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Poetry and Power: Classics Professor to Lead Top Philological Group

Expert on Greek and Latin literature – especially Greek poetry of the Hellenistic period – was elected president of the American Philological Association. She hopes to motivate students to pursue further contact with international scholars.

Date: 12/5/2012
By: Tom Robinette
Phone: (513) 556-8577
Spread the word about this wordsmith: The University of Cincinnati’s Kathryn Gutzwiller was recently elected president of the American Philological Association (APA).

The professor of classics will begin her one-year term as president in January 2014. She’ll serve as president-elect in January 2013 and immediate past president in 2015.

The APA, founded in 1869, is the most prestigious society in North America for the study of ancient Greek and Roman languages, literatures and civilizations. Peter van Minnen, head of the Department of Classics in the McMicken College of Arts & Sciences, says Gutzwiller’s election is a tremendous achievement.

“The American Philological Association is the national organization of classicists, and this represents a great honor for our department and the college,” van Minnen says.

UC President Santa J. Ono notes Gutzwiller’s election is another point of pride in the university’s tradition of academic leadership.

"Professor Gutzwiller’s election is just one example of the way that our UC faculty are shaping the future of scholarship in their respective fields and bringing honor to our university," Ono says.

Gutzwiller says that with this recognition from her peers comes an obligation to help the APA respond to the changing nature of scholarship and to find ways to promote classics in schools and institutions of higher learning as well as to the public at large. And while her leadership of such a prominent organization will draw increased national attention to her colleagues in A&S, it also will directly benefit her students.

“The insight that I gain from my national perspective on classics will help our department guide students in making choices about research and benefit them during their entry into the job market,” Gutzwiller says. “I anticipate that my special initiative to strengthen contacts between the APA and scholars in other countries will encourage our students to establish contacts with international scholars.”

Gutzwiller previously served as an elected member of the APA board of directors (2002-2005) and served as editor of the American Classical Studies series of monographs published for the APA by Oxford University Press (2006-2011). She was also the 2001 recipient of the Charles J. Goodwin Award of Merit, granted by the association for her “Poetic Garlands: Hellenistic Epigrams in Context.”

Gutzwiller’s special interests include Greek and Latin literature, ancient literary theory, gender studies, and the interaction of text and art. Much of her research has been focused on the Greek poetry of the Hellenistic period, the period from the death of Alexander the Great to the domination of Rome. Through her research, Gutzwiller works to make clear the importance of the literature and thought of the Hellenistic period as the connection between Greek and Roman cultures.

“Many members of the American public are fascinated by the ancient world,” Gutzwiller says. “When a new discovery is made, people are eager to learn about these new texts and objects that illuminate a world similar in many ways to our own.”

One of her most recent publications (American Journal of Archaeology, Fall 2012) combines literary and visual evidence in a study of recently discovered mosaics from ancient Antioch that depict scenes from the lost plays of the comic poet Menander.

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