Dr. Rob Irons '00, assistant professor of classics, has an exciting summer ahead of him. He has been selected for two back-to-back research opportunities in Europe. First, Irons is one of five scholars to receive a grant from Richmond, The American International University in London, for their Summer Fellowship Program in Rome. A day after that fellowship ends, he is due in Greece for a seminar sponsored by Harvard University's Center for Hellenic Studies and the Council of Independent Colleges on Ancient Greece in the Modern College Classroom.
As a visiting fellow in Rome, Dr. Irons will examine Francesco Patrizi's 1568 critique of Aristotle's Poetics. Widely treated with reverence and admiration, the Poetics has exerted monumental influence on the history of literary criticism; however, Patrizi, little known outside of Italy, systematically challenged each of Aristotle's definitions of tragedy as imitation. Dr. Irons hopes to clarify, scrutinize, and defend Patrizi's arguments during his research in Rome.
Following a presentation of his research to other scholars in Rome, Dr. Irons will switch gears from researcher to student, when he joins nineteen other faculty—selected from colleges and universities all over the United States—for a seminar in Greece. Held in Nafplio at Harvard University's Center for Hellenic Studies in Greece, the seminar will also include overnight excursions to Olympia, Delphi, and Athens. The group's travels will follow some of the geographic descriptions of Pausanias, a second century CE traveler who recorded his observations in ten guidebooks. "The experience will inform my teaching like no other research," said Dr. Irons. "I have been studying Greek language and literature my entire adult life but have never been to Greece."
Dr. Irons feels fortunate to have been granted what he calls a "double clerical error." But in all seriousness, he is excited and grateful for both fully-funded research opportunities. Securing such opportunities not only expands the reputation of H-SC beyond our gates, but provides professors with new insights to share with our students. In addition to the knowledge he will apply to his western culture and Greek classes, he hopes to make connections while in Italy and Greece to help future students study abroad.