What is it like to teach a course in ancient slavery within a region where the reminders of antebellum American slavery still loom so large? Understanding servitude through the lens of slave systems in the ancient Mediterranean can challenge students to think about Greece and Rome in a less romantic light—and to recognize how they influenced American history too.
My course in ancient slavery came about three years ago, while I was a Visiting Assistant Professor of Classics at Kalamazoo College in Michigan. My colleagues asked me if I would be interested in teaching a special topics course on slavery in Greece and Rome. My previous experience in this topic was limited, but I was excited to take this opportunity to explore it.