Editor’s Introduction to The Journal, Issue 31

core-journal-cover-2022Issue Theme: “Age of Anxiety”

It has been a liminal year. Covid, war in Ukraine, and political upheaval have shaken and will continue to shake preconceived notions about the world as we know it, from the viability of liberalism to the merits of state power in protecting public health. All these sources of apparent division make it all the more important to recognize what still unites people. Mindful of these circumstances, the editorial team of this publication have tried to provide a space where our community can find open dialogue and a sense of unity. While everyone will experience the words and images in the Journal differently, what we have in common is the experience of engaging with these works. That shared experience is proof enough that common ground is possible, even in small ways, no matter how ablaze the rest of the world seems. So, in the face of an Age of Anxiety, I think that the wise lyric of R.E.M. still holds true: “it’s the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine.”

On behalf of the editorial team, I’d like to extend thanks to people who have been indispensable in the publication of this issue:

  • thanks to Sassan Tabatabai, our faculty advisor and Hub instructor, for his instrumental guidance, especially with our expanded book review and poetry sections;
  • thanks to Zachary Bos from the BU BookLab, who worked with us through every step of the publication process, supplying experience and expertise to make a daunting task seem less overwhelming;
  • thanks to Core director Kyna Hamill for her sponsorship and support;
  • thanks to our donors in the CAS alumni community;
  • thanks to all the Core office staff, who were so hospitable in providing space for us to work and so helpful when it came time to draw upon their skills with revision and proofreading;
  • and thanks to all of our contributors, for giving us the opportunity to showcase their phenomenal work.

I would also like to personally thank the student editorial staff for all the hard work that they’ve put in throughout the semester. Between school, social lives, and other extracurriculars, the life of a student is busy to the point of bursting, but our team members found additional time to invest themselves in making something worthwhile together.

As you read this issue, I hope you can revel in the collectiveness of reading, and appreciate the meticulous work of our submitters and staff. The Journal is an artifact created through the joint efforts of Core students, CAS students, faculty, staff, alumni, our editors, and our readers. It is not just the product of one semester, but the generative output of all those issues that have come before and in an age of great worries, it has been a source of calm and pride to carry on that tradition for another year.

With hopes that you and yours will stay safe and be well,

Jack Martin

Read and enjoy the issue online here. To request a print copy, please email the editors.



On Tuesday, February 15 2022, Professor Swen Voekel gave his lecture on monumentalism in Ancient Rome. This lecture was given to CC102 students as historical context to their current assigned text, Virgil's Aeneid. Along with his presentation, Professor Voekel provided a list of what he described as "some really entertaining, visually stimulating stuff that is also very good in terms of scholarly content." Interested in how a Roman teenager would spend their day? What about seeing the layout of the land around the Colosseum not as it is today, but as it was during the rule of Constantine? This compilation of educational materials range from TED Talks to articles to interactive virtual recreations of Rome circa 320 CE. All of Professor Voekel's generously provided audio-visual resources are listed below for any Aeneid readers, or anyonesimplycurious about Ancient Rome, to peruse.


Ancient Rome in 20 minutes--an entertaining crash course video by Arzamas.

History vs. Augustus: The Roman Emperor on trial--visionary leader or tyrant? Excellent Ted-Ed cartoon debates a key figure in Roman history.

Augustus:Rome's Greatest Emperor--from Biographics, this video has nearly 2 million views.

Classics Summarized: The Aeneid. By Overly Sarcastic Productionsname says it allentertaining, but take it with a grain of salt.

A day in the life of a Roman soldier - Robert Garland TED-Ed cartoon, by leading classical scholar Garland.

Four sisters in Ancient Rome Ray Laurence - TED-Ed cartoon, good on the roles (or lack thereof) of women in Rome

A glimpse of teenage life in ancient Rome Ray Laurence - TED-Ed cartoon.

Meet The Romans with Mary Bearda series by Timeline: World History Documentaries, with leading ancient Roman historian Beard.

Les Nocturnes du Plan de Rome: Le Capitole (Capitol Hill)excellent tour of lovingly reconstructed virtual Rome by two French professors (tour itself begins about half-way through video(note: Professor Voekel mentions that "there are many of these virtual tours, all very entertaining and scholarly. In French, but I could follow it with my shaky intermediate grasp of the language."



Videos and articles from Khan Academy on ancient Rome.

Smarthistory Ancient Rome from the Center for Public Art Historytons of video and short, accessible articles on the art, architecture and history of ancient Rome.

Avery interesting discussion of the statue Augustus of Prima Porta, also from Smarthistory.


Virtual Tours:

An especiallycool virtual tour of Rome in 320 CE.

Digital Augustan Rome: interactive map of the city c. A.D. 14.(this link doesn't seem to be working)

Interactive Models of Archaic and Imperial Rome from the Museo della Civilt Romana via Google Arts and Culture (part 1)

Interactive Models of Archaic and Imperial Rome from the Museo della Civilt Romana via Google Arts and Culture (part 2)


All of these great sources from Professor Voekel gives students a wide variety of supplementary materials on Ancient Rome to benefit from. Let us know which of these was your favorite, or if you have any other content you'd like to share!

Is COVID-19 a threat to our democracy?

W. Robert Connor, a professor of classics emeritus at Princeton University and director emeritus of the National Humanities Center, found insight into our society's future from a narrative of the pandemic in Athens. In his reading of Thucydides'sHistory of the Peloponnesian War,he found himself considering the full impact of COVID-19 beyond its tolls on our physical health. He wrote, "Covid-19 seems to attack society as a whole the same way it does individuals: whenever possible it finds preexisting conditions, exacerbates them, and thereby takes its toll."

