Classics Seminar Examines the Philosophy and Dialogues of Plato

​This summer, CIC and the Center for Hellenic Studies cosponsored a seminar on Ancient Greece in the Modern College Classroom for the 12th consecutive year. The popular faculty development program is designed to strengthen the use of classical texts in undergraduate general education.

Seventeen CIC faculty members from a broad range of disciplines participated in the seminar on “The Verbal Art of Plato” (see participants list). The seminar examined the Athenian philosopher’s dialogues in which he “stages” encounters between Socrates and some of the most celebrated intellectuals in the second half of the fifth century BCE. The language of these conversations reflects Plato’s keen ear for the complex traditions of verbal art. Seminar participants studied the Ion, Apology, Symposium, and Phaedo, observing how Plato constructed a Socrates based on the historical person but transformed into a character who articulated and embodied Plato’s agenda. Readings also included complementary texts such as selections from the Homeric poems and the dramas of Athenian playwrights. The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation generously supported the seminar, which took place at Harvard University’s Center for Hellenic Studies in Washington, DC, July 24–30, 2017.

The seminar was led by Gregory Nagy, Francis Jones Professor of Classical Greek Literature, professor of comparative literature at Harvard University, and director of the Center for Hellenic Studies, Harvard University; and Kenneth Scott Morrell, associate professor of Greek and Roman studies, Rhodes College (TN), and director of fellowships and curricular development, Center for Hellenic Studies.

Participant Robert Sharp, associate professor of philosophy at Muskingum University (OH), remarked, “I teach Plato in several courses, from intro to philosophy to ancient philosophy. This seminar will help immensely whenever I teach Plato. The context that was provided for the dialogues, as well as the analysis of verbal tools that are used throughout, will give me information that will help students place the dialogues in their historical settings and see connections they would not otherwise know. I already include Aristophanes in introductory philosophy courses, but I can now open up the exchange between Socrates and his critics more than ever before, so that students fully understand what is at stake.”

View more information about the seminar.


Anderson University (IN)
Elizabeth Imafuji
Associate Professor of English

Bethel University (MN)
Angela Sabates
Associate Professor of Psychology

Bloomfield College (NJ)
Fiona Harris-Ramsby
Assistant Professor of Writing and Rhetoric

Carthage College (WI)
Brian Schwartz
Assistant Professor of Physics and Astronomy

Centre College (KY)
Eva Cadavid
Associate Professor of Philosophy

Dordt College (IA)
Walker Cosgrove
Associate Professor of History

Luther College (IA)
Holly Moore
Associate Professor of Philosophy

Lynn University (FL)
Sophia Stone
Assistant Professor of Philosophy

Monmouth College (IL)
Anne Mamary
Professor of Philosophy
Muskingum University (OH)
Robert Sharp
Associate Professor of Philosophy

North Central College (IL)
Adam Kotsko
Assistant Professor of Humanities

Northwestern College (IA)
John Vonder Bruegge
Assistant Professor of Religion

Oberlin College (OH)
Wendy Hyman
Associate Professor of English

St. Olaf College (MN)
Danny Muñoz-Hutchinson
Associate Professor of Philosophy

Tuskegee University (AL)
Brett Coppenger
Assistant Professor of Philosophy

University of the Incarnate Word (TX)
Christopher Edelman
Associate Professor of Philosophy

Westminster College (PA)
David Goldberg
Associate Professor of Philosophy