Historic Women of Rhetoric

This week in my History of Rhetoric class, we read about Aspasia and other women from Ancient Greece who were highly influential in rhetoric. I was so excited that one of the discussion boards asked for a creative post. Below is what I created and posted! It was so much fun to do!

My only other exposure to Aspasia has been from one of my favorite video games Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey.

My plan was to play AC: Odyssey on our Wellness Days and do some kind of comparison. However, Tabitha hogged the PS4 playing Call of Duty: Cold War, so instead I turned to Sims. I decided to create Aspasia, Sappho, and Diotima in my island world named Sulani. So while technically I was doing coursework on a wellness day, it was so fun! I call that a win!

Ok, on with my creation. I made the women roommates on a plot of land that is “off-the-grid” given there were no such luxuries of plumbing and electricity in ancient Greece. I let Sims pick their body type and skin color, but I changed their hair style and color. I then picked out the most Grecian-like clothes Sims 4 has available and gave the 3 rhetoricians personality traits based on what I read about them this week.

Below are screenshots of what I created along with explanations.

Sappho is in blue; Diotima is in purple; and Aspasia is in orange. It shows Mantinea as the household name because I created Diotima first. I gave each of them the last name of where they were from. Interesting side note: when I went to save the household, I got a message saying one of the last name’s was a forbidden word in Sims, and if I continued on, I could not upload the household to the gallery. I continued, and then later figured out the forbidden word. I gave Sappho the last name of Lesbos.

Anyway, here are their personality traits:

One trait you see with all of them is the Bookworm trait. I figured it was appropriate, and I just picture these women trying to soak up any and all knowledge they could.

I added genius and creative to Sappho’s personality which gives her the extra trait of a quick learner. Creative was based on her poetry. Genius was based on several things. How her main concern was “how the women’s voice could best be heard and understood by the audience” (Glenn, 26); how she transformed the male gaze into a female gaze; and how she uses her skill as a poet to disrupt “the continuum of male-dominated poetics” (Glenn, 27).

For Diotima, I added family oriented and romantic which gave her the additional trait of alluring. “For Diotima, then, the generative power of eros (or the philosophy of love) is an ongoing pursuit, a striving, rather than any kind of completion or final attainment” (Glenn, 46). I thought family oriented was appropriate based on her belief of the “reproduction of one’s soul in another” and that a person achieves immortality by producing offspring. I don’t know for sure whether offspring means actual children or ideas, but for Sims purposes, I went with children.

Lastly, I added genius and self-assured to Aspasia (also resulting in the extra trait of quick learner). I think these traits can be summed up in this quote from Glenn on page 38:

“By every historical account, Aspasia ventured out into the common land, distinguishing herself by her rhetorical accomplishments, her sexual attachment to Pericles, and her public participation in political affairs. Her alleged connection with the courtesan life is only important so far as it explains her intellectual prowess and social attainments—and the surprise of the Athenian citizenry unaccustomed to (or perhaps jealous or suspicious of) a public woman”

The house I built for them has a garden, an “arena” area for them to practice and recite their poems, speeches, and songs, and large spaces inside for them to relax, read, and write. They each have their own sleeping area with bedding that matches the color of their dresses (because I’m weird that way). There’s a small kitchen area (I had to add a somewhat modern-day refrigerator, so they don’t starve – but it’s still off-the-grid), and a bathroom. Notice the 2 large bushes in the bathroom? Those serve as the toilets – haha!

I’ll leave you with a few screenshots of what occurred after I was done building, and the women were getting acquainted with their neighbors and living space. In the first picture, Diotima and Aspasia are debating with an anti-environmentalist neighbor as Sappho is busy building something in the sand. After the neighbor left, Aspasia and Diotima decided to join in on the fun of sand sculpting, and, in the last photo, you can see their creations.

Student's Log – Scholastic/Quarantine date 03.23.2020

First day of online teaching. I didn’t really have anything to do except email my students. I have the week’s module all set, I’m trying to make this as easy for them as possible. (Which means no synchronous stuff!)

I also got emails/updates on my own classes. One professor is (as someone in my cohort described him) an academic angel. I swear there isn’t a nicer human being on the planet and is eliminating grades on our stuff for the remainder of the semester. We still need to do the work, but if we have issues, we don’t have to worry about our grades. My professor for my other 2 classes is giving us time to get used to the new way of life and has pushed back readings and project due dates. I love my program.

GIF of Captain America saluting

Not all heroes wear capes

Because I have been under so much stress the past few weeks, (I mean who hasn’t been?) I needed to get outside and run. We are under lockdown here in Ohio, but we can still go to parks. I had never run the trails at one of our parks, so I decided to go today. The best way to describe what happened is it was a beautiful disaster. Beautiful because I wanted to run at least 6.5 miles, and I ran/walked 7.1!

GIF of Barney from How I Met Your Mother giving himself a high five

It was a disaster because…well, just watch this video.

