Emily Fairey

MA, Pratt Institute. PhD, CUNY. Fairey has taught Latin, Greek, and classical studies at CUNY colleges, Drew University, Rutgers University, Stern College, and Sarah Lawrence College. She has also managed digital humanities projects, such as the L'Année Philologique (2000-2008), and has worked at the Brooklyn College Open Educational Resources Project, performing website building, digital pedagogy, and instructional design (2015-present). SLC, 2023–

Previous Courses

Greek (Ancient)

Beginning Greek

Open, Small seminar—Year

Why learn Ancient Greek? This subject represents a mode of learning that not only passes on the knowledge of a gloriously colorful era but also has been powerfully effective, even for hundreds of years after the end of its civilizations, in developing students’ abilities. When we learn Ancient Greek, we relearn language in a way that is analytical—applying a framework to examine language structure as we absorb it. By internalizing paradigms of forms and inflections, by using flash cards to memorize vocabulary, we are stretching and strengthening our memory; when we learn grammatical concepts and how these forms fit into them, our brains are forging new connections that will help us learn any other language. The study of Greek reveals that linguistic concepts transcend word-for-word translation, and no translation can ever be truly complete in expressing the original idea spoken. Participation in class and regular practice every day are crucial. Written, digital, and oral homework is regularly assigned. There will periodic quizzes and two in-class translation tests each semester. For conference work in the fall semester, each student will develop a research topic on one special author or figure of classical culture and present the topic to the class either as an oral presentation or a shared paper. In the spring, as we continue our study of grammar in class, we also will begin a close reading of Plato’s Apology in conference. This text represents a famous moment in the history of philosophy and may be Plato’s closest representation of his teacher Socrates, who offers his defense to the Athenian court before he’s sentenced to the hemlock. The final exam for the year will include an essay section on the Apology.


Intermediate Greek: Poetry and Prose

Intermediate, Small seminar—Spring

Prerequisite: two semesters of Beginning Greek or the equivalent or permission of the instructor

In this course, students of Ancient Greek will choose two texts, one by a prose author and one by a poet, for close reading over the semester. Examples of texts might be: Herodotus’ Histories and the Homeric Hymn to Aphrodite, or the poems of Sappho and Plato’s Symposium. Our goal will be to investigate poetic and prosaic literary constructs, review grammar, and to read different types of Ancient Greek texts.



Imperialism and Servitude: Slave Rebellions in Greek and Roman History

Open, Seminar—Spring

The ancient historians of Greece and Rome have related many examples of slave rebellions to posterity. These stories tend to appear in the context of struggles to control newly acquired wealth and power from successful conquest and imperialist policies. In this course, we will focus on slave rebellions in two historical epochs. First, we will examine historical evidence on slavery in Athens and Sparta, famous Greek city-states in the period inclusive of the Persian and the Peloponnesian Wars. The second era is the Roman Republic in the final two centuries BCE when, as powerful factions struggled for power over Rome’s newly conquered wealth and territory, major slave rebellions spread from Sicily to other Roman spheres of influence—and, finally, to Italy itself in the famous Spartacus rebellion. In this course, we will read selections of the surviving historiography, in English translation, by authors such as Thucydides, Plutarch, Sallust, and Diodorus Siculus, among others. We will also read secondary scholarship discussing some of the many controversies on these topics, such as the theoretical constructs of slavery, ideologies of rebel slaves, the perspectives of historians ancient and modern, conditions favorable to revolt, and the reception of stories of rebellion in later centuries, to name a few. Assignments will include regular low-stakes writing practice, as well as a class presentation and a major conference project. Conference work may take the form of traditional papers or a digital humanities project.



Beginning Latin

Open, Seminar—Year

This course provides an intensive introduction to Latin grammar, syntax, and vocabulary, with a view toward reading the language as soon as possible. Close reading of Vergil’s Aeneid in English will accompany intensive language study in the fall. By midsemester, students will be translating authentic excerpts of Latin poetry and prose. During the spring semester, while continuing to develop and refine their knowledge of Latin grammar and vocabulary, students will read selections from Vergil’s Aeneid in Latin.



Ancient Eros: Love in Classical Literature

Open, Seminar—Fall

The theme of love in classical literature is a profoundly influential topic, appearing in genres as diverse as epic and lyric poetry, tragedy, philosophy, and even the earliest novels. The attitudes toward love expressed in these texts vary considerably: Sometimes, it is personified as a beautiful and playful god; often, too, it appears as a powerful, destructive force that can lead to irrational behavior and life-changing disaster. The literary motif of love is a catalyst, as well as a resolution of many narrative and poetic arcs; its transformative nature is deeply engaged with aspects of gender, sexuality, and identity throughout the Classical era. In this course, we will read a wide-ranging selection of ancient texts, as well as look ahead to the reception of the theme of Classical Eros in later art and literature. Along with readings, assignments will include regular low-stakes writing practice, a presentation to the class, and a major conference project. Conference work may take the form of a paper or a creative writing project. The reading list will be selected from the following works in English translation, sometimes comprising the entire work and sometimes parts TBD): Homeric Hymn to Aphrodite, Sappho; Euripides, Hippolytus, Euripedes; Symposium, Phaedrus, Plato; Argonautica, Apollonius of Rhodes; Idylls, Theocritus; Eclogues, Catullus, Vergil; Amores, Ovid; Golden Ass, Apuleius; Apology, Apollonius; late antique era love spells, letters, and curse tablets.