ESP Biography



SASHA BARISH, Harvard college student




Major: Classics/Linguistics

College/Employer: Harvard College

Year of Graduation: 2020

Picture of Sasha Barish

Brief Biographical Sketch:

I'm a senior studying Classics and Linguistics at Harvard College. I'm from Berkeley, California, and when I'm not studying I like board games and playing the clarinet for musical theater and opera. I had a great time doing Stanford ESP programs as a student throughout middle and high school, and I also liked teaching at MIT Splash a couple years ago, so I'm back!



Past Classes

  (Clicking a class title will bring you to the course's section of the corresponding course catalog)

H13507: Were all the Ancient Greeks and Romans really gay? in Splash 2019 (Nov. 23 - 24, 2019)
Is it true that being bisexual was the norm in Ancient Greece? Can we and should we label historical figures as gay, bi, trans, etc. if they lived in an era that didn't have those concepts? What kind of documents from the ancient Mediterranean world do we have about LGBT+ people? In this class we'll read some Greek and Roman primary sources together, ranging from accounts of gender dysphoria to lesbian love poems to the stigma of being a bottom. We'll discuss what these texts can tell us about how the writers and the cultures they lived in thought about same-gender attraction and gender nonconformity. In the process we'll have opportunities to think about identity, the purpose of connecting the ancient to the modern, the relationship between texts and the societies they come from, and the interpretive biases of scholars.


L13508: a fifty-minute introduction to historical linguistics! in Splash 2019 (Nov. 23 - 24, 2019)
in this class you'll learn a few things about historical linguistics, which is the field that studies how languages change over time. i'll explain the basics of sound change and some grammatical changes, and i'll talk about the ways that people can tell whether different languages are related to each other and what those languages were like thousands of years ago, when they weren't even written down. I'll be keeping the overlap between this class and my other ling class (Proto-Indo-European) to a minimum. The focus of that class is the Proto-Indo-European language itself, while this class is about the linguistics methods that people use to study language change and hypothesize proto-languages, though a little bit of overlap will be necessary for everything to make sense.


L13546: Proto-Indo-European, aka learning about a 6000-year-old language that was never written down in Splash 2019 (Nov. 23 - 24, 2019)
Almost all the modern languages of Europe and Northern India – including English, Spanish, Hindi, Irish, Russian, and Greek – form a language family called Indo-European, and they all evolved from a common ancestor. That common ancestor (Proto-Indo-European) was never written down, but there's a lot that we can figure out about it just by comparing its descendants. In this class you'll learn all about Proto-Indo-European: the grammar, the sounds, the way new words were made, etc. In addition to being interesting on its own, knowing some PIE will also help you understand where some weird features of English come from and how they relate to other languages you might know. I'll be keeping the overlap between this class and my other ling class (a fifty-minute introduction to historical linguistics) to a minimum. The focus of this class is the PIE language itself, while that class is about the linguistics methods that people use to study language change and hypothesize proto-languages, though a little bit of overlap will be necessary for everything to make sense.


H11860: Were all the ancient Greeks and Romans really gay? in Splash 2017 (Nov. 18 - 19, 2017)
"Why are so many people calling themselves LGBTQ nowadays when almost everyone was straight in the past?" "Weren't all the ancient Greeks a little gay anyway?" "I heard that in the past there was less of a gay/straight dichotomy and it was the norm for everyone to be bi." "I was reading about this Roman emperor who was trans!" People say lots of things about gender and sexuality in the ancient world, and in this class we'll be looking at some primary sources (in English translation!) and exploring the topic for ourselves. Together, we'll read ancient Greek and Roman texts ranging from accounts of gender dysphoria to lesbian love poems to the stigma of being a bottom, and we'll discuss questions like: What's going on in these texts? What are the larger frameworks of thought about how gender and attraction work, and how do they differ between ancient and modern societies? Can we make cultural generalizations based on a few documents, or can we only evaluate what the individual writer thinks? Does it make sense to label people in the past as LGBT?


L11982: a fifty-minute introduction to historical linguistics in Splash 2017 (Nov. 18 - 19, 2017)
in this class you'll learn a few things about the field of historical linguistics, and how languages change over time. i'll explain the basics of how sound change works and how some grammatical changes work, and i'll talk about the ways that people can tell whether different languages are related to each other and what those languages were like thousands of years ago, when they weren't even written down.