A closer look at classics and history at Mt.A
On Friday September 25, the History Society and Classics Society organized an outdoor picnic at Swan Pond for students and faculty in those departments.
I spoke to one of the event organizers Dawson Fraser, a fourth year honours classics student and Vice President of the Classics Society. He said that the point of the event was for “new students and upper year students to meet the faculty, talk, get to know one another” he said that they also want more new students to get involved with the societies.
Although history can be a very broad field of study, classics is a more niche study of the history, culture and language of ancient Greece and Rome.
I spoke to some of the students and faculty attending the event asking them their thoughts on their department at Mt.A and why they feel the two fields are so important.
Fourth year history major and History Society president Shelby Carson said that she studies History because of her passion for it. “I told myself when I was younger that if I were to ever pursue a post-secondary education, it would be for History. There’s something so special about visiting the past and learning about societies and cultures that have given us so much of what we have today.”
Fraser says that he believes studying history is important because “it can offer a lot of insight into what is going on today by the virtue of things that are repeated.” He also mentioned that he thinks that “we can get a lot of important information from the [historical] literature.”
“Unless a student knows exactly what area of history they are interested in, I would recommend that history majors take a variety of classes in different subject matters,” said Carson regarding advice for first and second year history students at Mt.A.
Carson added to this, saying that “history is such a broad subject and sometimes it’s hard to narrow down what area might interest you. By taking a variety of history classes, you’ll be able to narrow down what area of history you like, or, you might just end up loving all subject areas of history! I would, however, always recommend any Medieval classes. I might be biased, but they are amazing!”
“I think the thing that makes classics at Mount A. special is that it’s a really interdisciplinary department. We have so many people doing double majors in science, doing digital humanities research, everybody kind of has their finger in three different pots. It means that the classes are really a cool melting pot of ideas,” said classics Professor Dr. Forstall
“Studying history at Mount Allison is special for two important reasons. The first being the professors are so passionate in what they teach us. I truly believe that when someone is passionate in what they teach, the students are inclined to listen and share that passion. The second reason being we have many areas of history to choose from. By having a variety of topics such as Modern European History, Medieval History, Asian History, and North American History, students are able to discover what areas of history interest them the most” said Carson
“Classics is such a great department because the upper years will “adopt” a younger years [student] if they find someone seemingly interested in Classics,” said fourth year Classics student Miranda King. King recommended that first year history or classics students also take the history/classics course “Greece and Rome: the Foundations of Western Civilization,” taught this year by Classics department head Dr. Robertson. This class is “really good for developing research skills so if you decide you don’t want to do this [classics or history] it can translate to a lot of other fields.” Added second year classics student Eva Adamson.
Societies at Mt. A are a good way to connect with students with similar interests in specific majors: “my favourite part about being on the history society is the discussions we have. I find that when talking to other people who are either majoring in history or have an interest in history it broadens my interpretation of history. Within history there [are] so many different topics and getting the chance to talk to people about what interests them is always a lot of fun” said second-year history major and social chair of the History Society Sophia Kennedy.
Both the Mt. A Classics society and History Society have Facebook and Instagram pages for more information about future events. The Classics society’s Instagram handle is @mtaclassics and the history society’s handle is @mta_historysociety.