Strong language

Student’s Log – Scholastic date 02.13.2020

Nearing the end of week 3 of the new semester, and I’m already feeling like this…


I’m responding to some questions for a class about how I capture emerging ideas, how do I organize publications of others, where do I write, what does my weekly schedule look like…

I realized that on paper, it actually looks like I’ve got my shit together. So why don’t I feel like I do? Why do I feel like I’m barely keeping my head above water, and the sharks are circling?

Linda Belcher is way cooler than me

Teacher’s Log – Scholastic date 09.25.2019

Last night, I couldn’t fall asleep. Nothing new. It takes a while for my brain to calm down enough to realize, ‘hey, it’s sleepy time now’. I was laying there trying to figure out why I keep clenching my jaw and grinding my teeth. Yes, I’m under stress right now, but I’ve been under more stress in the past, and I never clenched my jaw to the point my molars are begging me to stop! I love my classes I’m taking; I love the class I’m teaching. Why do I have I had this perpetual tense feeling?

So, I did a bit self-reflection because 1:00 am is the perfect time for it; and I kind of had an epiphany.

I spent more than a decade in a highly adversarial environment. Being a bankruptcy attorney in the Eastern District of Michigan is no walk in the park. It’s an immeasurable amount of stress on a daily basis.

From there, I became a college instructor. So much less stress every day, but where I was teaching had an adversarial vibe. There was not much in the way of collaboration (it was virtually non-existent), and there was a divide between full-timers and adjuncts. I think a lot of people liked to pretend it wasn’t there, but it was. So, even though there was less stress, there was still a fair amount of tension.

Then, I started this PhD program, and it’s all about collaboration, and let’s help each other through this, and professors who say they see me as a colleague. And this is so amazing! So again, why am I so bloody tense all the time?!?!

What I figured out is that I’ve put up a deflector shield. And this deflector shield is trying to protect me from potential adversary. I know people aren’t trying to trick me into believing they’ll help only to have them say “Sike! Fooled you!” but, I still feel this need to be on guard.

Now that I know this is an issue, the goal will be to try to lower that shield and no longer be on Red Alert.

Teacher’s Log – Scholastic date 09.24.2019

I’ve realized today that when I finish attending a class, I’m all geeked up about what was discussed or covered. Then when I get back to my office, I only want to work on that stuff!

Today was a workshop with James Schirmer (who was teaching a first-year writing course when the Flint water crisis broke). I already had ideas for how to incorporate the Common Read (What the Eyes Don’t See) into the curriculum, and I have even more now. So, all I want to do is work on the assignments and activities for my WRIT 1110 course, but I have so much other stuff I need to do first. This does not help with my procrastination!

Dean Winchester saying awesome sarcastically
The struggle to find balance continues…

Teacher’s Log – Scholastic date 09.18.2019

This seemed like a more laid-back week. Peer review and conferences with my students. Less reading for my own classes for next week. I was even able to get to the gym today and run 6.2 miles! Dare I tempt fate and say that I feel like I found a balance this week?

I might be pushing it with that. After all, I still have a lot to do. Those WRIT Journal submissions aren’t going to review themselves. But overall, I didn’t feel as stressed this week as the first few weeks. Conferences went well with my students. I also had them do an anonymous survey. Most of them hated writing at the beginning of the semester. The consensus on the survey is that they are liking my class, and writing may not be so bad after all. Many of them are so happy to not have to write in the 5 paragraph model anymore. I’m so happy to not have to grade it! Most of them said they wanted to play it safe with the first project and just write it as an essay. I get that. They want to get their feet wet first before jumping straight in to a new way of writing. But, a few were excited to explore new ways of writing. One wrote a song, one is doing Instagram posts, another is making a video. I’m really looking forward to the rest of the semester to see how many of the others will start to branch out.

Teacher’s Log – Scholastic date 09.05.2019

Ok. Settling in. I introduced the first project in my composition class. A literacy narrative. I was very excited to tell them that they did not have to write this project in that awful 5 paragraph essay kind of way. I gave them examples of all the different ways they could tell their literacy story. I fear they may have been overwhelmed by this because many of them are still choosing to write it as an essay, instead of making a video or a series of Instagram pictures. This is fine, of course. I can understand they will want to stick with what they know.

They responded well to building their own rubric for this first project. They were pretty quiet up until that point, though, which is always a worry. Are they getting it? Is this stuff sinking in? Are they just tired because class is at the butt crack of dawn?

I had them “grade” the sample literacy narratives using the rubric they came up with, and they ripped those things apart! I heard things like “this isn’t organized very well” and “she spelled some words wrong; we should take points off for that.” I’m still floored that they wanted spelling weighted so heavily on their own projects. Next week, they learn how to peer review each other’s work. I don’t think they’ll be so brutal with each other, though. It’s so much easier to rip someone’s writing to shreds when that person isn’t going to be sitting next to you for the next 12 weeks.  

Teacher’s Log – Scholastic date 08.30.2019

This has all happened before.
And this will all happen again.
-Caprica Six, Battlestar Gallactica

AHHHHHHH!!!! What a crazy week! My first week of trying to balance teaching a composition class AND taking my own classes in my PhD program. I think my composition class went well. I was able to do a lot more community building than in the past which was nice. Fingers crossed that it means my students will be more comfortable to speak up in class this semester.