Dickinson Classics Online publishes resources for Chinese students and scholars of the ancient Greek and Latin classics. At its initial launch in summer 2015 the site contains a Chinese version of the Core Latin and Greek Vocabularies from the Dickinson College commentaries, DCO's parent site. This work was done by a team of distinguished Chinese scholars, all members of the DCO Editorial Board. The Editorial Board will oversee the development of essential infrastructure such as lexica and grammars, high quality language teaching tools for Latin and Greek, and expert commentaries and translations that make the classics fresh, relevant, and interesting to Chinese students. Built on the successful model of collaboration behind Dickinson College Commentaries, DCO will provide reliable resources that are carefully geared to the needs of readers on various levels. All resources are provided free of charge on the internet, giving access to the words and ideas of the Greek and Romans to millions of people for the first time. A reasonably priced app will allow serious students to learn on a convenient and portable platform.
Thousands of students are learning Latin and ancient Greek in China. New centers for the promotion of classical studies have been founded around the country, and more undergraduate and graduate degrees in the subject are being awarded every year. But many existing translations of Greek and Latin texts are inadequate second-hand renderings of versions in modern European languages. Some fundamental texts are completely unavailable in Chinese. Basic resources for encountering the Greek and Roman classics in the original languages, such as reliable lexica and grammars, are difficult to find, and many of the basic terms with which to describe the Greek and Latin languages and cultures in Chinese have yet to become standardized. These problems severely limit a scholarly dialogue that has the potential to make important contributions to Chinese intellectual and cultural life, to classical studies more generally, and to the comparative study of civilizations.
DCO is based on the model of the acclaimed Dickinson College Commentaries series, which brings scholarly collaboration and peer-review to the web to serve the needs of classical students and teachers, and fully utilizes the online medium with graphic, audio, and video elements. Like DCC, DCO will create new content, while at the same time pursuing a careful program of digitization to reclaim certain high quality older resources that have yet to be properly digitized. New works will appear with partner publishers as print books, both to help ensure the survival of the work in the long-term future and to see that scholars receive full academic credit for their efforts.
DCO includes the participation of master teachers who will use the multimedia platform to spread best practices in teaching ancient Greek and Latin, and help to make learning easier and more fun. Chinese beginners will benefit from engaging materials that have been tested and developed with their specific needs in mind. Intermediate and advanced students will learn from commentary written by Chinese scholars that bridges cultural gaps, explains unfamiliar terms, and connects ancient Greek and Roman ideas with Chinese culture in concrete, specific, and passage-based comparisons.
With initial funding from Dickinson College and Shanghai Normal University, the editorial board of DCO held its inaugural meeting in Shanghai on June 12-14, 2015. This meeting included a concrete beginning, the production of a communally edited Chinese version of the DCC Greek and Latin Core Vocabularies, which is one of the most widely used features of the DCC site. DCO hopes to bring Chinese scholars to Dickinson to work alongside each other and the scholarly and web development team that creates the DCC, and is currently seeking funds to make this possible.