WHAT THEY LEARNED: Carman Romano ’16

The classical languages major explored the geography of the Greek myth of Demeter and Persephone.

The summer before her junior year, Carman Romano ’16 spent two weeks at Carleton College in Minnesota participating in a consortial humanities lab on “Myth and Mask in Digital and Material Space,” where she learned to use a mapping technology called Neatline. During that workshop the classical languages major constructed a map of the journey of Jason and the Argonauts and Medea.

“Thinking with Neatline let me consider the geography of myth, a difficult task if I hadn’t had a visual component,” says Romano.

More than a year later, when it came time to choose a thesis topic, Romano knew she wanted to continue to work on geography via Neatline, as well as explore the relationship between Greek myth and the religious conception of deities. The result was “Wandering Demeter, Persephone Descending: Manipulations of Geography in the Demeter-Persephone Myth.”

“My career in classics at Haverford and Bryn Mawr fundamentally shaped my experience on this campus,” says Romano, who is continuing her studies in the Ph.D. program of The Ohio State University this fall. “I would not be where I am today without the help of all of the department’s faculty at either school, but especially that of [Bryn Mawr’s Paul Shorey Professor of Greek] Radcliffe Edmonds and [Haverford Associate Professor of Classics] Bret Mulligan.”

What did you learn working on your thesis? 

I learned how to analyze myth in a scholarly manner. I learned, most importantly, how to work with an advisor to realize my ideas in the best way possible.

What are the implications for your thesis research?

My research demonstrates the value of space and geography as an interpretive framework. Most scholars that I have come across tend to focus on the “inner lives” of myth-makers, pointing to their psychology or the structure of narrative. While these are also helpful tools for the analysis of myth, my approach uses material reality—geography—to interpret myth.


“What They Learned” is a blog series exploring the thesis work of recent graduates.