On March 18, 2010 I had the opportunity to speak with Classics professors Dan Tompkins, Robin Mitchell-Boyask, and Sydnor Roy. I wanted to understand how Classics research–and humanities research more generally–had changed in the course of the past few decades in the wake of broad transformations in academia, technology, and society.
Dan Tompkins received his PhD from Yale University in 1968 with a dissertation entitled Stylistic Characterization in Thucydides. Robin Mitchell-Boyask graduated in 1988 from Brown University with a dissertation entitled Tragic Identity: Studies in Euripides and Shakespeare. Sydnor Roy is a 2010 graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her dissertation is entitled Political Relativism: Implicit Political Theory in Herodotus’ Histories.
We began by discussing their respective dissertation experiences: where they studied, what kinds of sources they used, the technology that was available, and the scholarly community that surrounded them. Since the three dissertations spanned the years from 1968 to 2010, the discussion revealed interesting similarities and differences in the academic environment over the past forty years. Below is Part 1 of our discussion. Parts 2 and 3 will follow.
Listen to the audio of the discussion, Part I
iTunes U link (for downloads)