Kate Wilson wins teaching grant

Fall Latin seminar will get a taste of the world of farming

Lecturer Kate Wilson has been awarded a Classroom Innovation Grant from the College of Arts & Sciences to enhance her Fall 2019 seminar on Vergil's Georgics, a didactic poem on the subject of farming that also engages with the tumultous politics of the late Roman Republic and with the myth-infused landscape of ancient Italy. This is an ideal subject for a seminar with both classroom and extramural components, and for an instructor with expertise in ancient didactic and scientific literature. Professor Wilson explains her agenda: "Since antiquity, the poet’s credentials to teach about farming have been questioned, and scholars tend to ignore the practical knowledge in their analysis of the symbolism within the poem. My goal is for the students not only to understand the political and cultural context of the poem and the significance of agriculture in the period, but also the practical knowledge in the poem and the link between the two. This will require a serious engagement with the practical realities of farming and its symbolic importance to a society." Recognizing that the St. Louis area boasts a high concentration of agriculture and plant science, Professor Wilson will coordinate for her students "a series of experiences to supplement their reading of Latin, which will teach them what farming entails and prompt them to reflect on its larger political significance." This includes a visit to the GROW exhibit at the St. Louis Science Center, visits to two area farms, and the experience of monitoring the growth of a plant of their own. Professor Wilson's teaching is always innovative, but this takes things up a notch - we know her students will have a one-of-a-kind experience, and we are proud of her success!