Students, alumnus present at state foreign language teachers conference

Five current and past Ripon College Latin students came together in an hour-long panel at the recent annual conference of the Wisconsin Association of Foreign Language Teachers to introduce and to guide audience discussion on “Trigger Warnings for Sex and Gore in Latin Literature.”

Trigger warnings for literature are classroom notices given in advance of texts that depict sexual abduction or battlefield carnage that might generate adverse reactions from students who have had such traumatic experiences in their personal pasts. Woven into this theme were issues of diversity both in the Latin classroom and in extra-curricular Latin clubs that cause awkwardness, controversy and confrontation.

Panel participants were:

  • Brennan Kane ’17 of Ramsey, Minnesota, a self-designed classical studies major and theater production minor. His senior project about ancient comedy took note of slaves in Roman comedy whose torture and chain-gangs were considered funny. These depictions are relevant to an issue involving the different perspectives of Illinois Latin clubs coming from suburban and urban schools for a state meeting that presented a slave auction.
  • Mark Krause ’19 of Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, encountered literary rapes and abductions in an earlier Ripon Latin class which studied Ovid’s mythology. In an eight-week 2016 summer research project sponsored by the Office of the Academic Dean, Krause engaged in part in further study of gender then and now, and of the Roman poet Catullus, many of whose poems give graphic descriptions of a variety of sexual experiences.
  • Melissa Velpel ’16 of Eagle River, Wisconsin, a double major in self-designed classical studies and in anthropology, presented a feminist critique of the various issues discussed. She anticipates anthropology graduate study next year in the development of human symbol systems.
  • Michaela Myers ’17 of Orlando, Florida, a psychology major and minor both in Latin and in philosophy, raised feminist and racist issues and recalled her experiences in a Latin club at an Orlando high school. She plans future graduate studies in psychology.
  • Nick Osenberg ’11 of Royal Oak, Michigan, a triple major in self-designed classical studies; theater and education, teaches drama at the Warrren (Michigan) Consolidated School of Performing Arts. He brings both classical drama and Latin derivatives to bear on his instruction.

At the awards ceremony of the conference, two Ripon students were recognized for their preparation and promise as Future Foreign Language Teachers.

Lydia Pomeroy ’17 of Hilbert, Wisconsin, in French, and Madeson Walgenback ’16 of Ripon, Wisconsin, in Spanish, were honored for academic potential already achieved and for their bright futures in language education.

Joshua LeGreve ’09 of Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, is finishing a two-year term as WAFLT president and will continue service on the WAFLT Board for an additional two years as past-president. At Ripon, he was a double major in Spanish and physics and now teaches Spanish for the Green Lake County schools.

Since 2002, five Ripon Classics students have made joint or individual presentations at WAFLT meetings; and three of those also read papers at regional classics conferences.

(Pictured: Nicholas Osenberg, left, Michaela Myers, Melissa Velpel, Mark Krause and Brennan Kane.)


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