Classics Research Lab Launches Spring 2019

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In spring 2019 the Classics Department at Johns Hopkins will launch an exciting initiative for undergraduates: research “laboratories” in which students can enroll for credit as they would any normal course. Each lab will be different, but each will engage students in direct, empirical research connected to the current work of the faculty member in charge. Some labs will complete their work in a semester, others may be ongoing or intermittent; in the latter case, students may join for just a term, or return.

The first Classics Research Lab, The John Addington Symonds Project (JASP), will be led by Shane Butler, Professor and Chair of the Classics Department and Nancy H. and Robert E. Hall Professor in the Humanities, in collaboration with staff in the Sheridan Libraries. The lab will investigate the work of the Victorian writer John Addington Symonds, author of one of the first major studies of Ancient Greek sexuality, which was privately printed in ten copies and circulated anonymously. The proposed research has several components, but its primary focus will be the reconstruction of the contents of Symonds’s personal library, dispersed after his death, with special attention to the sources that enabled him to write about antiquity. In addition, we shall explore various methods to map Symonds’s connections and influence, especially through the circulation of his secret study, but also via his other writings on Greek literature, Italian travel, the Renaissance, and other topics.

Participants will contribute directly to the lab’s discoveries and their dissemination, while learning key skills in humanistic research (including classical reception studies and the history of sexuality), archival and rare book research, and digital humanities.

The lab will have twice-weekly meetings, but participants will also have continuous access to a dedicated workspace on the second floor of Gilman Hall.

There are no specific prerequisites for joining a lab, but students should write the lab leader (Shane.Butler@jhu.edu) before enrolling to confirm their suitability. Permission to enroll will be automatic for majors and minors in the following areas: Classics, WGS, English, GRLL. However, places will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, so please contact Prof. Butler ASAP to secure a spot.