Campus News Banner


Classics Conference At UK May Attract 500 Delegates; Speaker Is Expert on Trauma of Vietnam Soldiers

By Ralph Derickson

Photo of Jonathan Shay
Jonathan Shay

Nearly every facet of the classics is covered in the myriad conference sessions planned across the UK campus during the CAMWS meeting. The topics range from Greek tragedy to classical tradition in stage and film.

Photo of Robert Ulery, Jr.
Robert Ulery, Jr.

March 26, 2003 (Lexington, Ky.) -- Remember any of those Latin verbs you learned to conjugate back in high school? How about veni, vidi, vici? Amo, amas, amat? There will be some 500 persons on the University of Kentucky campus April 3-5 who know a lot more about Latin and the classics than just how to translate words.

These visitors – university and college classics professors and high school teachers – will be participating in the 99th annual meeting of the Classical Association of the Middle West and South (CAMWS).

Conference hosts are the faculty and staff of the University of Kentucky Division of the Classics, Department of Modern and Classical Languages, Literatures and Cultures in the College of Arts and Sciences.

One conference planner, James A. Francis, an associate professor in the Classics, said it is highly appropriate that UK host this important conference because of its longstanding reputation as a leader of colleges and universities in the classics, particularly in the area of teaching Latin as a spoken language.

“We are very excited about the dozens of sessions that are planned for the conference, including two events that are free and open to the public, which we hope will attract large local audiences,” Professor Francis said.

The public events are an organ concert set for 5:45 p.m. Thursday, April 3, in the Christ Church Cathedral, 166 Market Street, and a Presidential Session of the conference set for 3:30 p.m. Friday, April 4, in the UK Student Center Worsham Theatre, in which the speaker will be Jonathan Shay, a staff psychiatrist in the Department of Veterans Affairs Outpatient Clinic in Boston, Mass.

The organist for the Thursday concert is Robert Ulery, Jr., a classics professor at Wake Forest University since 1971. Professor Ulery studied piano from the age of six and organ from the age of 14, when he began serving as a church musician. He holds degrees in Latin and Greek from Yale.

Shay, who has a medical degree in psychiatry and a strong interest in the Greek epic, is also an author who has co-written books with U.S. Senators Max Cleland and Senator John S. McCain.

In an acclaimed book, “Achilles in Vietnam: Combat Trauma and the Undoing of Character” published by Touchstone Books in 1995, Shay uses “The Iliad” as a prism through which to examine how ancient and modern wars have battered the soldier’s psychology of men who fight wars.

His most recent book “Odysseus in America: Combat Trauma and the Trials of Homecoming,” has prefaces by Cleland and McCain. The book was published on Veteran's Day in 2002 by Scribner’s Sons Publishers. In this book, Shay turns his attention to “The Odyssey,” Homer’s classic story of a soldier’s homecoming, to illuminate the real problems faced by combat veterans reentering civilian society.

UK President Lee T. Todd, Jr., will greet the conference participants at a banquet session Friday evening, April 4, at the Radisson Plaza Hotel Lexington. Niall W. Slater, a professor at Emory University, who is CAMWS president, will preside at the banquet session.

Nearly every facet of the classics is covered in the myriad conference sessions planned across the UK campus during the CAMWS meeting. The topics range from Greek tragedy to classical tradition in stage and film.

The entire program for the conference is available by clicking here.


Back to Campus News Homepage