Nina Papathanasopoulou joined the Classics faculty at College Year in Athens in January 2020. She specializes in Greek drama, mythology, and its reception. Her dissertation and early research focused on Aristophanes’ treatment of space and use of myth, while her current research explores the role of Greek myth in the work of the revolutionary 20th century choreographer, Martha Graham. She has published on Martha Graham’s reimagining of the myths of Medea, Ariadne, Oedipus and Jocasta, and is currently researching Clytemnestra, Graham’s take on the myth of Agamemnon. In 2022 Nina started producing a series of presentations on Graham and Greek Mythology that integrate engaging talks, classical philology, and live dance. The series, titled “Martha Graham and Greek Myth”, aims to bring Nina’s academic research to the public at large.
Nina completed her PhD in Classics at Columbia University in 2013 and her BA in Classics at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens in 2003. From 2013 to 2019 she was Visiting Assistant Professor of Classics at Connecticut College, where she taught Greek, Latin, Classics and Theater courses and was heavily involved in outreach programming for Classics. At Connecticut College she also served as academic advisor both for Classica majors and for first-year students navigating their transition to college.
Since January 2019 she also works as the Public Engagement Coordinator for the Society for Classical Studies, where she oversees their new initiative, “Ancient Worlds, Modern Communities” (formerly Classics Everywhere). This initiative encourages interdisciplinary collaborations between Classics and other fields and supports programs that engage individuals, groups, and communities in critical discussion of and creative expression related to the ancient Mediterranean. Nina writes regular posts for the SCS blog about the programs the initiative supports.
Nina sees teaching as the heart of her work. She uses her passion and enthusiasm for the material and for the dynamics of education, and she strives to spark her students’ curiosity and desire for learning. In class she tries to create a comfortable environment where students are encouraged to voice their opinions freely, while fostering intellectual rigor and creativity. Nina believes that studying the Ancient Greeks – their literature and culture – can help us understand human nature and human difference, gain a deeper appreciation of ourselves and others, and think deeply about the way we operate and co-exist in our societies. She is driven by her goal of teaching the Ancient Greeks to elicit sympathy and compassion for human beings across time and across the globe in order to help students become responsible citizens of the world.
Read more about her thoughts on the value of teaching Classics in the 21st century in her piece Awakening Compassion Through the Greeks.
“Myth and Theater: Greek Tragedy’s Engagement with Greek Myth” (forthcoming)
“Jocasta’s Last Hours: Identity, Responsibility, and Violence in Martha Graham’s Night Journey”, Classical Receptions Journal 15.1 (2023): 57-84, Oxford University Press
Review. Michael Ewans’ Medea. Translation and Theatrical Commentary. Routledge. The Classical Review, 1-3. Cambridge. 2022. doi:10.1017/S0009840X22002025
“Poreia Theater’s Prometheus Bound”, Review, Didaskalia 16.05, 2022
“Serpent Heart: Animality, Jealousy, and Transgression in Martha Graham’s Medea”, International Journal of the Classical Tradition 28.2, 2021, pp.159-82, 10.1007/s12138-019-00541-3
“Strong Household, Strong City: Exploring Space in Aristophanes’ Acharnians” in Aristophanes and Politics, eds. Foley, H. and Rosen, R., Brill, April 2020.
“Martha Graham’s Greeks”, Didaskalia 15.15, 2019
“Tragic and Epic Visions of the Oikos in Aristophanes’ Wasps”, Classical World 112.4, 2019, pp. 253-78