On voices from the past

Recently I attended a wonderful online event associated with the exhibition A Slightly Curving Space at the Haus Der Kulturen Der Welt in Berlin, curated by Nida Ghouse and inspired by the work of acoustic archaeologist Umashankar Manthravadi. I was unfamiliar with the concept of acoustic archaeology before attending this event, but not, it turnsContinue reading “On voices from the past”

On catastrophe, the Arabic alphabet, and gratitude

Recently I flew from Alabama to Egypt to begin my job as Assistant Professor in the Department of English and Comparative Literature at the American University in Cairo. This was my first time on a plane since March, when I flew to Egypt to interview for the job. At that time the world was justContinue reading “On catastrophe, the Arabic alphabet, and gratitude”

Was Homer a naturalist?

No, I’m not asking whether Homer was a systematic observer of nature, or whether they believed in supernatural beings. I’m asking a more fundamental question: was “nature” part of Homer’s way of looking at the world? (By “Homer” I mean, of course, the collection of persons who created the epic poems the Iliad and theContinue reading “Was Homer a naturalist?”

On my parents’ marriage

Today my parents, Michael and Beth, celebrate their 41st wedding anniversary. In honor of the occasion, I’d like to say something about them and their marriage, from my perspective. Here is a photo of them from before they were married: The joy you see here proved enduring. You can see it a decade later, afterContinue reading “On my parents’ marriage”

On my grandfather, the ancient Greeks, and Nature

I have been thinking and writing for the past year about how memory shapes our experience of environments. I’ve been focusing mainly on cultural memory, in particular the modern, mainly Euro-American memory of ancient Greece as the site of a uniquely beautiful relationship between humans and the more-than-human world of birds, grapevines, Nemean lions, forests,Continue reading “On my grandfather, the ancient Greeks, and Nature”

On starting to blog

Hi there! I’ve decided to start a blog. It will be a personal blog, so I should begin by introducing myself. My name is Samuel Durham Cooper. I have a PhD, so people sometimes call me Dr. Samuel or Dr. Cooper. Or Dr. Scooper. Or just Samuel, or Sam. My job title is Assistant ProfessorContinue reading “On starting to blog”