I strive for a participatory classroom, regardless of the topic or the classroom (including the online classroom). Socrates took for granted the self-motivated energy of his pupils to engage in active learning. In fifth century Athens, it took two to have those passionate Socratic dialogues and only one of them was the teacher. Socrates did not want passive receptors of knowledge, nor do I. I try to help my students find what they are passionate about, not only in Classics, but also in life; and then I try to help them figure out a way to embrace that passion as they envision their post-UGA life.
I have a long-standing love affair with the people and places of Roman Carthage and with the material culture of the Mediterranean. Teaching classical languages and cultures with archaeological information breathes life into history and makes ancient texts come alive. Any artifact--a text or a tomb--helps us construct a fuller picture of ancient lives. I am particularly interested in the intersections between the Greco-Roman worlds and the non Greco-Roman worlds of North Africa. How the pre-Roman cultures percolate to the surface and become visible in the culture of Roman North Africa and how they change that culture fascinate me.
For more than 20 years I have directed the excavation at the University of Georgia's project at the Roman city of Carthage (present day Tunisia). The major focus is the amazingly preserved Yasmina Necropolis (cemetery) which has been given us great insight into all aspects of Roman Carthage. A wide cross section of the city was buried in the Necropolis as evidenced by the massive amounts of art, pottery, skeletons and other items found at the site. These allow us to reconstruct the artistic, religious, social, and political aspects of the ancient city.