B.A. Classical Studies, Dickinson College
AREAS OF INTEREST
Greek tragedy, comedy and philosophy
Professor Given specializes in Athenian tragedy and comedy of the 5th century B.C. He is especially interested in how playwrights engage contemporary philosophical debates regarding identity and ethics. His dissertation examined how intellectuals in tragedy and comedy performed their identities by balancing claims to expertise with the need for assimilation in a democratic context. In his published work, Professor Given has continued to focus on identity performance in both tragedy and comedy. He has also written comparatively on Athenian comedy and American musical theater. He argues that the identity categories featured in most scholarship - gender, sexual orientation, class status, etc. - cannot be understood in the Athenian context without careful attention to ethics.
Prof. Given is also very interested in the practice of theater. He has produced and performed in several staged readings for the American Philological Association. His roles have included Neptune in Seneca's Apocolocyntosis, Poseidon in Aristophanes' Birds, Neptune in Gilbert & Sullivan's Thespis, and Silenus (slave to Poseidon's son Polyphemus) in Euripides' Cyclops. Typecasting is hell.
"My mantra in teaching is that the self-reflective student is the best student. It is vitally important to learning that a student at any level understand not only what he or she learns, but also how and why he or she learns. To this end, I direct students to examine their own methodology for studying, and to interrogate the course of their own education. In the realm of langauge learning in particular, I have been strongly influenced by my training at the University of Michigan, where methdological techniques have been developed to enable students to read non-spoken languages with great facility. Students, while studying the Greek or Latin language, learn a great deal about the structure of language itself and about their own linguistic habits.
"Constructions of Motherhood in Euripides' Medea." Text and Presentation, 2008 (forthcoming, 2009).
"When Gods Don't Appear: Divine Absence and Human Agency in Aristophanes." Classical World 101 (forthcoming, 2008).
"The Agathon Scene in Aristophanes' Thesmophoriazusae." Symbolae Osloenses 82 (2007): 35-51.
"Narrative Discontinuity and Identity in Greek Old Comedy and the American Concept Musical." Text and Presentation, 2004 (published in 2005): 119-33.
"Something Not So Familiar" [comparing the comic conventions of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum and The Frogs]. The Sondheim Review 11.2 (Fall 2004): 18.