Back in middle school, Jacob Hane ’22 would have hardly expected his first Latin class to lead into anything like a college major. “There were times where I wanted to drop it, focus on a different language,” he acknowledged.
Last month, Hane presented a paper he wrote on classical reception at the NYU Society for Ancient Studies Undergraduate Research Conference. And at Hamilton, he is a founder and editor-in-chief of The Haley Classical Journal, which publishes undergraduate classics papers from around the world. Safe to say, it’s a good thing he stuck with it.
“I had originally come in as a government major,” Hane said. But after taking a Byzantine history course with Professor John Eldevik, Hane was hooked. “I met with my advisor, Professor [Shelley] Haley, and I was like, ‘Alright. I’ve got to learn Greek now. And I’ve got to get back into Latin. I’ve got to focus on my languages, because it’s such a cool area.’”
Last fall, Hane enrolled in Professor Jesse Weiner’s writing-intensive “Re-imagining the Classics” seminar. His main project was a research paper on classical reception or “how current authors take classical material, historical people, events, language culture from antiquity, and adapt that into their own work,” Hane said.
Major: Classical Languages
Hometown: Williamstown, Mass.
High school: Mount Greylock Regional School
In particular, he said, the paper looked at Arkady Martine’s science fiction novel A Memory Called Empire and its “allusions to the classics.” This topic aligned well with the expertise of Weiner, with whom Hane worked on the project. Weiner, who described the paper as “an impressive exercise in classical reception studies,” soon forwarded Hane a call for submissions to the NYU conference. His paper was accepted.
The conference, which took place virtually on Feb.12, consisted of other undergraduate classics students presenting their respective papers, as well as a keynote speech from NYU’s David Levene. “It went very, very well, and it felt very natural,” Hane said. “I know that a couple Hamilton professors were able to hop online to watch my presentation, which was pretty cool to see.”
On the subject of post-Hamilton plans, Hane laughed. “That is the question,” he remarked. And while not yet sure, he outlined the two paths he has in mind. The first is to continue with his study of classics in a graduate program. “I really love this late antique era,” he said. “It’s so interesting, and it would be awesome to keep pursuing that.”
The other path would be to work in government or a nonprofit, focusing on economic development in rural areas. “I come from a very rural area,” Hane explained. “I’ve worked as an economic developer there for the past two summers, and it’s really important work, to support those communities.”