Interview with Maya Chakravorty

Last month, Maya Chakravorty defended her dissertation and received the honor of Ph.D. from the Boston University Classical Studies department. Maya also recently received the Consortium for Faculty Diversity Fellowship (CFD) at Bowdoin College. We were lucky enough to sit down with her and ask her a few questions about her new position and what it means to her.

Q: So, Maya, we want to have a better idea of what your position entails. Would you
mind outlining some details?

A: Sure! My position is a two-year post-doctoral fellowship with the Consortium for
Faculty Diversity at Bowdoin College in Maine.

I will be teaching a class on the erasure of Indigenous voices, which compares ancient
Italic peoples (i.e., the Etruscans and Sabines) with the Dakelh and Gitxsan peoples
who live along the Highway of Tears in northern British Columbia. The department has
given me a lot of flexibility with designing the course, which is absolutely fantastic!

I am looking forward to converting my dissertation into a manuscript for my first book, as
well as revisiting some old ideas for articles!

Q: So exciting! Could you tell us what you’re most excited about for this position?

A: There are many things! First, I am really excited to be joining such a warm and
friendly department! While I love Boston, I’m also excited to live in a new place. Since
Bowdoin is not too far from Boston, I still get to enjoy the northeast.

Bowdoin also has a museum that I look forward to visiting – I’m actually going to be
using their new exhibit on Etruscans in my upcoming class. I’ll also have some flexibility
in my course load, so I can resume some research projects that I was working on before
my dissertation.

Q: Great! Could you give us some background on why you chose Classics and your
area of interest?

A: I started studying Latin in 7th grade and stuck with it through high school. My
experience at the University of Toronto (U of T) was incredible, and a class on Roman history
made me really interested in Republican heroes like Cato the Elder.

Professor Uden’s seminar on Roman satire, my first seminar at BU, really blew my
mind, and a paper I wrote for his class on Imperial memories of the Republic was the
impetus for my dissertation. That developed into an interest in depictions of early
Roman culture in imperial Latin, particularly aristocratic families and the implications of
passing down these heroic traits from generation to generation.

I also have an interest in studying the propagandistic elements of ancient coinage. A
really new interest is the moral valences of food and plants in the ancient Classical

Q: What an array! Is there a specific memory that you cherish the most from your time
in the department?

A: There are so many. From dropping in on undergraduate teas with the UCA, to
attending events like the performances with the entire department: grad students,
faculty, *and* the undergrads. The Greece vs. Rome debate is also always a must!

Q: Similarly, what will you miss most about living and working in Boston?

A: I have spent most of my life in and around Boston, so I will really miss it. Luckily,
since I will still be in New England, I won’t have to miss out on the seasons, foliage, and
things like that; but I will certainly miss the Boston skyline and the cityscape overall.
That said, I think that I’ll miss this department the most. Everyone, especially the
students, really inspire me to stay curious. I’ll also miss our tight-knit community and my
incredible support system here.

Q: Finally, I wanted to ask about your previous experiences that you feel have prepared
you for this new position? This can be general life experiences or educational.

A: My experiences at U of T were absolutely essential to my academic development. I
also have to thank my friends and the faculty of the Rutgers Classics department for an
unforgettable and amazing introduction to grad school. I would be nowhere without my
high school Latin teacher, Maggie Rogow, who always pushed me to do my very best.
Finally, the support and guidance I have received from the Classical Studies department
here at BU, where I began teaching and dissertating, has been unparalleled. I really
can‘t imagine having done all of this anywhere else. My colleagues have been an
incredible support-network. One of many examples: They were always available for
coffee breaks and to share ideas and thoughts.

On behalf of the Classics department, Thank you for your time, Maya, and
congratulations on your new position at Bowdoin!

Interview Conducted by Elizabeth Sprague (CAS’ 24)