla and met some new faces, including the loveable Philadelphia native and Flyers mascot, Gritty. Wright framed our journey by (re-)introducing us to Cohen’s “Monster Theory” (1996) – that monsters are a reflection of our cultures, a reflection of us as humans (to summarize it in the most student-digestible way). So, when we look at the Cyclops, we are perhaps seeing not only a one-eyed terror, but are gaining insight into a cultural fear of the rural “other” or the personal fear of an unloveable shepherd. When we see Medusa, we can see a tongue-out, snake-haired Gorgon alongside the manifestation of the cultural fear of and/or desire for empowered women. And these reflections of culture extend beyond the ancient world, as demonstrated by Medusa’s reclamation by the MeToo movement or Gritty representing the Flyers and the tough and hardy people of Philadelphia. Wright highlighted for us that the monsters that make our favorite mythological stories so exciting are also a way by which we can hear the un/misrepresented voices of the ancient and modern world.

            How can we use this Monster Theory in our own classrooms? Monsters are one way we can help our students connect the ancient world to today, guiding them to ask such questions as “where else do we see these patterns/attributes of monsters and what sort of cultural insights might they give us”. Or perhaps we can take inspiration from Gritty and lead our students in creating their own monsters to reflect their interpretation of culture, society, a text, or even grammar (click here for details on a fun “Meum Monstrum” activity)!

            Thank you, Professor Wright, for guiding us through the reclaimed world of monsters. For a more detailed look at this talk, Wright has shared his slideshow here.

            Our last presenter was Joshua Hartman, Visiting Assistant Professor of Classics as Bowdoin College, whose talk “Confronting ‘Western Civilization’ in the Classroom: Classical Reception from Percy Jackson to Puerto Rican Revolutionaries” feels particularly relevant with the recent release of the Percy Jackson based TV series.

            Hartman quickly grabbed our attention with his opening slide on Percy Jackson and the Olympians. Within the world of Percy Jackson, we see the Classical World described as monolithic – the “flame of Western Civilization” that has moved from culture to culture and currently resides within America, atop the Empire State Building. Hartman challenged us to use this view, that so many of our students are familiar with, as a way to highlight the very opposite fact of the Classical World. He then walked us through a series of Spanish/Portuguese authors and their varying uses of the Classical World. For example, Portugal’s Luís Vaz de Camões (16th century) used the Classical World to describe Portugal as the most Western national entity – and thus a/the powerful player of the European cultural Renaissance – in his epic, Os Lusiadas, a work comparative to Rome’s Aeneid and the Ancient Greeks’ Iliad and Odyssey. The Mexican poet José de Villerías (1695-1728) has Mexico as the heart of the flame of Western Civilization in his neo-Latin poem, Guadalupe, which highlights the intersectionality of Christianity and the Classical World with Pluto/Satan fleeing the East to the indigenous tribes of Mexico. Hartman then ended with the reflection – do we defend or denounce the Classical World as a metaphor? For an example of denouncement, Hartman walked us through the poem Mens Divinior by Luis Muñoz Rivera (1859-1916) of Puerto Rico, in which the Classical World is complete madness and can no longer relate to the modern world, particularly as Puerto Rico fights for its independence from Spain. Ramón Betances (1827-1898, Puerto Rico), on the other hand, uses the Roman elegiac poets in his work Amour des Poetes to highlight that the ancient world is misunderstood and trapped, that it must be liberated from its conquerors, just as Puerto Rico must be. Through this exploration of Classical Reception, Hartman emphasized that the Classical World metaphor is not a single-use, stylistic device, that, like the ancient world itself, the metaphor holds a plethora of interpretations and worldviews.

            How do we receive the ancient world? This is a question that we can ask in any of our classrooms. How does the new rendition of Percy Jackson use the ancient world as compared to the original books? A question that could perhaps lead to an interesting discussion-based way to have some movie days as we return from winter break. And finally, sharing these various authors and how they played around with the ancient world in their writings provides our students with further language frameworks under which they can explore their own personal struggles.

            Thank you, Professor Hartman, for walking us through these instances of Classical Reception and challenging some of our views on what it means to receive the ancient world.

            The Fall Meeting ended with a heartfelt sharing of stories around how we as teachers and educators help build and establish community and relationships for and with our students and colleagues. This was especially meaningful in the wake of the Lewiston shooting tragedy, which both challenged and solidified for all of us in Maine the meaning of community.

            We look forward to seeing new and former faces at the Spring Meeting. And with an hour to spare – Io Saturnalia!