莎拉 Munoru ’23 Reads into the Role of Race in Greco-Roman Antiquity丽贝卡·戈德芬
The plot follows the journey of young lovers who travel from their home country of Greece to Ethiopia, overcoming obstacles and dangers along the way as they strive to be reunited with the woman’s long-lost mother.
The story piqued Munoru’s curiosity for several reasons, beyond it being a good read. “It is an odyssey-slash-love story and it focuses on this couple's trials and tribulations in Egypt and Ethiopia, which is interesting because a lot of Greek odyssey stories focus on the Mediterranean or Asia or more northern areas,”她说。.
This summer, Munoru received a Surdna Foundation Undergraduate Research Fellowship from Bowdoin 仔细阅读仔细阅读 Aithiopika 主要有两大, 然而,问题, 翻译, written centuries apart in 1569 and in the late 1980s. Along with doing background historical research, she is examining how Aithiopika的 characters, original text, and 翻译 open a window into race in fourth-century Greece.
This work, which she launched her sophomore year as a 梅隆梅斯研究员, will help her as she writes a new translation of Aithiopika for her senior-year honors project. “My goal is to try to make the most objective translation at the end of the day,”她说。. She argues that current 翻译 are beset by the translators’ modern-day preconceptions of race.
“Looking at the translators' texts and notes, it is interesting to see how they go about explaining race and their word choices,她接着说. 种族和种族主义, the construct of those in antiquity is not what we think of today, so it is difficult to translate a story when you don't have the proper lens to look through.”
One of the most intriguing details for Munoru is that Aithiopika的 heroine, Charikleia, is an albino Ethiopian princess, an unusual narrative choice. 的复杂情节 Aithiopika stems from the abandonment of infant Charikleia by her mother, 埃塞俄比亚女王, who fears her “gleaming white” newborn will be seen as a sign of infidelity to her husband.)
“I am interested in studying how albinism was received and interpreted in antiquity,穆诺鲁解释道, ”,也, as the story is focused on a continent of people of color, to see how Greek individuals perceived race in that time: What were their words of description? Was it central to how they perceived someone? What was the importance of race back then?”
Munoru pinpoints the origin of her love of 经典 to studying Latin at The Linsly School, a boarding school in West Virginia (she grew up in New Jersey). But she wasn’t sure she’d major in 经典 in college (actually double major—she’s also a biology major) until she took a Latin class at Bowdoin.
“When I came to Bowdoin, I was an overwhelmed first-year, 我就说, ‘I don't know what to do with myself, why don't I take one Latin class to have some sense of familiarity?’” She hasn’t stopped there. She started learning ancient Greek in the spring semester of her first year.
她被吸引了 经典 有很多原因, but one of them is that she’d like to make the unending treasure of myths, 史诗般的故事, 历史, 戏剧, and other works available to more people. “There’s so much we can learn from Greek texts,”她说。. “A lot of the same tropes, 情节, and narratives all continue today in the movies we watch and in our TV shows. It is so intertwined with the fabric of modern society.”
But 经典 tends to be relegated to the privileged, she pointed out. She’s also concerned by the trend of alt-right extremist groups appropriating aspects of Greek and Roman cultures to justify their white supremacy teachings. “The current gap in literature exploring race within antiquity and its implications on contemporary issues allows white-dominating versions of antiquity to continue to influence modernity,”她说。.
“It's a study that just needs to be changed,” she added. “I get that Latin and Greek are ‘dead’ languages, but they are still mostly taught in private schools, which reinforces that trend of the 经典 being an elitist area that is not accessible to people of all backgrounds. I would like to change that.”