Those of us who teach premodern cultures, whether western or non-western, routinely confront significant challenges. For example, how can one “bring to life” for today’s students the experiences of peoples often far removed from us in time and space? How can one overcome the often forbidding language barriers which separate most of our students from the peoples they are studying? How should one present premodern attitudes towards e.g., gods, gender, family structure, social structure, justice, slavery, and cultural “others,” which often strike our students as alien or just plain “wrong.” These are the kinds of issues which we hope to engage in conversation and practice.
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Below is the material shared at our “Teaching the Premodern” panel by Prof. Sara Butler, a list of “non-modern” and “modern” characteristics (our thanks to her former colleagues at the Loyola University in New Orleans).