My paper considers when, where and how best to integrate classical reception into Latin language and literature courses which, at my own, large, public university, are diversely constituted. Students inhabiting the same Latin classroom often have drastically different levels of linguistic proficiency (some have studied Latin in secondary school, others begin after starting university), degrees of awareness about the ancient Greco-Roman world, motivations for enrolling, and professional and career objectives. Most are undergraduates concentrating in classics, or MA candidates in the classical languages, yet a substantial number are majoring or pursuing advanced degrees in other disciplines. Some plan to be, or already are, school teachers of Latin and other subjects; some aim to enter doctoral programs in classics and related fields; others have totally different career ambitions.
My paper argues for the value of foregrounding reception at both the beginning and end of these diversely constituted courses: initially to clarify why the authors and genres we study, and the Latin language itself, matter; later in final projects that require specialized literary and linguistic knowledge, such as assessing translations from different eras or comparing classical texts with later literary works responding to them. I will also discuss the reasons why I, and my students hoping to teach Latin and pursue advanced work in classics, hesitate to take valuable class time away from close engagement with Latin texts and classical scholarship. Among them is that the Praxis examination required for Latin teaching certification in my state and two neighboring jurisdictions does not contain questions on reception, and that traditional classics PhD programs here in the US give pride of place to solid preparation in Latin and Greek.