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Tea Talks: Reclaiming Classics: Classical Allusions and Racial Equity in HBO’s 'Watchmen' and 'Lovecraft Country'

Dr. Kirsten Day, professor of classics, will present the Tea Talk "Reclaiming Classics: Classical Allusions and Racial Equity in HBO’s 'Watchmen' and 'Lovecraft Country.'"

Abstract: The discipline of Classics has a race problem: The glorious achievements of Greece and Rome have long been framed as the ancestral heritage of “Western civilization,” not just as a way of bolstering pride in national identity and inspiring progress and achievement, but also as a means of furthering a white supremacist agenda. While classical scholarship has come a long way in recent years, bringing women into the discipline both as scholars and as subjects of study, and working to counter the erasure of the existence of people of color in antiquity, the effects of these racist ideologies are still felt, and continue to ripple into popular perceptions and filmic depictions.

This talk will examine how two recent HBO television series, Damon Lindelof’s 2019 "Watchmen" and Mischa Green’s 2020-present "Lovecraft Country," help to push back against these perceptions by using targeted allusions to Classical antiquity in order to reclaim the relevance of the classical past for Black audiences, while also featuring strong Black women in roles that are complex and individualized in a way that is all too rare in film, and an important counterpoint to traditional trends in both gender and race in Classics as well.

Now entering its 12th year, the Tea Talks lecture series features speakers on a range of topics. The series is sponsored by the Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies program.

All lectures are held from 4:15 p.m.-5:15 p.m.

Lectures are free and open to the public as well as the campus community.