My during my undergraduate studies. Within Classical Archaeology,

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My name is Dessa Meehan and I am an MSt Classical Archaeology
student. I received my undergraduate degree from Western Washington University
in Bellingham, WA, USA in the subjects of history and anthropology (archaeology
concentration) with minors in Arabic and Islamic Studies, Geographic
Information Science, and Latin. Mediterranean Archaeology has been my passion
since middle school and I narrowed down my focus to early imperial Roman
Archaeology during my undergraduate studies. Within Classical Archaeology, my
interests lie in women’s experiences, treatment, and lives, especially those of
non-imperial women. I enjoy examining representations of masculinity and
femininity in artistic objects and comparing those artistic relationships with
points-of-view in contemporary literature. Since most of our corpus of
literature from the early empire is written by and for men, art (especially
art/objects that can be sexed as “female”) could potentially provide
a stark contrast in representation and relationship to the prevailing
literature views of the time.


The Monika Tesarova Fund Bursary would be applied to a week-long
intensive Latin immersion experience and conference March 11-18th, 2018 outside
of Rome. The experience, Septimana Latina, is hosted by the Accademia Vivarium
Novum and the Oxford Latinitatis Experience and constitutes the only experience
in the world where Ciceronian Latin is spoken as the everyday language. The
immersion experience includes exercises in speaking and holding conversations
about various topics, lectures and discussions in philosophy, history, and
literature, reading Ancient Roman texts in the original Latin, and rhetorical
exercises. As a Classical Archaeology student, and especially as a Romanist, a
significant grasp of Latin is essential. Because I focus on a group relatively underrepresented in literature, I
cannot rely on translated works. I believe
that, many times, an author’s original meaning is lost during translation due to there not always being an English word to encompass what an author meant in the original. By attending this experience, I would increase my knowledge colloquially and
scholarly and would start being able to understand ancient works in the original Latin. My relationship with an
ancient author would no longer include the middleman of a translator. Language understanding begins at the ability to speak it; and an immersive experience, especially this
immersive experience due to its international nature, is the best way to
accomplish that goal.


Currently, I am completely self-funding my studies. I was not
awarded any financial assistance from either the University of Oxford or
Kellogg College. However, the opportunity to study and participate in an
academic environment at one of the world’s leading institutions made the
financial sacrifice worth it. I have not taken out any loans to fund my
education thus far, but I do realize that, especially considering I will be
applying to doctoral programs later this year, I will most likely find loans
necessary. Because of this realization, without financial assistance, I would
not be able to undertake this Latin language study in favor of saving for my
future doctoral program. I hope to continue my education as a DPhil Classical
Archaeology student at the University of Oxford, but as an international
student, increased tuition and fees currently prevent me from attending
Septimana Latina. The cost for the program is 400 GBP for the entire week and
about 150 GBP for roundtrip flights.

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Oxford has always been my dream. As an undergraduate, I
compromised on my choice of university because I knew I was going to pursue my
studies in a postgraduate program. Western Washington University was not my
first choice, but it was undoubtedly the best preparation I could have had
before attending Oxford. Doing my undergraduate at Western Washington
University fostered my love of Latin and pointed me in the direction of my
current classical interests. Latin is a beautiful language that underscores
different disciplines relating to my studies including history, archaeology,
literature, osteology, and biology. Now that I am in the midst of my Oxford
studies, I have identified my strengths and weaknesses as a classical
archaeologist. Though my current level of Latin is enough to read Roman texts
with the assistance of a translator, it is not enough to grasp the nuances and
implicit beliefs behind an author’s words. The opportunity to study Latin
through Septimana Latina as a representative of the University of Oxford and
Kellogg College would enhance my current Master’s level and future doctoral
studies by being able to engage with primary texts in the original Latin and
determine for myself what an author truly felt about their subject.


Please feel free to contact me if you would like any more
information about myself or the Septimana Latina immersion experience.


Thank you for your time and consideration.



Dessa Meehan


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