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Outreach - January 2016

There were seven Outreach Division events that took place at the meeting: 1. performance sponsored by the Committee on Ancient & Modern Performance (CAMP); 2. Outreach Committee Panel; 3. COCTR Meeting; 4. Amphora Editorial Board Meeting; 5. COCTR Seminar; 6. Outreach Committee Meeting; 7. CAMP Panel & Meeting. I also attended ex officio a meeting of the Communications Committee, which I mention below. All of the events appear in the order in which they took place from Wednesday-Saturday, Jan. 6-9, 2016.

The annual performance sponsored by the Committee on Ancient & Modern Performance (CAMP) featured an adaptation of Aristophanes’ Birds, called Nerds, which was done in collaboration with SCIT (Stanford Classics in Theater). The Stanford group had already performed the play in spring 2015 and continued to hold the major roles. Everyone was off-book, and there were imaginative costumes, a video accompaniment, and hip dance numbers. The play was regionally topical for the Bay Area, as the Google headquarters stood in for Nephelokokkygia, called here “Cloud City.” There did not appear to be any local or non-SCS members in the audience, but the performance was followed by wide-ranging discussion with the cast. The evening brought great energy to the beginning of the San Francisco meeting and plenty of ideas about how ancient plays can be adapted and performed.

I was invited ex officio to the first annual meeting of the Communications Committee, where the Chair, Chris Francese, assigned specific tasks to individual members (Sarah Bond, Ayelet Lushkov, Matthew Loar). Committee Member, Ted Gellar-Goad, could not attend, but was singled out for his valuable contributions to the SCS Blog. There was some discussion of the divisional structure of the Society—e.g. the Communications Committee may fit better under Outreach instead of Publications—but most of the meeting focused on the website with some comparisons of the websites of the AIA, AHA, MLA. The need for a “mission” statement” in prominent view on the SCS website was among the desiderata.  

The panel sponsored by Outreach Committee was organized this year by Judy Hallett & Don Lateiner on the topic of “German & Austrian Refugee Classicists: New Testimonials, New Perspectives.” There were papers on Werner Jaeger (Stanley Burstein), Friedrich Lenz (Hans-Peter Obermayer), gender (Judy Hallett) and Ernst Badian (responding to Fritz Schachermeyr about Alexander the Great (Corey Brennan)) and the response was given by Larissa Bonfante. It was a compelling & well-attended panel, whose papers it would be nice to see published.  

The meeting of the Committee on the Classical Tradition and Reception (COCTR) was the last for Chair Glenn Most, who was replaced as Chair by Brooke Holmes. There was ample discussion about the nature of the committee and next year’s panel, which will address “Theorizing the Classical” or “Classicisms in Multiple Cultures,” although the title is not yet fixed. The format is also unfixed, but will perhaps include a staged-discussion with circulated papers as at this year’s COCTR-sponsored seminar (see below). There was some desire among the committee members that the event be more open than this year’s so that anyone could attend at any time. At the very least, the idea that the papers could be pre-circulated behind a firewall on the SCS website appeared to be a desideratum of the entire committee.  

The meeting of the Amphora Editorial Board was chaired by Ellen Bauerle, Editor, with help from Assistant Editor, Wells Hansen. Each member was given a charge either to write something or to drum up submissions. It was reiterated that Amphora lacks visibility on the SCS website, and it is hoped that the work of the Communications Committee, whose Chair, Chris Francese was an invited guest at the meeting, will help to make it more visible. The SCS Board voted to extend the terms of Editor, Ellen Bauerle, and Assistant Editor, Wells Hansen, for another two years until January 2018. With successive two-year appointments starting in 2012, both editors will have effectively held two 3-year terms, which is more or less normal for this position.  

The COCTR seminar, for which one had to pre-register, was organized by Rosa Andujar and Konstantinos Nikoloutsos on the topic, “Beyond the Case Study: Theorizing Classical Reception.” Papers by Simon Goldhill, Vanda Zajko, Laura Jansen, & Leah Whittington were circulated beforehand, and a response was given by Shane Butler.  

The meeting of the Outreach Committee itself discussed two main initiatives. First, a nationwide outreach to the schools, perhaps not unlike UK’s “Classics for All” initiative. Invited guest, Arlene Holmes-Henderson (Oxford), provided some background. The other initiative focused on SCS presence in mass-media, i.e. film, tv, radio, popular magazines etc. New committee member, Mike Fontaine, suggested reaching out to groups with large numbers like the military and/or lawyers, e.g. at Bar Association meetings. There was no substantial discussion of next year’s panel, which the Chair (McGowan) intends to take up with the SCS / AIA coordinators on the ground in Toronto. An at the Royal Ontario Museum is a possibility.

The CAMP Panel, “New Wine in Old Wineskins: Topicality in the Performance of Athenian Drama,” was organized by Eric Dugdale and Rosanna Lauriola, and featured papers by Casey Dué, Michele Valerie Ronnick, Rosanna Lauriola, and Wilfred Major with a response to each by outgoing Vice-President for Outreach, Mary-Kay Gamel, who also attended a session reviewing the 15 CAMP performances to date, which was reported to be lively and well-run. I should also note that I attended the event honoring my illustrious predecessor, who has been an inspired and inspiring leader in Outreach and who will be one tough act to follow.

Respectfully submitted,
Matthew McGowan

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