Professor Listing

KellyMacFarlaneHeadshot2

Kelly MacFarlane, PhD

Faculty Lecturer

Arts

History and Classics

About Me

I have been teaching in Classics at the University of Alberta for the past fourteen years as a member of the Academic Teaching Staff (that is, non-permanent, non tenure-track academic staff, with a primary focus on teaching). I am not only a member of the teaching staff, but also an alum (I got my PhD from the University of Alberta in 2002). I spent a few years away from the U of A, teaching at Mt Allison as the Crake Doctoral Fellow, at then University of Western Ontario and at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale as a “contract academic” / “adjunct” (temporary teaching staff). While I enjoyed my time at the other institutions, I was very happy to come back home to the U of A. We have an excellent department, in an excellent university, full of active and engaged students, in an exciting city. I’ll pass over the issue of our winters…

My dissertation was on the Greek poetic accounts of the Persian Wars, which was primarily an analysis of how the Greeks, and the Athenians in particular, viewed themselves and their heroic actions against the invading Persian ‘barbarians.’ I’ve published several articles stemming from my dissertation, specifically the very fragmentary texts of Timotheus of Miletus and Choerilus of Samos, and at the position of Timotheus and Choerilus within the Greek poetic tradition.

While I will always have a love for Greek poets (in particular), much of my teaching involves first-year Latin, from which stems my current research in Latin paedagogy. I am working on a new method of teaching Latin, with a focus on comprehension and communication, and on understanding Latin as a real language used by real people to discuss real things that were really understood when communicated to other real people. My approach is inspired by the “Living Latin” movement, which seeks to treat Latin as a functional language that students can understand as a means of communication by reading and writing and speaking and hearing it. The end result will be, I hope, a new Latin learning system that will lead current students to fall in love with Latin (and Classics!) and encourage more students to take Latin in the future.

When not immersed in all things Classics, I spend much of my free time volunteering with a local cat rescue (SAFE Team Rescue – home of many adorable adoptable kitties!): adopt; don’t shop!


Research

My current scholarly activity centres on the course books I'm developing for Introductory Latin (taking a more interactive approach to learning Latin as a "real"language) and for my CLASS 291: Introduction to Scientific Terminology, intended to help students understand the influence Classics had on modern science and helping them to make sense of scientific vocabulary by teaching them the Greek and Latin roots that form so much of scientific terminology. 

My other research is part of Brill's Research Perspectives in Classical Poetry series; I will be writing the article on later Greek epic.

In the (hopefully near!) future, I want to get back to the work on was doing on socially unacceptable behaviour in Athens and Rome -- this was inspired by recent work on modern A**holes and what that word signifies and why. I thought it would be interesting to see who would have been considered an "A-hole" by the ancients. 

As a Faculty Lecturer (I have "career status" but am not tenure-track), I am not able to supervise graduate students. I am, however, able to be a member of advisory committees for MA and PhD students


Teaching

I regularly teach multiple sections of our first year Latin courses (LATIN 101 and 102), and am working on material to facilitate teaching Latin in an more interactive fashion, with a greater focus on learning the language as a language, and with less of a focus on the traditional "grammar and translation" approach. While grammar will always (of course!) have a place in the Latin class, by shifting the focus from the overt analysis of grammar to understanding Latin as a real language, used by real people, to say real things, I hope to enhance the student experience in the classroom through exciting and engaging things to read and discuss, and in the process, revitalize our Latin program. 

I am developing a new course (CLASS 291: Introduction to Scientific Terminology), aimed primarily at students with an interest in the Sciences. So much of scientific vocabulary is derived from Greek and Latin roots, and so an understanding of those roots and the language of science can help students master scientific vocabulary. Because most of the available material is aimed largely at medical sciences and medical terminology, and so excludes terminology of botany, geography, biology (to name just a few!), I am developing a new course book intended to teach students the roots of scientific English, the nature of scientific language, and the influence of the Classics on the Sciences. (The Liberal Arts and STEM are better when we view them as STEAM!)

Other courses I teach include are our literature in translation courses:  Classical Lit (CLASS 221), Greek Lit (CLASS 321), Roman Lit (322), and special topics courses involving specific literature and culture topics (eg Augustan Literature, or Periclean Athens), and our popular course on Magic and Witchcraft in the ancient world.