Why Study Classics?
Anika Prather, Lecturer at Howard University, and Solveig Gold, Senior Research Assistant in the James Madison Program and PhD Candidate in Classics at the University of Cambridge
By looking at the lives of African Americans who have found inspiration in the classics we can all learn about the enduring value of these texts. The same fire that burned in the souls of our classically educated Founding Fathers was also ignited in the soul of Frederick Douglass and many others who strived to make America live up to its promises. Why do these texts awaken that fire in so many of us? This event will seek to unveil reasons why classic texts have for centuries been relevant to all of humanity and have been at the root of our progress.
Dr. Anika Prather earned her BA from Howard University in elementary education. She also has earned several graduate degrees in education from New York University and Howard University. She has a Masters in liberal arts from St. John’s College, Annapolis, and a PhD in English, Theatre, and Literacy Education from the University of Maryland, College Park. Her research focus is on building literacy with African American students through engagement in the books of the canon. She recently self-published her book Living in the Constellation of the Canon: The Lived Experiences of African American Students Reading Great Books Literature. Dr. Prather has served as a teacher, supervisor for student teachers, director of education and Head of School. Currently she teaches in the Classics Department at Howard University and is the founder of The Living Water School, located in Southern Maryland. She and her husband live in the DC area with their three children.
Solveig Gold (AB ’17) is a 2021–2022 Senior Research Assistant in the James Madison Program, studying the centrality of marriage laws in Plato’s Laws. A native New Yorker, she received her A.B. in Classics from Princeton and was co-winner of the Moses Taylor Pyne Prize, the highest general distinction the University confers on an undergraduate. She received an MPhil with distinction in Classics from the University of Cambridge, where she is finishing up her PhD on “slavery to the laws” and “slavery to the gods” in Plato’s thought. She has published articles in Classical Quarterly, First Things, the Human Life Review, the New Criterion, Quillette, and the Spectator, and she is co-author, with her grandfather, Robert W. Jenson, of Conversations with Poppi: An Eight-Year-Old and Her Theologian Grandfather Trade Questions, published by Brazos Press and subsequently translated into Korean, Mandarin, and Arabic.