Yurie HongFaculty

I first fell in love with the ancient Greek and Roman world in fourth grade when I was introduced to Greek mythology. I remember checking out all the books I could at the library because the stories grabbed hold of my brain, and I wanted to learn them all. I then quickly became curious as to why some books referred to Zeus having many wives while others said he had many girlfriends. Even then, I had the inkling that this distinction made a difference in how these affairs should be received: Was Zeus flouting social norms or conforming to them? Which version was the “right” version, and why did these books contradict one another in the first place?

It wasn’t until college that I had the chance to think about these questions more deeply. The Classics major allowed me to start answering some of the questions I had as a child and I found myself, for the first time in my life, raising my hand and actively participating in class. I also loved the fact that Classics is so interdisciplinary. I didn’t have to choose between literature, history, art, and cultural studies—I could get them all in one major and think about ancient Greece and Rome from multiple angles. An especially inspiring teacher from high school ignited in me a passion for teaching, which was affirmed by my experience teaching 7th and 8th grade Latin for a year before grad school. Ever since then, I’ve appreciated the opportunity to combine my desire to delve into complex questions about people and the stories they tell with my passion for sparking the same spirit of curiosity and questioning in my students.

My research focuses on representations of pregnancy and childbirth in ancient Greek literature, including historical and medical texts. In particular, I’m interested in examining 1) the ways that ancient women and men thought about reproduction and gender roles, 2) how they used childbirth as a metaphor to think about intellectual and cultural production, and 3) how the realities of pregnancy and birth impacted people’s identities and relationships on the ground. I've published on characterizations of the maternal-fetal relationship in ancient medical texts, teaching about gender violence in antiquity, and what motherhood might have looked like for citizen, immigrant, and enslaved women in classical Athens.

I've recently become very involved in the community with civic engagement and social justice. In both my professional and personal life, I strive to consider the many ways in which engaging with ancient culture can help us think more deeply about modern life and society. What kinds of questions are asked (or not)? Whose perspectives are included (or not)? What are the lenses that each of us use to examine past and present, ourselves and others? I frequently teach ancient Greek language courses at all levels (reading texts in the original language offers such a rich opportunity to really grapple with ideas!) as well as courses on Greek history and society and, of course, mythology. The stories we tell and the way we tell them matter. We need to understand how those narratives work if we are to make sense of the world and our role in it.

Make Your Life Count profile

Möbius Initiative "Classics, Biology, and Reproduction: Teaching Across the Disciplines" with Margaret Bloch Qazi (Biology)


B.A. University of California, Los Angeles; M.A. and Ph.D. University of Washington, Seattle

Courses Taught

CLA-398 (Honors Thesis), CUR-399 (Senior Seminar), and GRE-101 (Exploring Greek)

Synonym Title Times Taught Terms Taught
CUR-100 Transformation/Identity 10 2021/FA, 2019/FA, 2018/FA, 2016/FA, 2014/FA, and 2012/FA
CLA-101 Myth and Meaning 10 2019/SP, 2017/SP, 2013/SP, 2012/SP, and 2011/SP
GRE-102 Margins-Ancient Athens 6 2023/SP, 2022/SP, 2020/SP, 2016/SP, 2015/SP, and 2009/SP
CLA-244 Tutoring Online 5 2020/SP, 2016/SP, 2015/SP, and 2010/SP
FTS-100 FTS:Ancient/Modern Odysseys 4 2022/FA, 2017/FA, 2016/FA, and 2015/FA
GRE-201 Intellectual Revolutions 4 2021/FA, 2019/FA, 2010/FA, and 2009/FA
GRE-301 Intellectual Revolutions 4 2021/FA, 2019/FA, 2016/FA, and 2007/FA
CLA-398 Honors Thesis 3 2022/FA, 2020/SP, and 2019/SP
GRE-344 ST:Courtroom Oratory 3 2018/SP, 2017/SP, and 2015/FA
GRE-304 Greek Orators 3 2016/SP, 2010/FA, and 2009/SP
GRE-101 Beg. Greek I 3 2014/FA, 2011/FA, and 2008/FA
GRE-244 ST:Courtroom Oratory 2 2018/SP and 2017/SP
CLA-399 Classics Capstone 2 2018/SP and 2009/SP
CLA-201 Ancient Greek History and Culture 2 2011/FA and 2009/FA
GRE-202 Real Greeks 1 2022/FA
GRE-302 Real Greeks 1 2022/FA
CLA-100 World of Wordcraft 1 2022/SP
GRE-312 Herodotus' World 1 2022/SP
GRE-212 Herodotus' World 1 2022/SP
CLA-331 Anc & Mod Identities 1 2021/FA
IDS-244 ST:Anc and Mod Reprod 1 2018/SP
IDS-244 Anc & Mod Reprod Lab 1 2018/SP
NDL-111 Classic Disney Movies 1 2018/JN
CLA-268 Career Exploration 1 2012/JN
GRE-100 Immersion Greek I 1 2009/JN
LAT-301 Livy: Foundation of the Roman Republic 1 2008/FA
CLA-103 Theatre of Greece and Rome 1 2008/SP
GRE-303 Homer 1 2008/SP
LAT-101 Latin I 1 2007/FA