2020 Rapid Response Grant: “Beyond the Academy” Celebrates Surprising Careers in Classics

October 23, 2020
In "Beyond the Academy," Professor Barbara Graziosi (Classics), with graduate students Jermaine Bryant (Classics) and Jael Hernandez-Vasquez (Classics), spoke with essayist, critic and translator Daniel Mendelsohn.

What do a stand-up comedian, a museum curator, an essayist, a public engagement manager, an online publisher, a journalist, an IT consultant, and a high school teacher share in common? Having studied classics at the university level, they are channeling their educations into fulfilling work outside of academia. Jermaine Bryant (Classics) and Barbara Graziosi (Classics) interviewed these classicists to produce videos for “Beyond the Academy,” a Rapid Response Magic Project of the Princeton University Humanities Council.

“Beyond the Academy” aims to showcase the exciting range of career paths that build on higher degrees in classics, or related disciplines, without involving a tenure-track appointment. Bryant and Graziosi focused on classics because they saw it as the discipline within the humanities that is most persistently perceived as belonging exclusively within the academy. Consequently, they added, classics can serve as a test case for the reach of the humanities more generally.

The project developed in response to challenges now experienced, with particular intensity, by graduate students and early-career scholars, who are contemplating their professional prospects with concern. “Giving voice to the many classicists who have forged their own creative paths in a wide variety of contexts, and have made important contributions to the field of classics on the basis of their work beyond the academy, seems more urgent now than ever,” Graziosi wrote.

Graziosi noted that students enrolled in or considering higher degrees worry over a weak demand for professors in the humanities, as well as a lack of diverse people and opportunities in classics. She expressed hope that this series of videos will provide inspiration along with practical career advice to classicists, as they enjoy linking the ancient past to the present and future.

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