Julia Chavez makes The Iliad relevant to 21st century students

inWords Archive

Alumni

From theory to practice. Alexander, Olga and Alex Anderson '14 apply their engineering studies to the real world by bringing clean water to Papua New Guinea.

Twins Kathleen and Jacqueline Byron ’92, engineer great lives…together.

For Tanzania's Doctor Sister Redemista Ngonyani, O.S.B. '04 education is key to being the change she wants to see in the world.

Christine Schaller '93, aiming high because of Saint Martin’s University.

Rae Simpson BSN '95, MSN '98, using her Saint Martin's education to see the bigger picture.

Joe Skillman '13, masters the art of balancing family, school, work and faith.

Looking for the perfect Christmas tree? Ask Jonathan Sprouffske '04 and his family who keep the holiday tradition alive and well.

Current students

Washington Association for Marriage and Family Therapy honors MAC candidate Liz Robinson '15 with $500 scholarship.

Presenting in paradise! For psychology major Timothy Templin, Honolulu made the presentation process a calmer experience.

Faculty

Jeff Birkenstein, being influenced by Russian writers in Petrozavodsk.

Julia Chavez, helping students see themselves through the universal elements of Homer's The Iliad.

Mary Jo Hartman, broadening SMU's biology horizons through "Sound Learning Communities."

Louise Kaplan inspires the next generation of nursing professionals.

Professor Terry McAdam explores the challenges when forensic science meets the law, in a new textbook for criminal justice studies.

Why present your scholarly work? Jeremy Newton offers insight into presentation benefits.

New York City. Summer 2014. Healing and social justice through improvisation. A Playback Theatre workshop with Leticia Nieto.

Institution

Six lives are changed by service immersion in Tanzania.

What do you get when you cross a pig naming contest with a pig hunt? Why student philanthropy, of course!

Pack your bags! It's time to head north, south, east or west with Saint Martin's study abroad programs.

Two transfer students representing the Benedictine values and the Saint Martin's spirit are awarded $26,000 each.

Want to become a better teacher? Try traveling to Inner Mongolia.

Like what? Post where? Retweet who? The Saint Martin's Social Squad social(media)-izes SMU!

#SaintsAlive! Let's get sustainable! Going to Bellingham and going green.

How do you make the seemingly unfloatable float? Why build a concrete canoe of course!

Transformation is the name of the game for the 2013 women's fastpitch softball team.

Celebrity chef Michael Symon helps SMU raise $960,000 for student scholarships.

Team Anderson: Olga, Alex and Alexander engineer for the future.

SMU 'takes the LEED' with the highest certification in the Western Hemisphere.

2013 fall convocation Taking the road less traveled.


Julia Chavez opens the door to The Iliad

In these fast-paced days of Twitter, Facebook and other compressed communication, reading something the length of the 600-page Homeric poem, The Iliad, can seem epically overwhelming to students, says Julia Chavez, Ph.D., assistant professor of English. She calls reading the poem "a badge of honor" shared by generations of students.

Chavez was one of 20 faculty participants chosen by the Council of Independent Colleges and Harvard University’s Center for Hellenic Studies to attend a summer seminar, "Ancient Greece in the Modern Classroom," in Washington, D.C.

The seminar helped her deepen her own grasp of the text and develop ways to show her students how The Iliad continues to be a poem of our times, she said. "Many of our students have grown up in a kind of "shame" culture (where saving face is important), have seen warfare first hand (in Iraq and Afghanistan), have aspirations to achieve greatness in their professional lives—or at least personal success— and have deep loyalties to friends and family members alike. For all of these reasons, they are not so very different from The Iliad’s main characters – Achilles, Ajax, Patroclus, Odysseus, Agamemnon, Helen, Priam, Paris, Hector and Andromache. Helping students recognize the universal elements within this Homeric epic is one important way to keep enduring classics alive in today’s college classroom."

At Saint Martin’s this year, Chavez will teach courses in college writing, Victorian literature and women’s literature. She also will co-teach courses on the Romantic Period and introductory fiction, centering on American fiction from the ‘50s and ‘60s.