This week, BHS students had the opportunity to hear Dr. Emily Hauser, an award winning scholar and author, speak about her work to develop fictional retellings of famous classical myths. Hauser studied at Cambridge, England; holds a doctorate in Classics from Yale; and is currently a fellow at Harvard University. Her talk focused on her work as a Classics scholar, her emphasis on gender in her writing, as well as the importance of storytelling.
The presentation was initiated by World Languages teacher Gregory Stringer, who first discovered Hauser’s work on Twitter. As BHS’s only Latin teacher, Mr. Stringer’s motivation in bringing Hauser to the school was to ensure that his students were exposed to voices other than his own and that they understood the importance of perspective. He also wanted to provide them with an understanding of various professional options for students interested in Classics scholarship.
In the spirit of professional collaboration and with the recognition of a need for more interdisciplinary learning at BHS, Mr. Stringer invited the English Department to get involved. Dr. Hauser’s talk has many connections to the English curriculum. In particular, her use of reinterpretation as a frame for storytelling emphasizes the need for a variety of voices while reinforcing the importance of understanding different viewpoints and hearing the stories of those who are marginalized within our stock stories. Additionally, listening to an author discuss her decisions regarding her craft certainly enriched students’ experience with literature – helping them to consider authorial intent, structure, and style.
After Dr. Hauser’s talk, students and faculty were invited to a more casual reception where Hauser signed books, answered students’ questions, and impressed everyone with her quick wit. Hauser clearly made an impression on students. Her books, For the Winner: A Novel of Jason and the Argonauts, and For the Most Beautiful: A Novel of the Women of Troy, have been flying off the library shelves. In fact, either book would make a great choice for the BHS Diverse Reads Challenge; March’s challenge is to read a book written by a female author (register to participate here).
We are so grateful for Dr. Hauser’s generosity and willingness to speak to our students, and for Mr. Stringer’s efforts to ensure that BHS students are exposed to such enriching learning experiences. We look forward to further collaboration.