Catherine Ehrman Thoresen ’23 and William E. Thoresen Professor of Speech and Theatre, Chair of the Theatre Department, Professor of Classics
B.A., Yale University; Ph.D., Stanford University
I received a B.A. in Classics (Greek) at Yale University, and then a Ph.D. in Classics, with a minor in Comparative Literature, at Stanford University. My doctoral work focused on the interpretive implications of doubling and the three-actor convention in Greek tragedy.
At Randolph my students and I put that work on its feet by continuing the R-MWC Greek Play tradition, begun in 1909 by Greek Professor Mabel K. Whiteside. Directing the plays provides insight into the realities facing the ancient playwrights, and my research continues to argue that you cannot understand the plays without understanding how they were played. I have now directed twelve productions using original practices, eleven in the Whiteside Greek Theatre on campus and one in Greece as part of the 2009 summer travel seminar, “Practical Wisdom: Philosophy and Drama in Greece.”
Although Greek drama is my specialty, I love teaching any course that leads students into an understanding of ancient literature and culture, in translation or in the original language. I haven’t met an obscure grammatical term I don’t love, and I do my best to inspire your passion for them as well in my ancient Greek courses. I also try to help students remember that the point of learning that declension or conjugation is to be able to read the words of the ancients, and to draw us that much closer to understanding them and their importance to us.
When I have time, I see movies, read novels, and knit. I live happily on Garland Hill with my husband Chris, my sons Spencer and Leo, and my daughter Helen.
Chair of the Classics Department, Professor of the Classics Department,The Catherine Ehrman Thoresen ’23 and William E. Thoresen Chair of Humanities
B.A., University of South Carolina; M.A., Ph.D., University of Wisconsin (Madison)
Since joining the faculty at Randolph College, I have combined my training as a Classical philologist specializing in Latin with my research as an archaeologist: I teach all levels of Latin language and literature, and courses in Mediterranean archaeology. I try to convey my enthusiasm for Latin as a window into the literature, culture and history of Rome as well as a foundation for learning other languages and developing better English. My archaeology courses emphasize the material culture and physical environment of the Roman world. I like collaborative work: team-teaching with my colleagues in the Art department and observing my Latin students teaching Latin to gifted third, fourth and fifth graders in Lynchburg has been a treat, and eye-opening too.
A specialist in the archaeology of North Africa, I have directed excavations at Carthage and Lamta (Tunisia) that included archaeological field schools for undergraduate students. The excavations resulted in the publication of numerous articles and three books to which current and former students have contributed. I have become especially concerned of late about archaeological and cultural heritage conservation, and have developed a summer course in Italy with conservator Roberto Nardi to get my students involved.
My fieldwork and other collaborative ventures lead me to encourage students to participate in excavations, conservation programs, interdisciplinary research and experiential learning on our campus and overseas. As a student of modern languages and a passionate advocate of overseas travel and study, I urge Classics majors to study in Rome, Athens, Reading University or elsewhere for a semester.