This is an introduction to the theme lecture for this summer's Latin Academy theme: nil humani alienum.
This summer, the Theme Lecture will be the final event of Academy. As a result, by the time you hear my thoughts you will have already spent a considerable amount of time in contemplation on the meaning of our theme. I look forward to your reactions, and I hope you will find my Theme Lecture to be relevant not only to your own investigation in these next two weeks but also to your further reflection beyond the conclusion of this summer's Latin Academy.
One of the most interesting challenges we face each summer is the translation and interpretation of our theme. Although Latin all-stars like you all are able to comprehend the Latin with little difficulty, the urge to settle on an English translation often discourages us from the possibility of multiple interpretations of equal validity. I encourage you to consider as many interpretations (and translations) of our theme as you can, and to embrace the probability that it may be difficult to articulate a single English translation that captures the range and nuances of the original Latin.
As you investigate the connections between the ancient Mediterranean world and ours, I urge you to ask "what are the attitudes and assumptions?" behind the information, images, and opinions you discover. You need neither accept nor reject every authority you encounter, but if you challenge attitudes and assumptions, most crucially your own, you might reach a new interpretation of the theme that transcends translation. And then I will guide you through a deconstruction of attitudes and assumptions related to our theme throughout history in order to illuminate what they reveal about our humanity.
In the meantime, if you need a low-key show to binge watch in your time at home this summer, I encourage you to check out Rick Steves' Europe (on his site + youtube for free, also on hulu + amazon prime). I have been watching this show the last few weeks while working on the Theme Lecture, and it has helped me reflect on our theme and broaden my perspectives while stuck at home this summer. I am so excited to meet you when Latin Academy begins tomorrow, and to share the Theme Lecture with you next week at the end of Academy.
This blog will document the MMXX virtual session of the Virginia Governor's Latin Academy.