Maria Silvia Sarais received her undergraduate degree in Classical Studies from the University of Cagliari (Italy). She was born, raised, and lived in Cagliari (Italy) until she moved to Columbia, MO, where she obtained both a master’s degree in Classical Languages and a Ph.D. in Classical Studies from the University of Missouri-Columbia.
She taught Italian for the department of Romance Languages at MU and Latin and Classics courses for the department of Classical Studies, before joining the department of Ancient Mediterranean Studies at MU as a Visiting Assistant Professor in the fall of 2018, and she taught Classics courses until the spring of 2020. In the fall of 2020, she started teaching classes in Italian and Classical Studies for the Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures at Saint Louis University. Currently, she teaches classes in Latin, Classical Mythology, and Classical Roots at Hickman High School and Battle High School, and she is an affiliated member of the Department of Classics, Archaeology, and Religion at the University of Missouri-Columbia.
Throughout the years, Silvia has taught a wide variety of subjects including Greek and Latin language, Latin poetry, classical mythology, Roman culture, various in-translation courses on Greek and Roman literature, culture, and society, and Italian language and culture. As a woman, immigrant, and former first-generation college student, she is very much committed to diversity and to the goal of building a society that is more inclusive and just. It is also for this reason that many of her classes focus on gender, race, and ethnicity, representation and status of foreigners, immigrants, and, more broadly, minorities in ancient Greece and Rome, justice and leadership, and the reception of ancient myth in contemporary dramatic arts that portray the experiences of minorities, including women and immigrants. Her classes always aim to illuminate ways in which both ancient culture and the ancient artistic production of Greek and Romans have impacted and continue to impact societies, and how they can further generate positive change in our own contemporary society, also by generating a reflection on views, values, and interactions with other cultures.
Her primary research interests lie in the area of Greek and Roman drama, Latin poetry and its relationship with the previous literary tradition, ancient literary criticism and theory, the construction of social identity in the ancient Greek and Roman world, and the reception of myth in contemporary Chicano dramatic productions. She has presented her research in various national and international academic conferences, and she is currently working on projects that consider the metapoetic aspects of Seneca’s plays, Seneca’s choral odes, spectatorship in Seneca’s drama, and the representation of Medea and Clytemnestra in contemporary Chicano theatre.