Alumnae Spotlight

Leslye Joy Allen

Leslye Joy Allen '99

History

Additional Degrees: M.A. History, Georgia State University

Now: Doctoral Student and Instructor (Graduate Assistant) in the History Department at Georgia State University; Member of the Board of Directors of the Atlanta Music Project

Tell us about your research.
I am a historian of Georgia and have done research on antebellum Georgia politics in the past. Currently, I am working on research about the performance arts in Atlanta. My goal is to place the performance arts in the general history of the city in much the same way that social and political history is typically included in most narratives. I arrived at this research after talking with a good friend named Minka Wiltz who is an actor, a trained opera singer, and writer. We were discussing the theatre and its origins. I soon recalled my old Latin classes and some of the discoveries I made there.

It is my hope that my doing this kind of history will shed some light on the importance of the performing arts in any location. Additionally, I hope other historians recognize that the history books are incomplete without historical analyses of the arts and literature.

How are your classics studies helping you today?
One of the best lessons I learned from the study of Latin and ancient history is that globalization is not new. Similarities in language that exist across continents are often the best evidence that no civilization has ever thrived and prospered in total isolation, but has instead grown and developed from a steady influx and integration of peoples from other lands. The rule applies whether one is discussing the Greco-Roman world or Abyssinia or Mesopotamia or anywhere in the Americas. It is a lesson I teach my students.

Tell us about a memorable experience that you had while studying classics at Agnes Scott.
While there are many memorable experiences I had as a history major, one particular discovery actually occurred in a Latin class with Dr. Sally MacEwen. I was reading Virgil’s Aeneid and noticed a reference to the country Libya. I remember thinking how interconnected the entire ancient world was and how so many people would never associate any part of Africa as being somehow connected to ancient Greece and Rome.