Hakan Tell

Professor Tell Leads Design of a Hybrid Classics Course

From antiquity through the early 19th century, anyone studying the works of Plato began with a fourth-century text known as Alcibiades, says Hakan Tell, an associate professor of classics.

In the dialogue, Socrates, much like a modern first-year faculty adviser, tries to persuade the young Alcibiades (who would grow up to be a powerful, if traitorous, general and politician in Athens) of the value of what today might be called a liberal arts education.

But like Alcibiades the man, Alcibiades the text fell out of favor, and until recently scholars have questioned whether Plato even wrote it.

So when Sunoikisis—a national consortium of classics programs sponsored by Harvard’s Center for Hellenic Studies in Washington, D.C.—invited Tell to be the faculty consultant at a fourth-century Greek literature curriculum development seminar for liberal arts college faculty from around the country, he thought Alcibiades would be the perfect primary text to get the discussion started.