Erin O'Connell presents "Homeric Hip-Hop: The Ancient is Fresh."
"[In my class] students learn that the name for the [Iliad’s] epic singer was Rhapsode and he relied only on a rhabdos (a wooden staff) to beat out a simple rhythm to keep time. The similarity between Rhapsode and rap is probably coincidental but it's very cool and it gets their attention."
Erin O'Connell teaches Classics and Comparative Literature at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. Her scholarly interests include ancient and modern comparisons and the reception of classical literature, performance, and philosophy. Her talk on Homeric Hip Hop reflects an interest that began with the rise in popularity of rap music in the 1980s and her desire to make Homer's Iliad relevant to a wide variety of college students.