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Q&A with Daniel Osland, Classics Doctoral Student

Doctoral student Daniel Osland's latest accomplishment is so rare, it seems fitting that the Classics department was its birthplace.

Date: 5/16/2007
By: Britt Kennerly
Phone: (513) 556-8577
Photos By: Melanie Cannon
Doctoral student Daniel Osland's latest accomplishment is so rare, it seems fitting that the Classics department was its birthplace.

His MA thesis, "The Early Roman Cities of Lusitania," was accepted by Archaeopress in 2005 and recently was published in book form. In addition to the kick-start it gives Osland as an author, it's a source of pride for the department: "In my experience this is the first time that we have had an entire MA thesis published as a book," said Jack Davis, Carl W. Blegen Professor of Greek Archaeology.

Osland grew up just outside Lisbon, Portugal, and moved to the U.S. in 1997 to start his college career. He is a 2000 graduate of Wheaton College, where he majored in Anthropology and Archaeology/Near Eastern studies. He received an MA in Classics (concentration in Roman Archaeology) at UC in March 2005.

"I look forward to a career in teaching and archaeological research at an academic institution," he said.

Q) What compelled you to follow this path of study and how did you decide on a thesis topic?
A) Lusitania was one of the three provinces into which the Iberian Peninsula was divided in Roman times, and is today composed of about two-thirds of the country of Portugal and a small western portion of central Spain. I had a natural interest in the region of Lusitania because I spent much of my childhood living in Portugal. Discussion with my thesis committee, C. Brian Rose and Barbara Burrell, led us to the conclusion that this important Roman province is relatively unknown to much of the scholarly community, and I found myself ideally situated to confront this problem.
Daniel Osland, Classics doctoral student
Daniel Osland, Classics doctoral student

Q) Along those lines, what brought you to the Classics department at UC?
A) It wasn't until my senior year in college that I began seriously researching programs in Roman archaeology. I quickly realized that a strong background in Greek and Latin language is extremely important to guarantee success both in graduate studies and on the job market, especially for those who intend to teach and research at the university level. I was initially drawn to UC because of the very strong reputation of the Department of Classics in the field of Classical and Bronze Age archaeology. But the Department of Classics here at UC is also one of only a few such departments in the world equipped to offer the highest level of training in the Classical languages along with a thorough program in the art, archaeology, and history of the Classical world.

Q) What are some of the benefits you've enjoyed through studying here?
A) While the availability of expert faculty in Latin, Greek, history, and archaeology is a major benefit of the Classics program here at UC, the Classics Department is also gifted with unparalleled library collections, housed in the Burnam Classics Library. The Margo Tytus Visiting Scholars Program, currently directed by Getzel Cohen, provides generous support for scholars from all over the world to take advantage of the Classics collections that graduate students at UC are able to access on a daily basis. The Classics Library's outstanding holdings have made it possible for me to do much of my MA thesis research here in Cincinnati, despite the relative obscurity of the subject of my thesis, Roman Lusitania.

Q) How unusual is it for an MA thesis to be published as a book, and how did the publication of the book come about?
A) The members of my thesis committee, along with the departmental advisor and chair of archaeology, Jack Davis, strongly encouraged me to seek a publisher for my thesis, and I would never have continued forward with that process without their continuing encouragement and support. An updated and revised version of my MA thesis was accepted for publication by Archaeopress in 2005, and the book appeared in 2006 as volume 1519 in their British Archaeological Reports, International Series.

Q) What does being a published author mean for you as a student and as a researcher? And what type of feedback have you gotten on the book to date?
A) Regarding feedback, I think it's safe to say that only family members have read the book so far, perhaps along with some interested parties in Spain and/or Portugal, so I haven't gotten any academic feedback so far! This book is my first publication, and even though I still look at it as just my MA thesis, I am quite proud of what it represents for me as a graduate student. I have already made a small contribution to the field of Classics, and have been given the opportunity to continue my work here at UC through the PhD. In addition, the publication process brought me into contact with a network of researchers who share similar aims and interests to my own. The publication of my MA thesis has definitely changed how I approach my dissertation research, and I hope that the lessons I learned through that process will enhance and simplify my future publication efforts.

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