The Loeb Classical Library Foundation at Harvard University has awarded a Loeb Classical Library Fellowship to Gustavus Adolphus College Professor of Classics Eric Dugdale for the 2014-15 academic year. Dugdale received the $34,000 fellowship for his book project on empathy in Greek tragedy in performance.
“We are very proud of Professor Dugdale and his scholarship. We believe that this news illustrates the overall quality of the Gustavus faculty,” said Paula O’Loughlin, Associate Provost and Dean of Arts and Humanities at Gustavus. “This experience will only enhance what he provides to Gustavus students through the Classics Department and the liberal arts curriculum as a whole when he returns.”
Dugdale will be spending the fall semester of his sabbatical year at Corpus Christi College, Oxford, where he has been elected to the position of Visiting Scholar. The experience will be a homecoming of sorts for Dugdale, who earned his bachelor’s degree from the institution in 1994. During his time at Oxford, Dugdale will have access to the Archive of Performances of Greek and Roman Drama, a unique repository of materials from modern productions of ancient drama.
The tragedies performed in the theatre of Dionysus in Athens appear to have elicited strong empathetic responses from actors and audience members alike. Dugdale is studying the ancient evidence to determine what aspects of the plays and of their performance context were important factors in eliciting empathy. He is also examining modern performances of Greek tragedy, investigating why some succeed in activating empathetic responses while others leave their audiences cold; his study draws on cognitive psychology and sociology as well as the rapidly advancing field of affective science.
“I am interested in the continued role of tragedy as a vehicle for fostering regard for others,” Dugdale said. “I believe that developing the capacity for empathy that bridges cultural difference is more important than ever, and I see liberal arts colleges such as Gustavus as having a central role in this process.”
In addition to his undergraduate degree from Corpus Christi College, Oxford, Dugdale holds a Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina. His publications include a translation of Sophocles’ Electra and Greek Theatre in Context, both published by Cambridge University Press. He is co-editor of the series Greece and Rome: Texts and Contexts, recipient of Gustavus’ 2011 Faculty Scholarly Achievement Award, and founding director of the biennial Festival of Dionysus, in which Gustavus students perform scenes from ancient drama in Linnaeus Arboretum.
The Loeb Classical Library has been at the forefront of classical studies for more than a century. James Loeb, a prominent banker and philanthropist from New York, studied Greek and Latin at Harvard in the 1880s. Upon graduating he joined the family business but retained a strong interest in the classics. In 1911, Loeb founded the Loeb Classical Library “for the encouragement of special research at home and abroad in the province of Archaeology and of Greek and Latin Literature.”
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