The University of Newcastle, Australia

Classics and Ancient History PhD Travel Scholarship Awarded to Tanika Koosmen

Friday, 14 February 2020

PhD student Tanika Koosmen has been awarded the inaugural Odyssey Travel Scholarship.

Photo of Tanika Koosmen, short dark hair, glasses and red lipstick, wearing a white shirt and black jacket
Tanika Koosmen

Introduced in 2019, the scholarship was established to support a student studying a PhD in Classics or Ancient History to increase their knowledge and understanding of the Greek and/or Roman world through experiencing the landscape, geography, culture and artefacts of the countries and regions bordering the northern Mediterranean.

Tanika will use the $5000 scholarship to cover travel expenses to visit Greece, to complement the ancient Greco-Roman topics she is researching.

“I am incredibly grateful. Without this scholarship, visiting the ancient sites that I read about in ancient Greek and Latin literature would not be possible,” Tanika said.

“My doctoral research focuses on the development of the man-to-wolf metamorphic tradition in Greco-Roman mythology, and its impact on modern werewolf fiction. The travel opportunity will inform my thesis and allow me to add depth to my research that is not available through literary analysis,” Tanika said.

Tanika said that as an Australian student from a working-class background researching ancient Greco-Roman topics, the distance between her home and the originating culture that she researches is significant and can be quite isolating.

“The opportunity to immerse myself in the physical landscape of the peoples and cultures that form the basis of my research will be invaluable to my research.”

She plans to travel to Greece and visit some key historical sites that have mythological value.

“The main purpose of my trip is to visit Mount Lykaion in the Peloponnese, which houses the Sanctuary of Lykaean Zeus, the mythical birthplace of Zeus, which is currently being excavated. The sanctuary housed the cult of Lykaean Zeus, who were said to transform into wolves as an initiation rite for adolescent boys. I plan to travel in June/July.”

Professor Marguerite Johnson, Professor of Classics at The University of Newcastle wishes Tanika all the best on her travels.

“One of the great challenges for Australian-based students of Classics and Ancient History is the cost of travel to the sites of Greek and Roman influence and habitation. While there is much that can be learned from literary sources, visiting the places referred to in the literature provides a deeper understanding of and facilitates new insights into ancient culture, myth and history which I know Tanika will appreciate,” Professor Johnson said.

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