Hi! I’m Aven McMaster, and I’m happy to get the chance to step in to host this week. I’ve really been enjoying the mix of voices I’ve seen over the last couple of months, and hope I can contribute a complementary perspective.
I grew up in Ottawa, Canada, and I did my BA, MA, & PhD in Classics at the University of Toronto. I now teach Classical Studies at Thorneloe University at Laurentian, in Sudbury, Ontario, Canada. My teaching covers most areas of the ancient world, with an emphasis on literature and Roman stuff, at the undergraduate level. This year, for instance, I taught Greek Epic, Introductory Latin, 3rd year Latin, Roman Civilization, and Greek & Roman Tragedy. My research focusses on Latin poetry, particularly poets like Catullus, Horace, Tibullus, Propertius, and Virgil. I’m interested in the intersection of social history and poetry, and the ways the cultural values of the Roman world are expressed, used, adapted, or rejected in the poems that I love. Thorneloe is a small place (our department has 6 faculty members, of whom 3 are full-time) but Laurentian, which we’re part of, is a reasonably sizable university. Sudbury is in Northern Ontario, and its main industry is mining; I may spend some time this week introducing you to some of the more interesting aspects of the city and its history, as well as my own experiences here.
Outside of class I also work with my husband, a medievalist by training, who is currently producing a series of educational (and entertaining) videos, mostly about language, literature, and history, that explore the interconnected nature of knowledge. I’ll probably talk about these videos this week, and the issues of interdisciplinarity, outreach, and online education that are raised by them. My role is mostly editing the sound & video, and helping with production & publicity, but I do have a couple of tiny cameos in his cocktail-themed episodes.
Which brings me to another interest that will definitely make it into my tweeting–cocktails! I found out not too long ago that someone in the larger university community knew me as the “Gin Professor” because I tweet about gin so much on my personal account... She assured me it wasn’t a bad thing...
And finally, I’m sure I’ll mention my 2 sons (4 & 8) in passing. The well-worn subject of work/life/family balance may be a cliché by now, but it isn’t going away any time soon, and I think it’s always worthwhile sharing my experience of being an academic mother, in case it’s helpful, reassuring, revelatory, or of interest to anyone else in a similar position.
I'm looking forward to chatting with everyone this week, and hopefully continuing the conversations afterward. My personal twitter is @AvenSarah; I also maintain an account for my classes, @AvenMcMaster.