HUM 580 / MALAS 600a:
Open Worlds: Exploring the Unknown in Antiquity
Instructor: David A. Wallace-Hare
Virtual Meetings (via Zoom): Wed.16:00 – 18:40 pm
Course Delivery: SYNCHRONOUS
Office Hours: Mondays 12:00-13:00 and by appt.
Open Worlds explores societal and social realities and imaginaries in the ancient Mediterranean through an examination of the literature which ancient travel and migration in this large connected zone generated. Travel will be the vehicle by which we investigate conceptions of adventure, safety, interconnectedness, the other, and the supernatural in a theoretically borderless Europe and Mediterranean. The borders of the foregoing ideas will be made manifest through close reading of texts dealing with real and fictionalized travel produced by ancient Greek and Latin authors. In particular, largish ancient novels related to travel will be our main portal to these ideas.
In a sense, this course is also an oblique introduction to the ancient novel, of which we will read several canonical examples. As works of fiction, the course will also instill an awareness of the divisions between literary travel and examples of real travel in the Mediterranean found in less (but not entirely non) fictional genres of history and papyrological and inscriptional evidence.
BIO: David Wallace-Hare is a Roman social, economic, and environmental historian and epigrapher. He is also a specialist in the history and archaeology of ancient and medieval beekeeping in the Iberian Peninsula. Since 2018, he has been an investigator on the HESPERIA: Palaeohispanic Languages Data Bank, an ongoing epigraphic project at the Universidad del País Vasco. At SDSU, David will carry out an investigation of bee forage plants mentioned in Late Antique and medieval textual sources from the Visigothic Kingdom and al-Andalus. His work provides a vehicle for applying historical data concerning bee forage plants to the current environment, healing the future with the past by recreating more stable ecosystems for bees through tailored replanting of historical bee forage plants. A long-term goal of this work is to create a global historical bee-forage database to allow individuals and communities to keep bees more sustainably based on models from the past. Here is a picture of me in Gijón at the Muséu del Pueblu d’Asturies to photograph traditional Spanish beekeeping technology in fall 2018. Cork hives are seen above.