Homer-Inspired Performance at Center for Greek Studies Encourages Empathy, Equity

Wednesday, July 01, 2020

SOCIETY FOR CLASSICAL STUDIES -- On the opposite side of the country, Alexandra Pappas, associate professor and director for the Center for Greek Studies at San Francisco State University, also uses Greek texts as a tool for discussing human emotions and challenging experiences.

On March 2 she organized a performance called “Conversations with Homer,” a series of first-person songs that capture the horror, grief and love that permeate Homer’s epic poem and the combat experience. The event aimed to build bridges between the local and the academic community, the humanities and the arts, the ancient and the modern. With the support of the Classics Everywhere Initiative, a number of humanities and arts programs at SFSU and the V.E.T.S.@SFSU, a student group comprised of war veterans, Pappas was able to bring together a broad range of artists to collaborate in creating an original work based on Homer.

One of the SFSU students who attended the event, Alberto Pimentel, gave a moving testament to the power of today’s artists to facilitate emotional healing through ancient epic:

“My grandmother, my family’s pillar, had just passed away and having the opportunity to attend SFSU’s Center for Greek Studies’ ‘Conversations with Homer’ seemed to me wholly necessary. This event led to the catharsis that we simply had not had after a tormenting week of having suddenly suffered the inevitable.”