Read the full article here:https://theamericanscholar.org/reading-thucydides-in-a-time-of-pandemic/?utm_source=email

Core Alumna Hollis-Brusky on Justice Barrett

The astute scholarly work of our alumna Amanda Hollis-Brusky was quoted in this new New Yorker piece about Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett and the Christian legal movement. An excerpt from the article that pertains to Hollis-Brusky is quoted below and linked is the New Yorker article and Hollis-Brusky's most recent book, "Ideas With Consequences," which discusses the American Federalist Society.

"Amanda Hollis-Brusky, a political scientist at Pomona College who has written two books on the conservative legal movement, told me that the views underpinning common-good constitutionalism are quite prominent at Blackstone, adding, The tensions between natural-law originalists and libertarian originalists are already present in the Federalist Society, and Barrett sits at the crossroads of both of these factions. Moreover, as a conservative Catholic, Barrett has been steeped in natural-law teachingsamong them, that contraception and same-sex relations are unnatural and therefore immoral" (New Yorker).



“Reading Old Books” and Plautus’ Menaechmi

Two books we wanted to bring to your attention!

First: Peter Mack's "Reading Old Books," which explores the creative power of literary tradition spanning from the middle ages up until the twenty-first century.Mack argues that the best way to understand tradition is to study the moments when a writer purposefully puts their work in conversation with a writer that came before them. Mack investigates authors such as Chaucer, Ariosto, Spenser, and Elizabeth Gaskell among others. The book is currently available to be borrowed from the Core library and can also be purchased at the link below.



Additionally, check out this new translation of Plautus' Menaechmi done by our very own Professor Sophie Klein. This ancient comedy is a tale of identical twin brothers who were separated at birth and reconnect as adults. The book explores the meanings of freedom and the social status of women and slaves in Roman culture. The book can be purchased at the link below.



Who really was Homer?

Check out this video de-bunking the myths around Homer! Who was our beloved "The Odyssey" actually written by?


TikToks from CC222

Last spring, students in CC222 made TikTokson writers they read throughout the semester including Freud, Foucault, Butler, and others. A playlist of these videos can be found at the link below. Whoever said learning couldn't be fun?



Jewish Studies spotlights Matthew Creighton

From the Instagram feed of our friends at BU's Elie Wiesel Center for Jewish Studies, we see a great feature about one of our new first-year humanities instructors, Dr. Matthew Creighton. From the post:

Introducing Matthew Creighton, the next feature of our#FacultyFridayseries.A Boston University graduate, Professor Creighton specializes in German literature, modern Jewish intellectual history, and theories of religion, secularization and modernity. He received his PhD in Religion and Literature from the University of Chicago's Divinity School. Here at the Elie Wiesel Center, Professor Creighton is a lecturer, as well as within the Writing Program and the Core Curriculum.This is Professor Creighton's first year at Boston University! This Spring Semester he is teaching CAS EN/JS/XL 126 "Jewish Diaspora" and CAS CI/JS/XL 367 "Holocaust Film". These courses fall into various CAS departments, showing the variety of knowledge that Professor Creighton is qualified to teach about. Stayed tuned to see what courses Professor Creighton will be teaching in the Fall Semester.Professor Creighton had published many works, ranging from articles to reviews. His doctoral dissertation is titled The Hidden Father and the Problem of Generations in Luther, Freud, and Kafka."

If you're interested in taking a class with Prof. Creighton next year, be sure to keep your eyes open for Core promotions for our fall course offerings. Join us in welcoming him to the faculty!

Gleanings from Bostonia

The following round-up of items of interest from BU'sBostonia magazine comes to us from alumna Cat Dossett (Core '16, CAS '18), an illustrator and writer living in the Boston area. For your interest and edification, here are their recommendations:

  • The News section tells us that BU mechanical engineers are usingkirigamito create robotic grabby hands. What's kirigami, you ask?Think origami, but you cut the paper --kirirefers to cutting, andgamirefers to paper. Read more >>
  • From the "We're reading" section comes a spotlight onFloating in a Most Peculiar Wayby Louis Chude-Sokei -- a professor of English, holder of the George and Joyce Wein Chair in African American Studies, and director of the African American Studies Program. This book was one of the titles which winners of the various Core awards in Spring 2021 were invited to choose as a prize to honor their achievements in the classroom and the Core community; Cat received her copy as a gesture of thanks for her contribution to that year's Core Journal as an alumni editor.Read more >>
  • There's a new bust in town! Bostonia tells us about a new sculpture honoringElie Wiesel in the Human Rights Porch of the National Cathedral in Washington, DC. Wiesel, many readers will know, lectured in Core for a time. Michael Zank, a Core friend and lecturer, is quoted in the article. Sculptors employed medieval techniques to create this and other busts, like those of Rosa Parks and Howard Thurman. Cat remarks: "They look wonderful if a little surreal. Heads emerge from columns like wood-ear mushrooms..." Read more >>
  • "These are very weird stars," says Prof. JJ Hermes.Lovely to see an astronomy article; too often we in the Core community forget about the natural sciences, as we grapple with Cervantes and Du Bois and Milton, but these disciplines are (and should be) a big part of Core. Read more >>

Ancient Gilgamesh tablet showcasing earliest form of literature returned to Iraq

Officials believe the artifact looted during the 1991 Gulf War was illegally imported into the U.S. in 2003, then sold and put on display in a Washington museum.