So ... what's University of Wisconsin-Green Bay Classicist/Ancient Historian Gregory Aldrete up do? He's doing useful things on sabbatical:
Imagine having the opportunity to take time off from your job to write a book about a subject that you’re most passionate about.
That’s just what Gregory Aldrete, an associate professor of humanistic studies at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, will do beginning in June while completing his book, “Floods in Ancient Rome.”
Aldrete’s one year sabbatical is being made possible through a $40,000 research fellowship that he received recently from the National Endowment for the Humanities.
The fellowship supports individuals pursuing advanced research that contributes to scholarly or public knowledge about the humanities.
Aldrete is among 180 scholars nationwide, and one of three in Wisconsin, to receive one of the fellowships.
“He’s only the second person here (at UW-Green Bay) who has received it,” said Joyce Salisbury, associate dean of liberal arts and sciences and history professor at UWGB.
“It’s a well deserved honor,” Salisbury said. “This award is for his research. His research is exciting and path-breaking.”
A historian specializing in ancient Greek and Rome, Aldrete is focusing his research on Roman floods and how they affected food supply, transportation and economics in the city.
The book will also examine the immediate and long-term effects the floods had on the city and how ancient Romans dealt with the destruction from the floods.
Besides ancient Roman history, the book will also focus on art, archeology, language, geography and other fields.
“It’s a scholarly book, but I hope it will be a greater interest to more than just ancient Roman historians,” he said. “Floods are still the number one natural disaster in the world. It’s a serous problem even in today’s time. The research from modern times can provide explanation of what actually happened during that period.”
Aldrete’s interest in ancient Rome began while he was an undergraduate at Princeton University.
“I was pre-med,” he said. “I took a Roman history class and fell in love with the subject. I had a real inspirational teacher who got me interested in it. That experience convinced me to change my focus.”
It’s that same inspiration he has passed to his students at UWGB since he began teaching there in 1995.
Each semester, more than 400 students take his courses in subjects such as ancient Greek and Roman history and the foundation of western culture.
To further engage his students, Aldrete wears a toga to class once a semester to illustrate what it was like to be an ancient Roman citizen.
“I try to give my students a glimpse of what life was like in the ancient world and try to show connections of that life to our life now,” he said. “How we tell time, our calendar system — it all comes from our Roman predecessors.” [more]