Congratulations to Brebeuf Jesuit Latin teacher Rosina Catalan, who was awarded a fellowship through Indiana University’s Hamilton Lugar School on the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals for Education! This fellowship offers teachers the opportunity to work individually with experts from Inspire Citizens to develop a teaching unit based on the Sustainable Development Goals. Through this fellowship, Rosina will receive eight hours of individualized coaching and one-on-one support to build a teaching unit that fosters inquiry and deep learning; builds global and intercultural competences for teachers and students; teaches skills for civic action, with an emphasis on innovative technologies; develops global-local connections; and aligns with state standards. What an amazing opportunity for both Rosina and her students! Read more about her fellowship below.
What inspired you to apply for this opportunity?
At first, it was my personal curiosity. I wanted to know what happened to Cleopatra VII’s children. I learned that Cleopatra Selene, Cleopatra VII’s daughter by Mark Antony, married Juba II, a king of Maurentania in North Africa. During the initial “lockdown” phase of COVID, I started reading a book on Juba. Only two books exist, and only one is in English! When I found out that Juba II wrote prolifically in Latin and Greek, I knew I could find a way to bring it into our Latin classroom. Not a lot survives of his writings, but we can use what does, and we can use what other authors wrote about him. He was well regarded in ancient literary circles.
What are you most excited about as you approach the start of your fellowship?
I am excited to offer more insight into the ancient people and places of North Africa. I am also eager to work with the Research Centers and Institutes associated with the IU Hamilton Lugar School.
You said in your project proposal that your goal is to provide a quality education by fostering inquiry and deep learning about ancient North Africa, a time period and location often overlooked and underrepresented. Tell us more about this goal and what it means to you.
In my research, I hope to learn more about the opinions of ancient Africans. We have enough opinions from the Roman point of view. It’s interesting to explore different historical perspectives, and we can do it by using other Latin sources.
To provide an example, when Cleopatra VII died after losing to Ocavian at the Battle of Actium, the Meroe tribe in the North of Sudan, where a tiny Roman outpost was stationed, took a statue of Octavian, chopped off its head, and buried it in the sand. Not much is known about the Meroe people and their language, but one can understand how much respect the Meroe people had for Cleopatra VII and the disdain they felt for the Romans. In the same way, the Numididan tribe (Juba II’s tribe) of present-day Tunisia and Algeria had a tumultuous history with the Romans.
It’s also worth mentioning that “Quality Education” is one of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals. As a part of this project, I will make my lesson plans available to other teachers. It will be available on the Hamilton Lugar’s school website over the summer.
What can students expect in the classroom? In what ways will this fellowship enrich Brebeuf’s current Latin curriculum?
Students can expect to read new selections from Juba II, Julius Caesar, Sallust, and Seneca. Brief Greek references will be read in English translation for reference.
What do you hope your students take away from this unique and exciting educational experience?
Well, I hope that this isn’t a unique experience–it’s our duty to bring more knowledge about this time period and location into the classroom. Latin is exciting, all the topics we cover are exciting!
Regardless of the material, I want my students to know their grammar, not be afraid of reading new passages, and greet each assignment with an honest effort. Honestly, they won’t know it’s anything other than the normal canon of Latin literature because we will continue to cover the expected great works. We are just choosing different parts of them!
I hope to learn discrete information–the facts about Juba II’s world, what it was like in North Africa at the time, what kind of vocabulary and rhetorical devices he used, what other writers wrote about him, etc. Geeky stuff, honestly!
What did we miss that you feel is important to share?
This is my idea of fun. I would be doing it whether I had a fellowship or not!
Rosina will teach her unit during the spring semester of 2021, share her finalized unit for publication on the HLS website, and present her unit at a workshop for teachers during the summer of 2021. Congratulations, Rosina!