Blog Teaching

Loving Dido

ENG 396 ‘Loving Dido’ is an Honors seminar structured around Virgil’s story of Dido in the Aeneid, and its long literary and cultural afterlife. Students are provided with readings from over two millennia of commentaries, poetry, novels – and viewings of 12 different operatic productions – and discuss the material every week in the context of the original text. There is also a digital component to the course. Professor Tom Hahn believes that a non-traditional course like ‘Loving Dido’, which considers vast arrays of unsorted data on a single subject, is ideally placed to make use of digital tools like content management systems, and the opportunities therein for establishing links and networks between individual items. The omeka-based website run by the class contains nearly 2000 images and video footage inspired by the Dido story. Every week, students post commentaries on selected images, and argue for relationships between the disparate items which moves beyond historical or archival principles. As well as being useful pedagogical tools, such websites promise remarkable possibilities for exploring how humanities material transforms its audience, and is itself transformed, through digital resources.