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Sapphic TALES: Re-Making Sappho Through Comparative Media

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Location: MIT

Wednesdays 6:00 - 8:00 PM

October 9 - November 6, 2019

Application Deadline: September 25

“Sapphic TALES” aims to become a lab of radical thinking and cross-pollination revolving around gender and female sexual fluidity apropos of Sappho. Participants will have the opportunity to engage in conversation with leading experts on Sappho and to “translate” her fragments into their own favorite medium and theoretical framework that will be displayed in a collective exhibition with the final “projects-translations.” Participants will think and walk alongside Sappho of Lesbos, the great female lyric poet of Antiquity. Whether seen as a feminist heroine, a queer role model, or as the first innovative female voice who stood up for herself and created the first school for young women, she has become a “field” in its own. This course will address these issues and the controversy surrounding her life and work through a close analysis of her fragments and their variegated reception over the centuries in various media. It will draw on the scholarship of noted Sappho scholars such as Claude Calame, Anne Carson, and Judith Butler and challenge participants to “translate” Sappho’s legacy into their own theoretical frame and medium. 


Vassiliki Rapti is the Ludics Seminar Co-Chair at Harvard University. Dr. Rapti's publications and research interests center upon Modern Greek literature, avant-garde theatre and performance, especially surrealist drama and the poetics of play and games. She also extensively teaches on topics relevant to Greek literature, the reception of Greek tragedy, Greek mythology, Modern Greek poetry, comparative drama, literary theory, world drama and literature, and the Olympic Games as a major civilizing agent.